Think Tank Releases Legislative Scorecard
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Nearly every Republican in the Rhode Island General Assembly supports the “principles of freedom” more so than their Democratic counterparts, according to a new legislative scorecard released by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a conservative think tank.
The rankings examine legislators' votes in terms of their likely effect on the free market, the size and scope of government, the balance of residents' interests against those of public employees and beneficiaries, and the constitutional structure of a divided government with limited power over the people whom it represents.
The group identified 96 bills and broke them into five categories (taxes & budget, regulatory environment, constitutional government, public sector labor and education reform), assigning a score based on how every member of the General Assembly voted on particular issue.
Topping the list was first-term State Rep. Doreen Costa, who benefited from a significantly higher “constitutional government” score than any other lawmaker. Rounding out the top five were Republicans Dan Gordon, Minority Leader Brian Newberry, Mike Chippendale and former Minority Leader Robert Watson.
Gordon and Watson are not up for re-election this year.
On the flip side, progressive Democrats scored near the bottom of the ranking, with State Rep. David Bennett finishing last. The rest of the bottom five included House Speaker Gordon Fox, House Judiciary chair Edith Ajello, Rep. Joseph McNamara and Rep. Larry Valencia.
The highest scoring Democrat on the list was Cranston Rep. Peter Palumbo, who ranked No. 15 on the list. The conservative Democratic defeated Michelle Bergin in last week’s primary. The lowest scoring Republican on the list was Rep. John Savage at No. 32. Savage is not running for re-election this year.