The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

01 July 2008

WCV releases legislative scorecard for 2007-2008

Washington Conservation Voters, an interest group that advocates environmental protection, released its voting record scorecard for our legislature today. Unlike other interest groups that issue ratings, WCV does biennial scorecards rather than annual.

Each time one of these groups releases its rating sheets I find it interesting to look them over. It can give readers an idea of which legislators are willing to vote independently of their caucus on which issues, and in the game of moderate politics, that's a worthwhile venture. Below are the highlights of the scorecard, including which members scored at the top and bottom of their respective caucus. For the Awards section, all listed are Democrats unless otherwise noted.

2007 Legislator of the Year: Senator Phil Rockefeller
2008 Legislator of the Year: Senator Chris Marr
Senate Environmental Champions: Lisa Brown, Craig Pridemore.
House Environmental Champions: Tom Campbell [R], Frank Chopp, Mary Lou Dickerson, Hans Dunshee, Fred Jarrett, Skip Priest [R], Christine Rolfes, Geoff Simpson, Dave Upthegrove.
Senate Good Deeds: Darlene Fairley, Karen Fraser, Jim Hargrove, Margarita Prentice, Debbie Regala.
House Good Deeds: Bill Fromhold, Zack Hudgins, Sam Hunt, Ross Hunter, Ruth Kagi, Kelli Linville, John McCoy, Sharon Nelson, Eric Pettigrew, Jay Rodne [R].
Senate Green Duds: Steve Hobbs, Jim Kastama, Cheryl Pflug [R].
House Green Duds: Richard DeBolt [R], Jim Dunn [R], Deb Wallace.

It isn't my intent in summarizing these ratings to judge the validity of the scores or express my own opinions on their aims, but I must briefly protest how WCV treats Hobbs and Wallace in this cycle's scorecard. Considering both these legislators supported their aims over 90% of the time, I think it's a bit harsh to decry their entire performance based on one vote the organization didn't like.

Senate Democrats - High
Tied at 100

Senate Democrats - Low
Tim Sheldon 46
Mary Margaret Haugen 77
Brian Hatfield 77
Jim Hargrove 77
Jim Kastama 77
Jean Berkey 77

Senate Republicans - High
Jim Clements 50 (2007 only)
Cheryl Pflug 46
Don Benton 46
Mike Carrell 46
Dan Swecker 42
Pam Roach 42

Senate Republicans - Low
Jim Honeyford 8
Jerome Delvin 9
Curtis King 14 (2008 only)
Bob Morton 15
Mark Schoesler 15
Janea Holmquist 15
Val Stevens 15

House Democrats - High
Tied at 100

House Democrats - Low
Bill Grant 55
Troy Kelley 73
Brian Blake 82
Dean Takko 82
Lynn Kessler 82
Kevin Van de Wege 82

House Republicans - High
Skip Priest 82
Chris Strow 80 (2007 only)
Jay Rodne 73
Shirley Hankins 70
Joyce McDonald 64
Maureen Walsh 64
Barbara Bailey 64
Glenn Anderson 64

House Republicans - Low
Steve Hailey 0
Jim Dunn 9
Tied at 18

For the partisan highs and lows it seems to be the usual suspects, with Tim Sheldon being the Democratic anomaly and Skip Priest continuing to look like the most moderate legislator. Otherwise notable was the fact that in the 16th district GOP Rep. Maureen Walsh scored a higher rating than Democratic seatmate Bill Grant.



At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wallace and Hobbs got exactly what they deserved - dinged for a bad vote as legislators from districts that demand accountability on environmental issues. Good to see WCV not following superficial numerical criteria in judging who the real water-carriers are on quality-of-life issues. Looking deeper to reward and to expose legislators for their acts and omissions is exactly what we should expect from the state's preeminent enviro-political organization.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger TMW said...

I'd call it even more superficial to denounce twelve green votes on the basis of one "bad" vote. It's that sort of attitude that Democrats need to avoid adopting if they want to keep their supermajorities long-term. Let us not forget that both Hobbs and Wallace are not representing safe Democratic bastions, especially in the case of Wallace, whose moderate record and solid personal vote have made her a mainstay in what is otherwise a GOP-leaning district.

I simply do not understand the mindset of rewarding someone like Jim Hargrove for voting with them less often than these two they villified. That's like endlessly praising a D student for getting a C on their exam while turning around and ridiculing an A student for only scoring an A-.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's a misinterpretation - they didn't denounce 12 good votes, but they did draw attention to 1 egregious vote per legislator. And it's absolutely 100% wrong to refer to WCV as Democrats - they are not, as evidenced by their willingness to take a tough stance against both D's and R's. WCV's bipartisan focus is real. The problem has been the lack of republicans willing to embrace environmental protection as both an instrument for protection of our quality of life and as a means of economic development. Bottom line is that the score is something to be proud of, but the real champions are based on who carries the water and fights for our ecological resources.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger TMW said...

I wasn't referring to WCV as Democrats, I was just using WCV's interpretation of the scores as an example for behaviour to avoid for the party of power should they like to hold on to power. The netroots like to take little policy differences to the extreme and call for the heads of officials otherwise sympathetic to the cause, and I was just trying to tie the two together.

Personally, I like it when a legislator doesn't receive 100% on scorecards like this. To me that shows a willingness to vote on conscience rather than on what is expected of them by lobbyists or organizations. Whether or not that is a legislator's intent when casting votes is immaterial when they end up with a rating that reflects being a lockstep shill for an interest group. Legislators like Hobbs with more nuanced beliefs are the sort of folk I'd like to see more of in Olympia.


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