November 6, 2009 Volume 110 Number 21

AFL-CIO rates Oregon lawmakers

BEND — Democratic State Rep. Tina Kotek of Portland was named the Oregon AFL-CIO’s “Legislator of the Year.” The state labor federation released its ranking of state lawmakers for the 2009 legislative session prior to its biennial convention here Oct. 26-27.

Legislator of the Year is awarded to an Oregon lawmaker who has “gone above and beyond to stand up for Oregon’s middle class.” Kotek was one of 10 lawmakers in the House and nine in the Senate to receive “Gold Medal” status with the Oregon AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education. Kotek had the highest point total among them.

The AFL-CIO uses a weighted system whereby lawmakers receive “points” for their votes based on how important a bill is to the organization. For example, legislators who supported the federation’s top bill last session — the Worker Freedom Act (SB 519) — received more points than for other bills labor lobbied for.

Floor votes weren’t the only criteria used. Lawmakers also earned marks for co-sponsoring bills, giving bills hearings in committees they chaired, testifying in favor of bills, and even for attending rallies in support of a bill.

In cases where legislators were on the opposite side of the AFL-CIO, points were deducted.

Legislators with the highest points are awarded gold, silver and bronze status. Point totals for each lawmaker were not released, and those receiving negative point totals were not listed.

In the Senate, nine Democratic lawmakers received Gold Medal status: Diane Rosenbaum and Rod Monroe of Portland; Alan Bates of Ashland; President Peter Courtney of Salem; Majority Leader Richard Devlin of Tualatin; Floyd Prozanski and Vicki Walker of Eugene; Suzanne Bonamici of Beaverton; and Laurie Monnes-Anderson of Gresham.

Senators voting 100 percent on all AFL-CIO-backed bills that reached the floor were Bates, Bonamici, Courtney, Devlin, Monnes-Anderson, Monroe, Prozanski, Rosenbaum, Margaret Carter and Jackie Dingfelder of Portland, and Bill Morrisette of Springfield.

Democrat Martha Schrader of Canby (wife of Congressman Kurt Schrader) was named “Rookie of the Year” and was a Silver medalist.

Two Senate Republicans received “Honorable Mention” status, David Nelson of Pendleton and Jackie Winters of Salem.

In the House, the top rankings went to Kotek and fellow Portland Democrats Michael Dembrow, Speaker Dave Hunt, and Majority Leader Mary Nolan; Mike Schaufler of Happy Valley; Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay; Brad Witt of Clatskanie; Jeff Barker of Aloha; Paul Holvey of Eugene, and Greg Matthews of Gresham.

Representatives voting 100 percent on all AFL-CIO-backed bills were Kotek, Hunt, Barker, Holvey, Terry Beyer of Springfield, Chris Garrett of Lake Oswego, Betty Komp of Woodburn, and Judy Stiegler of Bend.

“Rookies of the Year” in the House went to Dembrow, Matthews, Garrett, Brent Barton of Clackamas, and Jules Bailey of Portland. All are Democrats.

Greg Smith of Heppner was rated the most labor-friendly Republican, receiving a Bronze Medal.

Among the legislators with the highest marks, seven are union members. They are Senators Rosenbaum and Monnes-Anderson, and Representatives Dembrow, Witt, Barker, Holvey, and Matthews.

Nearly 40 bills were used in evaluating legislators. Space prohibits listing all of the bills.

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