Published Date: 
Thu, 2014-01-16

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its second ACU Ratings of the Iowa General Assembly, honoring the Hawkeye 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 Iowa 2013 State Legislative Ratings guide is now available online at

“On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Iowa General Assembly,” 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 Iowa so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well.  We applaud conservatives in the Iowa General Assembly for standing firm against liberal efforts to implement massive spending increases and for supporting property tax relief for all, rather than the favored few. However, we are disappointed that liberals in the State Senate were able to defeat legislation to end taxpayer funding of abortion and education reform and urge conservatives to keep fighting on these issues.”

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. In 2012, ACU graded state legislators in 15 critical states and in 2013, they expanded their ratings to 20 states.

The ACU Ratings of the Iowa General Assembly 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 Hawkeye 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, and traditional values. The votes selected for Iowa 2013 State Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

The ACU “Defender of Liberty” award goes to those members of the Iowa General Assembly who scored 100 percent on the ACU Iowa 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, recipients are: Jerry Behn, Nancy Boettger, Jake Chapman, Randy Feenstra, Sandra Greiner, Dennis Guth, Charles Schneider, Jack Whitver, and Dan Zumbach.  In the House: Dwayne Alons, Mark Brandenburg, Peter Cownie, Dean Fisher, Julian Garrett, Tedd Gassman, Greg Heartsill, Sandy Salmon, Jason Schultz, Tom Shaw, Larry Sheets, and Ralph Watts. 
The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the Senate are: Bill Anderson, Michael Breitbach, Bill Dix, Joni Ernst, David Johnson, Tim Kapucian, Ken Rozenboom, Mark Segebart, Amy Sinclair, and Roby Smith. 
In the House, recipients include: Rob Bacon, Chip Baltimore, Clel Baudler, Joshua Byrnes, Mark Costello, Cecil Dolecheck, Dave Deyoe, Jack Drake, Greg Forristall, Joel Fry, Pat Grassley, Chris Hagenow, Mary Ann Hanusa, David Heaton, Lee Hein, Megan Hess, Jake Highfill, Daniel Huseman, Ron Jorgensen, Bobby Kaufmann, Jarad Klein, Kevin Koester, John Landon, Mark Lofgren, Dave Maxwell, Linda Miller, Brian Moore, Steven Olson, Kraig Paulsen, Dawn Pettengill, Henry Rayhons, Walt Rogers, Thomas Sands, Jeff Smith, Chuck Soderberg, Quentin Stanerson, Rob Taylor, Linda Upmeyer, Guy Vander-Linden, Matt Windschitl, and Gary Worthan.
The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Hawkeye State” awards, are – in the Senate: Daryl Beall, Dennis Black, Joe Bolkcom, Tod Bowman, Chris Brase, Thomas Courtney, Dick Dearden, William Dotzler, Jr., Robert Dvorsky, Michael Gronstal, Rita Hart, Jack Hatch, Robert Hogg, Wally Horn, Pam Jochum, Liz Mathis, Matt McCoy, Janet Petersen, Herman Quirmbach, Amanda Ragan, Brian Schoenjahn, Steven Sodders, Rich Taylor, and Mary Jo Wilhelm. 
In the House: Ako Abdul-Samad, Bruce Bearinger, Deborah Berry, Dennis Cohoon, Dave Dawson, Nancy Dunkel, John Forbes, Ruth Ann Gaines, Mary Gaskill, Curtis Hanson, Lisa Heddens, Charles Isenhart, Anesa Kajtazovic, Jerry Kearns, Daniel Kelley, Bob Kressig, Vicki Lensing, Jim Lykam, Mary Mascher, Kevin McCarthy, Helen Miller, Jo Oldson, Rick Olson, Tyler Olson, Scott Ourth, Todd Pritchard, Patti Ruff, Kirsten Running-Marquardt, Mark Smith, Art Staed, Sharon Steckman, Sally Stutsman, Todd Taylor, Mary Lynn Wolfe, and Frank Wood.

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