Legislators’ Report Card: Colorado’s Least Effective Representatives

A team report by Kerri Rebresh, Sandra Fish and Wendy Norris.

Call it the freshmen curse but nearly half of the current crop of new House lawmakers didn’t fare so well in our end-of-year legislative scorecard.

But for the Republican members that may not be so hard to understand when 75 percent of the minority leadership made the list too.

We had quite a few tie scores in this snapshot of the ten least effective legislators, thus there are 16 names on the list.

As was the case for their Senate colleagues, there was not a tremendous amount of change from the House mid-term scorecard with one lone exception. Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Monument) managed to extract herself off the list by passing three bills that were signed by the governor.

Rep. Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) “won” the title of least effective representative by failing to pass any sponsored or co-sponsored legislation. That bests Rep. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) who finally broke his three-year long streak of not passing a bill nor resolution since 2004. Lundberg, a free market conservative, dually sponsored a bill with Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) to revise a current statute on business competition to intend unlawfulness only when the intention is to monopolize the specific service or product sector.

One likely reason this group did so poorly besides the fact that 46 percent of their sponsored bills got canned in committee, was they co-sponsored so few bills in the Senate. Between the 16 members who made the list, there were only 25 co-sponsored bills among them. Six representatives co-sponsored no bills at all – Glenn Vaad (R-Greeley), Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), Marsha Looper (R-Calhan), Victor Mitchell (R-Castle Rock), Stella Hicks (R-Colorado Springs), and Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs).

The big surprise is Cadman, who serves as the House Minority Caucus Chair and is responsible for finding consensus on the party’s legislative policies and agendas. In 2005, he once infamously threatened former Rep. Val Vigil (D-Thornton) to “cram my fist up your ass” during a disagreement over an amendment to a bill.

Though Lambert mustered four co-sponsored bills, the most of his basement-dwelling colleagues, every one was killed in the Senate therefore earning him negative points.

As was the case in the Least Effective Senators, the House minority party was well-represented with Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker), Minority Whip Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and Cadman in the lower tier. Only Assistant Minority Leader David Balmer missed the party by tying with Judy Solano (D-Brighton) at number 36 in the total ranking of all 65 representatives.

Three democrats made the list, including freshman lawmaker Edward Casso (D-Thornton) who handily won election in 2006 with a 15 percent margin over Republican Tracey Snyder. Half of his bills never made it out of committee.

Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Walsh) also had difficulty getting his legislation through committee. Just one-third of his sponsored bills were signed by the governor. And a co-sponsored senate bill was killed in his own house committee. Ouch.

The point tally for Rep. Michael Garcia (D-Aurora) was significantly hurt by the governor’s veto of HB 1072, the controversial labor bill that would have eliminated the requirement of a second supermajority by workers to become a union shop in which dues and fees would be applied to all employees.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installments of the score card which will feature the “go-to” Democrats and Republicans who get things done – and who doesn’t.

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Wendy Norris

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