Categorized | Featured Stories, Legislative

Chamber Rates Jeffco Legislators

BREAKOUT BOX:
Jefferson County state legislators and their scorecard rating from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce:
Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood: 51 percent
Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Arvada: 52 percent
Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge, Lakewood: 48 percent
Rep. Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada: 42 percent
Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden: 35 percent
Rep. Andy Kerr: D-Lakewood: 53 percent
Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge: 62 percent
Rep. Ken Summer, R-South Jeffco: 79 percent

By Jeff Francis, MILE HIGH NEWS
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce released a scorecard ranking legislators on how closely their votes this past session aligned with the dozens of bills on which the chamber took a position.
“This is the first time we’ve ever endeavored to put our agenda up against a scorecard system,” said Tamra Ward, senior vice president of the chamber. “We thought that in these difficult economic times it’s good to make sure our membership knows where the legislators stand on a proactive business agenda.”
Ward explained that the scores (a percentage system) were given according to the legislator’s votes on pertinent bills. Of the 783 bills and resolutions introduced in the 2009 session, the Denver Chamber took a position on 57, dealing with a variety of business and financial interests. Chamber representatives said their positions on the bills prevailed 80 percent of the time.
State Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden, garnered an especially low score at 35 percent, but you won’t catch her moping about it.
“I certainly hope my score was the lowest,” Green said. “Most of the scoring was based on how we voted on tax credits. I voted for one tax credit, so I’m very proud of my score. Many of them were egregious.”
Green said she felt that especially during the budget crunch this session she often didn’t agree with the chamber’s position on tax credits. She also noticed another pattern to the scoring.
“Everyone who scored in the top five were Republicans; everyone who scored in the bottom five were Democrats,” she said. “I’m in very good company.”
Ward acknowledged the trend in the scoring, but said there was nothing intentional to how the parties ranked.
“As a nonpartisan organization, we looked at this as pass/fail,” she said. “We’re pleased that in the House and the Senate the majority of folks were above the 50-percent line.”
One such representative is state Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, who scored a 53 percent.
“I thought overall they had a good sense of the rankings,” Kerr said. “I do think they got into more bills than they needed to be.”
Kerr said that although this was Denver Metro Chamber’s first legislative scorecard, the concept is old hat to him, ranging from environmental groups to the AARP.
“I don’t think anyone is going to be shocked that to a group that really represents big business, that the Republicans scored better than the Democrats,” Kerr said of the chamber scorecard. “I noticed that as far as the Democrats go, I was one of the highest rankings, so I thought that was OK.”

Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters

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