Virginia FREE Releases 2005 Legislator Ratings

The Virginia Foundation for Economic Education has released its 2005 legislator ratings. We have posted the details on the Bacon’s Rebellion website.

At the top of the list in the state Senate:

Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico (with a score of 88)
John Watkins, R-Chesterfield (88)
John H. Chichester, R-Northumberland (85)
(View complete list, with scores on voting, stewardship and effectiveness.)

At the top of the list in the House of Delegates:

Chris S. Jones, R-Suffolk (92)
Samuel A. Nixon, R-Chesterfield (89)
William H. Fralin, Jr., R-Roanoke (88)
(View complete list.)

Read the commentary of Virginia FREE President Clayton Roberts here.

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  1. Steven Avatar

    “I’m free-I’m free. And I’m waiting for you to follow me…” ~ the Who

    Economic development in Virginia is a good thing!

    Granted, it’s not for free.

    Exactly how many of these Virginia politicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Trick question!

    Most politicians don’t work after hours — and still don’t quite understand electricity as much as they understand Dominion political contributions.

    ~ the blue dog

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Okay, I’ll ignore the lunatic with the first comment and start this discussion. Some observations on this year’s Va FREE rankings.
    First, it continues to score people only half on their actual votes and half on the purely subjective “stewardship” score, which is how you get these interesting results.
    Second, 12 of the top 20 on the BLENDED score (Business Rating), which Va. FREE emphasises, were R’s who voted for the 2004 tax increases. The only one of the 19 who didn’t get an impressive score was Reese.
    Third, the highest scoring Democrats in descending order are Onzlee Ware(!), Bud Phillips (!), Lyn Lewis, Paul Councill and then Brian Moran (!). Lewis is working hard to listen to busines and Councill, who is leaving, is a conservative Democrat. The other three should raise some eyebrows.
    Fourth, missing from the post is the list of bills used to evaluate these folks. I think that would be very interesting. Without it this isn’t data, its just spin.

  3. I’m going to go all conspiracy theory on you now:

    I think Virginia Free is hedging that Kilgore will win and the Republicans will control things soon. So they want to play nice and maybe gain some more favor with some Republican legislators who, in 2004, openly declared war on the business community. Because these rankings go completely against the CW that moderate Democrats are “pro-business” just like Republicans.

    Maybe maybe not.

  4. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Not a bad theory, Paul. Sometimes things do happen on a grassy knoll.

    Every “rating” organization I’ve seen has a vested interest in their ratings having some impact on policy or policy-makers.

  5. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    I don’t give much credence to conspiracy-style thinking going on inside Virginia FREE. It’s a large organization with literally hundreds (more than 200) members. The membership represents a wide cross-section of industry and includes players with a wide variety of political persuasions. The organization is not structured in such a way as to engage in subtle manipulations of the type that Paul suggests.

    The real issue is the one that Anonymous raises: What bills were the legislators rated on?

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    I have followed Va FREE for years and have seen this year’s vote selection. (I’m sure Clayton Roberts would “give it up” if asked. It’s no secret. Every legislator has a copy.)

    This year’s bill selections return to the core business interests Va FREE concentrated on until they broadened their scope to include “investments.” What changed from last year is that the really peripheral issues such as photo red and seat belt enforcement were discarded. This year’s ratings are like the Va FREE of old.

    No doubt the Speaker’s tantrum last year had an effect and the House Republicans returned to grace based on this year’s votes. Still, the pro-tax, oops, pro-investment legislators benefited from the subjective ratings the lobbyists (the ones Leo Wardrup calls the “tin cup lobby”)grant.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    I’ve seen the list, too. The very first one, the goat-cheese bill, is the very definition of peripheral. You are anti-business if you voted to let some goat farmer sell unpasturized cheese with a warning label?

  8. CosmicMojo Avatar

    V. familiar with Virginia “free,” and I’d say they are a VERY partisan group. Fine, partisanship is fine, but don’t try to claim it isn’t partisan. They most definitely do not represent “a wide variety of political persuasions” ha!

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