- RELIABLE LEFTY: So says Americans for Democratic Action about Rep. Marion Berry.
We yield to very few in our admiration for U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder of Little Rock, who wins the category of Best Liberal just about every year. We've certainly always considered him the most liberal member of the Arkansas congressional delegation. But we've learned that's not necessarily true, at least by one measurement.
Americans for Democratic Action, a quintessentially liberal group, compiles a scorecard for members of Congress biennially, checking their votes on selected issues. The latest ADA rating shows Snyder siding with the ADA 85 percent of the time, which makes him no better than third in liberalism among the Arkansas delegation. Tied for first were Rep. Marion Berry of Gillett and Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Helena, each scoring 90. Rep. Mike Ross of Prescott matched Snyder's 85. Sen. Mark Pryor of Little Rock had a 70. Rep. John Boozman of Rogers, the only Republican in the bunch, trailed the field at 15. Among the 20 issues chosen by the ADA were an increase in the minimum wage, stem-cell research, prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients, Iraq troop withdrawal and reauthorization of the Head Start program. A number of federal legislators scored 100. Almost as many scored zero.
State Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock, who represents the most liberal legislative district in Arkansas, is just finishing her first term in office. She'll probably be a contender in this category every year until term limits get her. So, probably, will former state Rep. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, who has been out of office awhile but will join the state Senate in 2009.