Who’s the Most Conservative Massachusetts State Legislator?

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2018/06/25/whos-the-most-conservative-massachusetts-state-legislator/

Almost three-quarters of the Massachusetts Senate voted conservative less than 10 percent of the time in 2017, forming a “Coalition of the Radical Left,” according to the American Conservative Union.

The conservative lobbying organization, based in Alexandria, Virginia, rates federal and state lawmakers according to conservative principles on liberty, taxes, spending, life, privacy, health care, and education, among other things.

Twenty-nine of the 40 state senators in Massachusetts scored less than 10 percent in the ratings.

In the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 105 of the 160 scored less than 10 percent in 2017 – nearly 66 percent of the chamber.

State Representative Jim Lyons, a Republican from Andover, is the only one of the 200 members of the Massachusetts Legislature who scored more than 90 percent in the American Conservative Union ratings in 2017.

Nine members of the House scored between 80 and 89 percent. All of them are Republicans.

Only one state senator scored that high:  Ryan Fattman (R-Worcester).

The average Republican score in the Massachusetts Senate in 2017 was 60 percent. Among Democrats, it was 9 percent.

The American Conservative Union focused on 13 bills that came up for a floor vote in 2017 in the Massachusetts Senate. They include the Millionaires Tax constitutional amendment ballot question (since ruled unconstitutional by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court) and a measure designed to lay the groundwork for so-called single-payer government-funded health insurance. The other 11 were attempts by Governor Charlie Baker to reduce spending, in areas such as MassHealth (the state’s Medicaid health insurance program for poor people), the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism, community non-profit organizations (including some politically active ones), government-run economic development projects, campaign financing, and the state’s Cultural Council. In each case, the American Conservative Union supported reducing taxes, spending, and government control.

Senator Fattman voted the American Conservative Union position on 11 of the 13 bills (MassHealth funding and Massachusetts Cultural Council funding being the two exceptions), for an ACU rating of 85 percent. He also has the highest lifetime ACU rating in the Senate, at 79 percent.

Twenty-nine of the Democrats in the state Senate voted the American Conservative Union position only once out of the 13 bills, for an ACU rating of 8 percent. (Most of those senators voted to reduce MassHealth funding.)

The state senators with the lowest lifetime ACU ratings (tied at 2 percent each) are Michael Brady (D-Brockton) and James Welch (D-West Springfield).

The Democratic state senator with the highest ACU rating in 2017 is Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain), at 38 percent in 2017. (She has a lifetime ACU rating of 20 percent.)

The Democratic state senator with the highest lifetime ACU rating is Walter Timilty of Milton, at 26 percent.

In the Massachusetts House, the bills the American Conservative Union considered were similar to those in the Senate, but the survey also included measures that went to the floor in 2017 seeking to reduce the state income tax to 5 percent, commit the state to meeting Paris Climate Treaty standards for greenhouse gas emissions, and mandate that employers provide free contraception to employees in company health insurance plans even if they have religious or moral objections to contraception.

Representative Lyons voted in line with the American Conservative Union on 15 of the 16 bills examined, for a rating of 94 percent. (Reducing MassHealth funding was the only bill on which he didn’t vote the American Conservative Union side.) He has a lifetime ACU rating of 97 percent, which is by far the highest rating the state Legislature.

Fifteen other state representatives have lifetime ACU ratings in the 80s. All are Republicans.

Four state representatives got a 0 percent ACU rating in 2017, for voting against the American Conservative Union position on all 16 bills examined. All are Democrats. They are Thomas J. Kalter III of Kingston (who has since resigned to become Kingston town administrator); John Rogers of Norwood; Angelo Scaccia of Readville; and Chris Walsh of Framingham (who died May 2).

Some 118 of the 160 state representatives have lifetime ACU ratings in the single digits. Twenty-two of them are tied for the lowest lifetime ACU rating – 2 percent. All of them are Democrats.

The Republican state representative in 2017 with the lowest lifetime ACU rating was Susannah Whipps Lee of Athol, at 48 percent. (For votes in 2017 she had a 27 percent rating.) She is now known as Susannah Whipps, and she is now unenrolled, after leaving the Republican Party in August 2017.

Among current Republicans, the state representative with the lowest lifetime ACU rating is James Kelcourse of Amesbury, at 62 percent. (His 2017 ACU rating was 50 percent, which is also the lowest among current House Republicans.)

The average Republican ACU rating in 2017 was 71 percent. The average among Democrats was 7 percent.

The highest ACU rating among Democrats for votes in 2017 was Thomas Petrolati of Ludlow, at 19 percent. (His lifetime ACU rating is 10 percent.)

The Democratic state representative with the highest lifetime rating is Colleen Garry of Dracut, at 28 percent.

Among state legislators seeking higher office:

State Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), who is one of three Republicans running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate to take on Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Warren, got an ACU rating of 81 percent in 2017. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 82 percent.

State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who is running for the open Third Congressional District seat (which includes the Merrimack Valley), got an ACU rating of 8 percent in 2017. She has a lifetime ACU rating of 6 percent.

State Representative Juana Matias (D-Lawrence), who is also running for the Third Congressional District seat, got an ACU rating of 6 percent in 2017, which is also her lifetime ACU rating.

State Representative Keiko Orral (R-Lakeville), who is running for state treasurer, got an ACU rating of 81 percent in 2017. She has a lifetime ACU rating of 88 percent.

Among leaders in the state Legislature:

House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) got an ACU rating of 6 percent in 2017. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 3 percent.

Then-Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) didn’t vote on enough bills to get an ACU rating in 2017. But his lifetime ACU rating was 0 percent. (He resigned in early May 2018.)

Current Senate President Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) got an ACU rating of 8 percent in 2017. Her lifetime ACU rating is 4 percent.

State Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), who expects to take over as Senate President in July, got ACU ratings identical to Chandler’s:  8 percent in 2017, 4 percent lifetime.

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