Political notebook: Most local legislators score above 80 percent in conservative rating list
By Josh Bergeron
Three of four Rowan County legislators received an 80 percent or higher in the most recent ratings from the American Conservative Union.
Released annually, the ratings reflect how state legislators view the role of government in an individual’s life, according to the ACU. It’s the sixth year the organization has released ratings for North Carolina legislators. In a news release, ACU said the N.C. General Assembly as a whole voted less conservatively last year than in past years.
Ratings for 2016 place Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, among the most conservative members of the N.C. House and the most conservative legislator who represents Rowan County. Ford received a 92 percent rating.
State Sen. Tom McInnis, R-25, scored a 90 percent rating and also ranked among the most conservative members of the N.C. Senate.
Because Ford and McInnis ranked among the most conservative legislators in 2016, both will receive a 2016 ACU ratings award, a news release said.
Sen. Andrew Brock, R-34, received an 80 percent rating. Rep. Harry Warren, R-77, received a 55 percent rating.
When asked about his relatively low rating, Warren said elections are the only evaluation that matters to him.
“I wasn’t sent to Raleigh to try to rank high in some special interest group’s ranking,” he said.
Warren said he had not seen the rating yet and probably would not look at it.
The ratings use legislators’ votes on specific bills or amendments as a barometer of their conservative credentials. The 2016 list for N.C. Senate members included legislation on regulatory reform, taxes, eminent domain, sanctuary cities, charter schools, duplicate functions of government, fees for professional licenses, property rights and natural gas infrastructure.
Measures used for state House members related to taxes on boats and planes, prohibiting positions from being eliminated at the Department of Transportation, red light cameras, barber license regulations, welfare reform, teacher hiring flexibility, renewable energy tax credits, charter schools, the elimination of a tax on feed for deer and elk, and natural gas infrastructure projects.
Lifetime ratings also were included with the release of the 2016 results. All four Rowan County legislators have a lifetime conservative rating of more than 80 percent from the ACU. Warren’s lifetime rating is 86 percent, McInnis’ is 89 percent, and Brock’s is 91 percent.
At 92 percent, Ford has the highest lifetime conservative rating of Rowan County’s legislators. When asked Friday about the rating, Ford said it is an honor.
“I work very hard to return government to what it should be — providing essential services, period,” Ford said.
Hudson receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine
Last year, he took part in two award presentation ceremonies. Now, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson has received one of his own.
Hudson this week was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards that can be presented by the governor of North Carolina. The award recognizes people who have shown exemplary service to the state and their communities.
In 2016, Hudson helped present a Long Leaf Pine Award to Rowan County natives Terry Osborne and Rodney Cress, both U.S. Army veterans.
Hudson, entering his third term in Congress, received his award in a presentation by state Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Republican who represents Cumberland County.
Hudson said he is humbled and honored to receive the award.
“At a young age, I learned about public service from my granddaddy,” Hudson said in a news release. “He broke the mold and showed me the importance of caring for your neighbor, serving God, and working to make your community a better place. As long as I can, I’ll strive to live up to his example and serve our great state.”
Hudson’s award is dated Dec. 20. It was signed by former Gov. Pat McCrory before he left office.
Budd gets subcommittee assignments
Shortly after being sworn in, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd was assigned to the House Financial Services Committee. Now he’s received subcommittee assignments, too.
Within the Finance Committee, Budd will serve on these subcommittees: Housing and Insurance, Terrorism and Illicit Finance, and Capital Markets, Securities and Investment.
Cooper starts with 45 percent approval rating
A poll released earlier this month by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling found that Gov. Roy Cooper is starting his term with a 45 percent approval rating.
The rating is better than that of his predecessor, McCrory, when he left office. The polling group said McCrory last had an approval rating as high as 45 percent in April 2013.
The Public Policy Polling survey also found that 34 percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the job Cooper is doing.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.
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