News Column

West Texas Congressmen Mostly Pleased With Conservative Rankings

Feb. 22, 2013

Adam D. Young, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas

Three West Texas congressmen are spread out through the conservative spectrum, a ranking released this week by the National Journal shows.

All three area congressmen ranked in the top 100 of 435 US Representatives, with Midland Republican US Rep. Mike Conaway leading the pack, according to the Journal. Conaway ranked fifth in a five-way tie, including fellow Texas Republican US Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Dallas.

"I represent one of the most conservative districts in the country, and my voting record and ideology reflect that," Conaway said in a statement Thursday. "It is an honor to serve alongside other strong conservatives, including Reps. Neugebauer and Thornberry, in representing the views of West Texans in Congress."

US Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, came in 33rd on the conservative list while U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, came in 93rd.

The ratings are based on voting record in 2012 -- 659 in the House and 251 in the Senate -- identifying the ones the Journal believes show ideological distinctions between members.

Lawmakers were ranked on economic, social and foreign policy issues on a scale of 0-100, according to the Journal.

Conaway received a 95.8, while Neugebauer and Thornberry received 87 and 78.3, respectively.

Neugebauer's staff noted the Journal's rankings don't factor in votes the congressman makes, sometimes crossing party lines, in upholding his conservative principles.

"It's an honor to be recognized as one of the most conservative members of Congress, but it's even more of a privilege to represent people with strong conservative values," Neugebauer said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "They trust me to voice their concerns in Washington, and they've asked me to work to reduce government spending. So I'm looking forward to continuing to promote West Texas values in 2013."

US Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, brushed aside the Journal's ranking.

"Many different organizations pick a few votes and publish ratings based on those votes," Thornberry said in a statement to the Avalanche-Journal Thursday. "My focus is to try to represent the best interests of my district and promote the best interests of the country with each vote I cast and not worry much about ratings."

Missouri Republican Todd Akin topped the list with a 97.

Fifteen Democrats tied for 409th place on the conservative ranking, including US Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, US Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, US Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois and US Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California. They received scores of 5.5.

The Journal also ranked senators by conservative and liberal records, with US Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, receiving 1st place. Coming in 30th was former Texas Republican US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who did not seek reelection in November. US Sen. Ted Cruz was elected to fill her vacated seat.



Source: (c)2013 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas) Distributed by MCT Information Services