ACU Announces 2013 Ratings of the Texas Legislature

January 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its first ACU Ratings of the Texas Legislature, honoring the Lone Star State’s true conservatives. The nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization began a new initiative to expand the highly touted ACU Congressional Ratings program to state legislatures, grading members on their votes on key conservative issues. The Texas 2013 State Legislative Ratings guide is now available online at

“On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Texas Legislature,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “For 42 years, ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of transparent information to the voters of Texas so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. We applaud the legislature for expanding the rights of the unborn and Second Amendment rights, but are disappointed that Governor Perry had to veto bills that attacked political speech and duplicated an Obama-backed pay discrimination bill at the federal level to keep them from becoming law.  This stands in stark contrast to states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina that endorsed a solid conservative agenda in 2013.”

In 2011, the American Conservative Union launched a new initiative to bring its annual Ratings of Congress – considered the gold standard of conservative voter education guides – to the state level, issuing inaugural ratings of state legislators in five battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. In 2012, ACU graded state legislators in 15 critical states and in 2013, they expanded their ratings to 20 states.

The ACU Ratings of the Texas Legislature will include scores for each individual member in both the State Senate and House of Representatives, a description of the votes scored and lists of members receiving special recognition as “Defenders of Liberty,” “ACU Conservatives,” or “True Liberals of the Lone Star State.”

The ACU tracks a wide range of issues before state legislatures to determine which issues and votes serve as a clear litmus test separating those representatives who defend liberty and liberal members who have turned their backs on our founding principles – constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and traditional values. The votes selected for Texas 2013 State Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

The ACU “Defender of Liberty” award goes to those members of the Texas Legislature who scored 100 percent on the ACU Texas 2013 State Legislative Ratings. In the State Senate, recipients are: Brian Birdwell, Craig Estes, Troy Fraser, and Ken Paxton. In the House, Greg Bonnen, Pat Fallon, Dan Flynn, James Frank, Craig Goldman, Harvey Hilderbran, Bryan Hughes, Tim Kleinschmidt, Jodie Laubenberg, George Lavender, Geanie Morrison, Jonathan Stickland, Van Taylor, Ed Thompson, Scott Turner, and Bill Zedler.

The winners of the “ACU Conservative” award – given to those members who scored 80 percent or higher – in the Senate: Donna Campbell, Kelly Hancock, Glenn Hegar, Joan Huffman, Jane Nelson, Robert Nichols, Dan Patrick, Charles Schwertner, and Kelly Seliger.

“ACU Conservatives” in the House include: Charles “Doc” Anderson, Cecil Bell, Dan Branch, Cindy Burkett, Giovanni Capriglione, Stefani Carter, Brandon Creighton, Tony Dale, Gary Elkins, Allen Fletcher, Larry Gonzales, Phil King, Matt Krause, Jeff Leach, Rick Miller, Tan Parker, Charles Perry, Larry Phillips, Debbie Riddle, Scott Sanford, Matt Schaefer, Kenneth Sheets, Ron Simmons, David Simpson, John Smithee, Drew Springer, and Steve Toth.

The members who scored an atrocious “zero” on the ratings, earning “True Liberals of the Lone Star State” awards, are – in the House: Roberto Alonzo, Nicole Collier, Philip Cortez, Yvonne Davis, Joe Farias, Helen Giddings, Mary González, Roland Gutierrez, Oscar Longoria, Trey Martinez Fischer, Elliott Naishtat, Ron Reynolds, Eddie Rodriguez, Justin Rodriguez, Toni Rose, Armando Walle, and Sylvia Garcia in the Senate.

For more information on the American Conservative Union or to download the full Texas 2013 State Legislative Ratings Guide, please click here or visit our website at

Founded in 1964, the ACU represents the views of Americans who are concerned with economic growth through lower taxes and reduced government spending and the issues of liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values and national security. ACU first began rating members of Congress on key conservative voting issues in 1971, and since then their ratings system has become the most important conservative measuring stick in American politics.