During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper released on Friday, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced she is leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an independent, and by doing so, she will “be able to show up to work every day as an independent and not be stuck into one party’s demands of following without thinking.”

Sinema said, “I’ve registered as an Arizona independent. And I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but, actually, I think it makes a lot of sense. A growing number of Arizonans and people like me just don’t feel like we fit neatly into one party’s box or the other. And so, like many across the state and the nation, I’ve decided to leave that partisan process and really just focus on the work that I think matters to Arizona and to our country, which is solving problems and getting things done.”

She added, “I don’t think anything will change about how I do my job. Arizonans sent me to the United States Senate to be an independent voice for our state, and I’ll continue doing that. What I think is important about this decision and this move is that I’ll be able to show up to work every day as an independent and not be stuck into one party’s demands of following without thinking. And, as we’ve seen in recent years, both parties have created this kind of requirement or a pull towards the edges that you just unthinkingly support all of one party’s viewpoints. It’s made it difficult to find folks who are willing to work together and solve problems.”

Sinema continued, “Now, as you know, Jake, we’ve been able to do a lot of bipartisan work over the last couple of years. And I’m incredibly proud of that and I think it’s important for folks across my state, and frankly, across the country, to say, yep, there’s someone that’s kind of like me, doesn’t fit neatly into one box or the other, but is standing up for their values, for what they believe in and is doing it without trying to get one over on the other party or beat the other guy.”

Sinema also stated that she intends to “maintain my position on my committees and keep doing the work that I’ve been doing for Arizona. So, I don’t think that things will change in terms of how I operate or the work that I do in the United States Senate.”

After Tapper asked Sinema if her switch will change the balance in the Senate being 51-49, with the other two independents voting with the Democrats, Sinema responded, “I know you have to ask that question, Jake, but that’s kind of a D.C. thing to worry about.”

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