Republican group releases annual vote scorecard for N.H. House members
The House Republican Alliance released its annual scorecard this week, ranking each New Hampshire House member based on how strictly he or she adhered to the alliance’s position on issues ranging from taxation to health care.
Area Republican Reps. JR Hoell of Dunbarton and Carol McGuire of Epsom ranked in the top 10, supporting the party position on 118 selected bills 97.6 and 99 percent of the time, respectively. Other area lawmakers who ranked high on the list include Rep. Dan McGuire of Epsom, with a 98.3 percent rank, and Rep. Michael Sylvia of Belmont, who voted the platform 97.9 percent of the time. The highest ranking area Democrat on the list was Rep. Christopher Andrews of Bow, who voted with the House Republican Alliance platform 19 percent of the time.
The group’s annual scorecard is the longest running measurement used to rank a House member’s votes. At the beginning of every session, the alliance distributes a pink sheet with recommendations on how to vote on bills of importance to its platform. The group’s platform focuses on shrinking government, advancing “fiscal sanity” and keeping taxes low. On average, Republican representatives voted in line with the group 83 percent of the time, while Democrats did so just 9.6 percent of the time.
Among the group’s recommendations include voting against raising the minimum wage, against legalizing casinos and against a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. The group also supports increasing funding for charter schools, delaying or dismantling the Common Core education standards and recommended voting against any bill that would raise taxes or fees. On health care, the group stood against Medicaid expansion and a bill that repealed the prohibition on a state-based health exchange. It supported a bill to raise the juvenile age for criminal proceedings from 17 to 18 and a bill to increase penalties for human trafficking, both of which passed the House with board support.
Other bills such as repealing the death penalty and establishing the crime of domestic violence were not included on the list.
The lowest ranking local Republican was Rep. Priscilla Lockwood of Canterbury, who voted with the group 43 percent of time. Rep. Dennis Fields of Sanbornton has a record of 59 percent support for the group’s platform and Rep. Neal Kurk of Weare voted with the group 73 percent of the time. Among local Democrats, Rep. Katherine Rogers of Concord, Steve Shurtleff of Penacook and Sally Kelly of Chichester had some of the lowest rankings, all voting against the Republican positions roughly 95 percent of the time.
The scorecard “dramatically demonstrates how different the parties are in their respective ideologies,” Rep. Pam Tucker, a Greenland Republican and co-chairwoman of the alliance, said in a release.
Here’s how the Republicans vying to be the next House Speaker ranked:
∎ Rep. Bill O’Brien of Mont Vernon came in at 97 percent
∎ Rep. Laurie Sanborn of Bedford had a 95 percent rating
∎ Rep. Gene Chandler of Bartlett voted with the alliance 82 percent of the time
Rep. Marilinda Garcia, a Salem Republican running for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District, voted in line with the platform 90 percent of the time, which is lower than her 96 percent last year. She broke with the platform on 11 bills. Her votes that were against the platform include voting against two constitutional amendments that would have created elections for judicial officers or allowed the Legislature to approve nominations, to support the creation of a study committee dedicated to Alzheimer’s and against allowing any university student who votes to receive in-state tuition, among other things.
(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kronayne.)