State Representative Maria Perez, of Milford, is now an independent. Perez left the Democratic party this week and said she will serve the remainder of her second term listed as “undeclared.” She is one of just three Latinos currently in the New Hampshire House.
“I feel like I’ve been pushed to the side,” she told the Boston Globe. She said she was disillusioned, watching politicians who did the party’s bidding receive recognition, and felt increasingly sidelined. “I’m to the point where I no longer feel welcome anymore, or like my voice doesn’t really matter.”
Reactions were swift and sharp on social media. “While I’m disappointed, she has often put her personal issues ahead of the greater good and fails to see the big picture. Personally I like her very much; politically she has often infuriated me. I wish her well,” wrote state Rep. Peter Petrigno, D-Milford, on X.
“The irony is people leave a party because they aren’t supported, but it then leaves them with no support and, more importantly, no opportunity to influence the caucus to support their priorities,” wrote state Rep. Rosemarie Rung, D-Hillsborough.
“I am deeply saddened by her decision but I do not doubt it was taken with a sincere desire to do what she considers best,” wrote Louise Spencer, co-founder of Kent Street Coalition. “I have always known Rep. Maria Perez to put the best interests of her constituents and the interests of the people of our state first. She shows up whenever and wherever to stand on the side of justice, righteousness and compassion.”
Perez, a longtime community leader and advocate for social justice, has an outspoken approach to politics. Her decision to declare herself undecided is not a sign of wavering political beliefs or lack of commitment but rather a reflection of the complexity and significance of the issues at hand. In an era of polarized politics and knee-jerk partisanship, Perez’s stance is an example of thoughtful deliberation and weighing all the options before making a decision.
There are now 198 Republicans, 195 Democrats, and three Independents at the state House. Last week, the Republican Representative Troy Merner resigned. There are three open seats that will be filled in upcoming special elections and one elected Democrat who has not been sworn in yet.