Poor scores for our local legislators | AspenTimes.com

Poor scores for our local legislators

Aspen Times Staff Report

Federal legislators representing Aspen scored poorly in voting on public interest issues, a watchdog group reported last week.

CoPIRG, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, released its ratings of the performance of U.S. senators and representatives in the legislative session that just ended.

Rep. Scott McInnis scored 15 percent, with three pro-public interest votes out of 20 votes. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell scored 7 percent, with one pro-public interest vote, and Sen. Wayne Allard rated zero. Senators were rated on 15 votes they made during the session.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nationwide group with which CoPIRG is affiliated, grades senators and representatives to educate the public about the voting records of their elected officials and to help citizens hold their officials accountable.

“A lot of what we’re working to do is to bring to light that our legislators aren’t working to do what voters want them to do,” said Jenny Douglass, of CoPIRG. “Too often, they’re listening to the voices that are the loudest,” those of commercial and industrial interests.

According to a Web site created by USPIRG, McInnis voted in the public interest by voting twice against fossil fuel subsidies and once against the needless hauling of radioactive waste through 43 states. He voted for big business interests and against public health protections and environmental protection in the remaining 17 votes chosen by Public Interest Research Groups nationwide.

According to USPIRG’s Web site, McInnis favored the following: Permitting unlimited dumping of mining waste on public land. Waiving fines assessed to polluters. Elimination of protection for wetlands. Not cutting subsidies for logging on federal lands. Blocking efforts to ban soft money contributions to political parties. Deregulating bank mergers while failing to protect bank customer privacy. CoPIRG said Campbell’s only pro-public interest vote was against the Senate version of the bill which would allow hauling of radioactive wastes through 43 states. Allard cast no pro-public interest votes on any of the issues followed by USPIRG.

“We are particularly disappointed in Senator Allard, who consistently voted to put corporate profits above public health and safety,” Douglass said.

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver scored 100 percent, and was called a “public interest hero” by CoPIRG.

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