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LibertyIndex.com Provides a Report Card for PA Legislators

Have you ever asked an elected official where they stand on an issue and they simply respond with “check my record”? Well, in Mercer County that is an every day occurrence. As a candidate for public office, people ask me my opinions on issues every day. I respond as openly and as completely as possible as a matter of transparency. When I can I provide written responses and I usually attempt to post those responses to my blog or my website. Unfortunately, INCUMBENTS don’t offer the same level of transparency. Why? Because, as ‘career politicians’ they are more concerned about staying out of the spotlight and simply hanging on to what they have. They figure that if they keep their mouths shut they will squeak through another election cycle without being spotted and called out. Uninformed voters will vote for them because they don’t know any better.

When an incumbent elected official says “check my record”, have you? Most people don’t have the knowledge or resources to really dig down deep and research the voting record of an elected official . . . and that is why the response works so well. Luckily for us, there are individuals and groups out there that are willing to do the hard work for us. One example of such a resource is the LibertyIndex.

This Liberty Index is produced by RGI Inc, the Conservative Reform Network and The Conservative Reform PAC , Bob Guzzardi, President http://www.bobguzzardi.com/ . According to the LibertyIndex.com website, “The purpose of the Liberty Index is to allow the user to find out how his or her Senator and Representative voted and to give the user our evaluation of his or her performance. Because the Liberty Index advances an agenda of Limited Government and Economic Freedom, we have rated legislation whether or not it advances that goal.”

I’ve used the LibertyIndex.com as a tool in the past. Some of you may remember that in early 2009 I published the results from the LibertyIndex.com for each of the legislators that represent Mercer County. That blog post can be read HERE.

Mr. Guzzardi recently released new statistics for the 2009-2010 legislative voting calendar. I was, of course, eager to see how the legislators from Mercer County performed. I was not surprised by the results, but you may be. As a summary for the 2010 session, Mercer County legislators scored as follows:

Senator Bob Robbins (D/R – 50th): F-
Representative Dick Stevenson (R – 8th): C
Representative Mark Longietti (D-7th): F-
Representative Michele Brooks (R-17th): B-

Hmmmmm. On a scale of Limited Government, Economic Freedom, and Liberty ONLY TWO Mercer County legislators scored at or above average. Conservative Representatives Stevenson (C) and Brooks (B-) had voting records to be proud of. On the other hand, not-so-conservative Democrat/Republican Senator Bob Robbins (F-) and Democrat Representative Mark Longietti (F-) received frightening ratings. Interesting, don’t you think?
With the basic scores in hand, we should all be asking ourselves “are these legislators really representing us properly?”. Is this a fluke? Well, perhaps we should dig a little deeper. According to the date from the LibertyIndex.com, here are the results for those same legislators since 2003:

Upon review of the voting records of Mercer County’s legislators over a longer period of time, we find that Senator Bob Robbins and Representative Mark Longietti score at a consistent D+ to F- range. Representatives Stevenson and Brooks continue to keep their heads above water with consistent A- to C ratings.

So again I ask “are these legislators really representing us properly”. “Is this a fluke?”

When I look at the data it seems clear to me that Representatives Stevenson and Brooks are working to promote Liberty in Northwest Pennsylvania. It also seems clear that Senator Bob Robbins and Representative Mark Longietti are working hard to strip us of Liberty and they are clearly working against limited government and economic freedom.

ARE THERE OTHER INDEXES?

There are plenty of resources out on the web that provide summaries of data just like the Liberty Index.  The Liberty Index, though, focuses on issues that are important to ME (and those of us that are committed to Good Government).  I actually compared these same legislators from Mercer County in my own index just a few months ago. 

In my blog post titled “The Mercer Conservative Index: Grading Lawmakers and Candidates on a Simple Scale of Fiscal Conservatism and Public Service” I compared Mercer County’s legislators on a scale that I designed based on such issues as intellect, public service, likability, and transparency & accountability.  Oddly enough, the results of that comparison were not that different than the Liberty Index.  Specifically, Senator Bob Robbins rated an “F” (see the details HERE), and Representative Michele Brooks rated a “B” (see the details HERE).  Could these grades be so far off if there are such close similarities between the end results?

WHAT IS PARTICULARLY INTERESTING?

When you look at the results of the Liberty Index and the Mercer Conservative Index, don’t you wonder how or why these very different legislators seem to stick together and support each other so fiercely? If they don’t agree philosophically or legislatively, why do they support each other politically?  Does it go back to the idea that political party and ideals really don’t matter?  Does it go back to the fact that incumbents simply support incumbents (like in the Mercer County Incumbent Party) because they are ultimately more concerned with their ‘careers’ than public service? 

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

I invite you all to check out the data on the LibertyIndex.com on your own. The on-line database is rich with valuable information. You can view the records of each and every legislator, and those records link to the voting records as well as the actual legislation in question. Take a close look at their records and decide for yourself if you agree with the work that your legislators are doing for you.

TALK TO YOUR LEGISLATORS

I have taken the time to gather the detailed results for the legislators that represent Mercer County. I’ve collected those results into one downloadable PDF document that can be accessed HERE. I urge you to download it and print it out. The next time you meet up with one of Mercer County’s legislators, ask them where they stand on the issues of Liberty, Limited Government, and Economic Freedom. When they say “check my record”, please pull the document out and tell them that you have. Then remember that moment when you go to vote on November 2nd.

September 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm
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