American Conservative Union Announces Inaugural Conservative Ratings of the Michigan Legislature

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its inaugural ACU Ratings of the Michigan Legislature, honoring the Great Lakes State’s true conservatives. The Michigan 2012 Legislative Ratings Guide is now available online at There will be a reception for award recipients in Lansing, Michigan, on September 25, 2012.

“On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2012 State Legislative Rating awards for members of the Michigan Legislature who fight for conservative principles, including fiscal responsibility and defending the rights of the unborn,” 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 unbiased and transparent information to the voters of the Great Lakes State so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well.”

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 Michigan 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 Great Lakes 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 2012 State Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

ACU recognizes the winners of the “Defender of Liberty” award, given to members of the Michigan 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 only winner is Joe Hune, and David Agema in the House.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the State Senate are Darwin Booher, Jack Brandenburg, Patrick Colbeck, Judy Emmons, Dave Hildenbrand, Mark Jansen, Rick Jones, Mike Kowall, Jim Marleau, Arlan Meekhof, John Moolenaar, John Pappageorge, Phil Pavlov, Majority Leader Randy Richardville, David Robertson, Tory Rocca, Tonya Schuitmaker and Howard Walker. In the House, winners include: Speaker James “Jase” Bolger, Jon Bumstead, Mike Callton, Kevin Cotter, Hugh Crawford, Kevin Daley, Kurt Damrow, Cindy Denby, Jeff Farrington, Anthony Forlini, Frank Foster, Ray Franz, Robert Genetski, Jud Gilbert, Ken Goike, Joseph Graves, Gail Haines, Joseph Haveman, Kurt Heise, Thomas Hooker, Holly Hughes, Matt Huuki, Bradford Jacobsen, Nancy Jenkins, Joel Johnson, Marty Knollenberg, Eileen Kowall, Kenneth Kurtz, Andrea LaFontaine, Matt Lori, Pete Lund, Lisa Lyons,  Peter MacGregor, Greg MacMaster, Edward McBroom, Tom McMillin, Chuck Moss, Aric Nesbitt, Margaret O’Brien, Rick Olson, Paul Opsommer, Mark Ouimet, Rick Outman, Peter Pettalia, Earl Poleski, Phil Potvin, Amanda Price, Al Pscholka, Bruce Rendon, Bill Rogers, Wayne Schmidt, Deb Shaughnessy, Mike Shirkey, Patrick Somerville, Jim Stamas, Sharon Tyler, John Walsh, Ken Yonker and Dale W. Zorn.

In the Senate, no members scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Great Lakes State” awards, but “True Liberals” in the House included: Vicki Barnett, Ellen Cogen Lipton and John Olumba.

In June, Chairman Cardenas announced that the legendary Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is going back on the road this fall, hosting the second in a series of 2012 regional CPACs in Denver, Colorado. Scheduled for Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport, CPAC Colorado will energize and mobilize Mountain West conservatives, giving them the tools needed to defeat the liberal agenda in 2012, while also highlighting rising conservative stars and issues in the region. Online registration is now available at

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 Michigan 2012 Legislative Ratings Guide, please visit our website at



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