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American Conservative Union Announces Conservative Ratings of the Florida Legislature

December 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its ACU Ratings of the Florida Legislature during an event in Tallahassee, Florida, 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 2012 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 2012 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Florida Legislature,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “For 40 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 the Sunshine State so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. In our second year rating Florida, we applaud conservatives who continue to fight for the rights of the unborn and the first Amendment, and against tax increases and government waste.”

Last year, 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 the battleground states of Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the second year of this new program, the ACU is issuing these ratings in fifteen states, based on the legislators’ votes on conservative issues.

The ACU Ratings of the Florida Legislature include scores for each individual member in both the 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 our inaugural State 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 ACU 2012 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, the recipients are Mike Bennett, Miguel Diaz De La Portilla, and Ronda Storms. In the State House of Representatives, the recipients are Janet Adkins, Ben Albritton, Frank Artiles, Gary Aubuchon, Dennis Baxley, Michael Bileca, Jim Boyd, Jason Brodeur, Douglas Broxson, Rachel Burgin, Matthew Caldwell, Dean Cannon, Richard Corcoran, Frederick Costello, Steve Crisafulli,  Daniel Davis, Jose Felix Diaz, Chris Dorworth, Brad Drake, Eric Eisnaugle, Clay Ford, Erik Fresen, James Frishe, Matt Gaetz, Eduardo Gonzalez, James Grant, Gayle Harrell, Doug Holder, Mike Horner, Matt Hudson, Dorothy Hukill, Clay Ingram, Paige Kreegel, Ana Rivas Logan, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Debbie Mayfield, Charles McBurney, Seth McKeel, Larry Metz, George Moraitis, Peter Nehr, Bryan Nelson, Jeanette Nunez, Jose Oliva, Marlene O’Toole, Jimmy Patronis, Keith Perry, Scott Plakon, Elizabeth Porter, Stephen Precourt, William Proctor, Lake Ray, Ronald Renuart, Kenneth Roberson, Patrick  Rooney, Jimmie Smith, William Snyder, Kelli Stargel, Gregory Steube, John Tobia, Will Weatherford, John Wood, and Dana Young.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the State Senate are JD Alexander, Thad Altman, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, Charles Dean, Sr., Greg Evers, Mike Fasano, Anitere Flores, Don Gaetz, Rene Garcia, Andy Gardiner, Mike Haridopolos, Dennis L. Jones, Jack Latvala, Jim Norman, Garrett Richter, David Simmons, John Thrasher, and Stephen Wise. In the State House of Representatives, the recipients are Larry Ahern, Jeffrey Brandes, Marti Coley, Richard Glorioso, Tom Goodson, Denise Grimsley, Bill Hager, Shawn Harrison, Ed Hooper, John Patrick Julien, John Legg, Kathleen Passidomo, Ray Pilon, Robert Schenck, Carlos Trujillo, Charles Van Zant, Michael Weinstein, Trudi Williams, and Ritch Workman.

In the House of Representatives, the members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning a “True Liberals of the Sunshine State” award, are Lori Berman, Dwight Bullard, Jeff Clemens, Janet Cruz, Luis Garcia, Joseph Gibbons, Mia Jones, Martin Kiar, Rick Kirseman, Mark Pafford, Scott Randolph, Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Franklin Sands, Elaine Schwartz, Irving Slosberg, Richard Steinberg, Geraldine Thompson, Perry Thurston, and Alan Williams.

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.

For more information on the American Conservative Union or to download the full Florida 2012 State Legislative Ratings Guide, please visit our website at conservative.org.

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