Yesterday I wrote about the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) efforts to scare Missouri GOP legislators into complete submission to its kill-the-income-tax and death-to-all-regulation goals. It strikes me today that it would be worthwhile to list the folks who voted the AFP party line 99% of the time, thus earning an “A+” rating – and probably earning a nice little campaign stash from the Koch brothers who are the AFP’s daddies.
So in short order find below an annotated list of those who want to make Missouri into a Kochestan disaster area similar to that in Kansas. These are the folks whose “lifetime” voting scores agree 99% of the time with AFP druthers; some have only earned a straight “A” for 2015 legislative session while some of those who have slightly lower lifetime scores earned “A+” for the 2015 year, but are not listed below. Individual votes on the legislation that the AFP chose as benchmarks can be found on the scorecard. And the lifetime A+ers are:
Rep. Justin Hill (R-108): Hill, whose first served in the 2015 session, ran in 2014 on campaign themes of no-taxes, lots of guns, and making abortion harder; these themes, especially the tax rhetoric, are reflected in much the legislation he has sponsored, resulting, I assume, in the the AFP high marks he earned during his legislative novitiate.
Rep. Delus Johnson (R-009): Johnson, who in his role as House Majority Whip is a member of the GOP leadership, is a useful ally for the AFP. He keeps a low profile, votes the party line, particularly when it comes to lowering corporate taxes, although he seems to have a real animus against laws requiring motor-cycle helmets. He couches it as deference to Missouri motorcycle tourists from states without such laws, but it probably also reflects the general right-wing “nanny-state” silliness. I gotta admit though, when it comes to his more eccentric interests, he’s got me when it comes to his crusade against the yearly time-shifting caused by daylight saving time. But that’s just me.
Rep. Andrew Koenig (R-099): This piece of work, and I say this with some authority since before the recent redistricting Koenig was my Representative, is running for the State Senate next year. Poor Missouri. For the last several years I’ve followed his never-ending crusade to enact a regressive fair- or flat-tax, and his all-out war against reproductive health choice with great interest (he’s also big on stopping the teaching of evolution in public schools). He really impressed me by literally almost running out of my yard when he was canvassing door-to-door for votes and I responded to his question about choice. I never knew that I was that scary – nobody else runs away.
Rep. Kirk Mathews (R-101): Mathews has served in the lege only since 2014 and seems to have done little of note apart from voting a good anti-tax, anti union line. He ran unopposed in a heavily Republican district and identified “state sovereignty and protection of family values” as his big issues. in other words he’s a tenther, anti-abortion, anti-woman, and anti-gay. He claims to have had lots of experience with Medicaid in his business career, but since none of the key votes identified by the AFP this time around dealt with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion to any real extent, it remains to be seen how this knowledge will pan out in his policy positions.
Rep. Mark Parkinson (R-105): Parkinson has served in the lege since 2008 and apart from his tweeting propensities – he “accidentally shared” a photo of oversized male genitalia last year – he is notable for legislation clamping down on undocumented immigrants; he modeled his legislation on the draconian Arizona laws which according to Parkinson was meant to satisfy the demands of “95% of my constituents” in St. Charles.
Rep. Jared Taylor (R-139): Taylor has served since 2014 and got busy right away trying to cut benefits to children and Missouri’s poor. He has declared that “our state has to balance its budget otherwise we would be in debt, not because we don’t tax enough, but because we spend too much.” But it is his primary sponsorship of HB1285, a right-to-work bill, that likely gilded the Taylor lilly for the AFP. Otherwise, his anti-(women, common-core, union) and pro-guns stance fit the standard rightwing GOP profile.
Rob Veccovo (R-112): Like many of the A+ representatives, Vescovo has only served in the 2015 session so he has had little time to offend the sensibilities of the AFP – but he seems to be on course to keep a high rating, professing the ideology of “of smaller government, less regulations, less taxes, less intrusions and more self-reliance” all of which helps to make a healthy and happy Koch industries corporation as well as jollying up lots of other corporate CEOs.
The folks described above are the superstars of the most recent AFP scorecard. There are a few other high-achievers; I counted seven upon whom a lifetime “A” grade had been bestowed and seven with an “A-” grade. And of course there are lots of “B” grades – AFP seems to grade on the curve.
The State Senate, however, where folks are a bit more responsible, and where they usually have more legislative experience produced no “A” grades other than the three “A-” marks assigned to Senators Ed Emery (R-31), Rob Schaaf (R-34), and Eric Schmitt (R-15). But hey, an A- still represents lots of respectable effort devoted to smoothing the course for Missouri’s annexation to Kochestan.
If you care to cross-check, I think you’ll find lots of the AFP high-achievers are also members of or associated with the corporate front organization, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – also a Koch enterprise. Ed Emery, ALEC’s man in Missouri, actually boasts of his association with the organization. Any way you look at it, the desires of the emerging American oligarchy as represented by Koch inspired front organizations is well-represented in the Missouri legislature.