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Principles of Liberty Colorado organization releases legislative scorecard, honors ‘rock stars’

Author: Ernest Luning - July 24, 2017 - Updated: July 24, 2017

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State Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, waves to the crowd after Centennial Institute President Jeff Hunt introduces him on stage at the Western Conservative Summit on Saturday, July 22,2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)State Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, waves to the crowd after Centennial Institute President Jeff Hunt introduces him on stage at the Western Conservative Summit on Saturday, July 22,2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

State Rep. Justin Everett, a Littleton Republican, ranked highest among Colorado lawmakers in the annual Principles of Liberty scorecard, the conservative organization announced Saturday at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.

Known as “Justin Neverett” and “Dr. No” for his propensity for voting “no” on legislation, Everett was one of nine legislators, all Republicans, to earn grades of A-plus from the Colorado-based organization, which rates bills and scores lawmakers according to what it calls its core principles — “free people, free markets and good government.”

Everett, one of four Republicans running for state treasurer in next year’s election, reclaimed the crown from House Minority Leader Patrick Neville a Castle Rock Republican, who edged Everett for the top score last year. (Everett sat atop the rankings in each of the three previous years.) Neville came in second this year, just ahead of state Reps. Kim Ransom of Parker, Tim Leonard of Evergreen, Perry Buck of Windsor, Steve Humphrey of Severance, Dave Williams of Colorado Springs and Lori Saine of Henderson, the House Republican whip.

State Sen. Vicki Marble of Fort Collins, the Republican caucus chair, was the only state senator to win a grade of A-plus — “POL does not curve the grades,” its report states — running slightly ahead of state Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker, who were also honored on the last night of the conservative gathering.

Principles of Liberty, founded by Richard Bratten, its president and CEO, rates every piece of legislation introduced in the Colorado Legislature based on adherence to respect for individual liberty, property rights and free markets, among other principles. The organization provides training through the year to encourage residents to analyze legislation themselves. It also operates in Wyoming and Oklahoma.

“There is no grade inflation at POL,” this year’s scorecard asserts. “A grade of C is average. This isn’t Lake Wobegone where ALL of the legislators are above average. We also don’t cherry-pick a set of bills to make one side look good and another side look bad.”

In the House, all of the Democrats and one Republican — state Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction — received F’s. On the Senate side, six Republicans joined every Democrat earning grades of F, including Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City and state Sens. Kevin Priola of Brighton, Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs, Don Coram of Durango, Larry Crowder of Alamos and Beth Martinez-Humenik of Thornton.

While they still received failing grades, the top-scoring Democrats in the House were state Reps. Matt Gray of Broomfield, Leslie Herod of Denver, Joe Salazar of Thornton and Mike Weissman of Aurora. The Democratic senators with the highest scores were Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, Leroy Garcia of Pueblo and Kerry Donovan of Vail.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.