November 4, 2013

Published: November 5, 2013

Contact: Laura Rigas, (202) 347-9388, [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its third annual ACU Ratings of the Florida Legislature, honoring the Sunshine State’s true conservatives. The nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization began a new initiative to expand the highly touted ACU Congressional Ratings program to state legislatures, grading members on their votes on key conservative issues. The Florida 2013 State Legislative Ratings guide is now available online at conservative.org.

“On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Florida Legislature,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “For 42 years ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of transparent information to the voters of Florida so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. In our third year rating the Sunshine State, we applaud conservatives in the Florida Legislature who continue to fight for education reform, lower taxes, tort reform, and less government control.”

In 2011, the American Conservative Union launched a new initiative to bring its annual Ratings of Congress – considered the gold standard of conservative voter education guides – to the state level, issuing inaugural ratings of state legislators in five battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. Last year, ACU graded state legislators in 15 critical states and this year they are expanding their ratings to 20 states.

The ACU Ratings of the Florida Legislature will include scores for each individual member in both the State Senate and House of Representatives, a description of the votes scored and lists of members receiving special recognition as “Defenders of Liberty,” “ACU Conservatives,” or “True Liberals of the Sunshine State.”

The ACU tracks a wide range of issues before state legislatures to determine which issues and votes serve as a clear litmus test separating those representatives who defend liberty and liberal members who have turned their backs on our founding principles – constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and traditional values. The votes selected for Florida Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

ACU today recognized the winners of the “Defender of Liberty” award, given to those members of the Florida Legislature who were present and cast a vote for each adjudicated roll call and scored 100 percent on the 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the House of Representatives, the recipients are Janet Adkins, Larry Ahern, Ben Albritton, Dennis Baxley, Michael Bileca, Jim Boyd, Doug Broxson, Marti Coley, Neil Combee, Steve Crisafulli, Travis Cummings, Daniel Davis, Jose Diaz, Manny Diaz, Jr., Dane Eagle, Heather Fitzenhagen, Erik Fresen, Matt Gaetz, James Grant, Doug Holder, Matt Hudson, Clay Ingram, Mike La Rosa, MaryLynn Magar, Charles McBurney, Larry Metz, George Moraitis, Jr., Bryan Nelson, Kathleen Passidomo, Jimmy Patronis, Keith Perry, Cary Pigman, Ray Pilon, Elizabeth Porter, Steve Precourt, Jake Raburn, Dan Raulerson, Ronald Renuart, Ken Roberson, Ray Rodrigues, Pat Rooney, Robert Schenck, Jimmie Smith, Ross Spano, Greg Steube, Charlie Stone, John Tobia, Carlos Trujillo, Speaker Will Weatherford, John Wood, Ritch Workman, and Dana Young.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the House of Representatives are Frank Artiles, Jason Brodeur, Matt Caldwell, Richard Corcoran, Eddy Gonzalez, Tom Goodson, Bill Hager, Gayle Harrell, Dave Hood, Jr., Ed Hooper, Travis Hutson, Debbie Mayfield, Seth McKeel, Jeanette Nunez, Marlene O’Toole, Jose Oliva, Kathleen Peters, Lake Ray, David Santiago, and Charles Van Zant. In the State Senate, the recipients are Thad Altman, Aaron Bean, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Rob Bradley, Jeff Brandes, Anitere Flores, Don Gaetz, Bill Galvano, Rene Garcia, Andy Gardiner, Denise Grimsley, Alan Hays, Dorothy Hukill, Tom Lee, John Legg, Joe Negron, Garrett Richter, David Simmons, Wilton Simpson, Kelly Stargel, and John Thrasher.

The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Sunshine State” awards, are – in the House of Representatives – Lori Berman, Randolph Bracy, Daphne Campbell, Karen Castor Dentel, Gwyn Clarke-Reed, Janet Cruz, Mark Danish, Reggie Fullwood, Joe Gibbons, Mia Jones, Shev Jones, Larry Lee, Jr., Kionne McGhee, Mark Pafford, Bobby Powell, Sharon Pritchett, Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, David Richardson, Jose Rodriguez, Hazelle Rogers, Joe Saunders, Elaine Schwartz, Irving Slosberg, Cynthia Stafford, Linda Stewart, Dwayne Taylor, Perry Thurston, Jr., Victor Torres, Jr., and Barbara Watson. The true liberal in the State Senate is Jeff Clemens.

For more information on the American Conservative Union or to download the full Florida 2013 State Legislative Ratings Guide, please click here or visit our website at conservative.org.

Founded in 1964, the ACU represents the views of Americans who are concerned with economic growth through lower taxes and reduced government spending and the issues of liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values and national security. ACU first began rating members of Congress on key conservative voting issues in 1971, and since then their ratings system has become the most important conservative measuring stick in American politics.



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