Published Date: 
Tue, 2014-01-14

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its second annual ACU Ratings of the Wisconsin State Legislature, honoring the Badger 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin State 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 Wisconsin so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. In our second year rating the Badger State, we applaud conservatives in the Wisconsin State Legislature who continue to fight for fiscally sound economic policies, labor law reform, and support for the rights of the unborn.”

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 Wisconsin State Legislature will include scores for each individual member in both the State Senate and Assembly, a description of the votes scored and lists of members receiving special recognition as “Defenders of Liberty,” “ACU Conservatives,” or “True Liberals of the Badger 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin State Legislature who scored 100 percent on the ACU Wisconsin 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, recipients are: Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling, Michael Ellis, Paul Farrow, Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Rick Gudex, Sheila Harsdorf, Neal Kedzie, Frank Lasee, Mary Lazich, Joseph Leibham, Terry Moulton, Jerry Petrowski, Tom Tiffany, and Leah Vukmir. 

In the Assembly, recipients include: Tyler August, Joan Ballweg, Kathleen Bernier, Garey Bies, Mark Born, David Craig, Mary Czaja, Mike Endsley, André Jacque, John Jagler, Dean Kaufert, Samantha Kerkman, John Klenke, Daniel Knodl, Dean Knudson, Dale Kooyenga, Bill Kramer, Scott Krug, Mike Kuglitsch, Daniel LaMahieu, Amy Loudenbeck, David Murphy, Jeffrey Mursau, John Murtha, Lee Nerison, Alvin Ott, Jim Ott, Warren Petryk, Keith Ripp, Michael Schraa, John Spiros, Duey Stroebel, Rob Swearingen, Gary Tauchen, Jeremy Theisfeldt, Paul Tittl, Robin Vos, and Chad Weininger.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the Assembly are: Mark Honadel, Don Pridemore, Jeff Stone, Scott Suder, Adam Neylon, Rob Hutton, Steve Kestell, Howard Marklein, Stephen Nass, Joe Sanfelippo, Chris Kapenga, and Thomas Larson and Luther Olsen in the Senate.

The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Badger State” awards, are – in the Senate: Timothy Cullen, Mark Miller, and Fred Risser.  In the Assembly: Terese Berceau, Dianne Hesselbein, Frederick Kessler, Nick Milroy, Melissa Sargent, and Chris Taylor.

For more information on the American Conservative Union or to download the full Wisconsin 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.