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Sun Gazette: Seniority Equals Effectiveness in New Ranking of Legislators Print


Created:  Thursday, May 24, 2012 7:37AM

State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) is the most effective member of the Arlington legislative delegation when it comes to getting her agenda through the General Assembly, according to a new evaluation.

The pro-business group Virginia FREE each year queries Richmond political insiders and comes up with an effectiveness ranking of the 40 state senators and 100 delegates on a 0-to-100 scale. The scores are designed to be independent of the political views of legislators, and focus exclusively on effectiveness.

Howell, who has been in office for 20 years, scored 79 on the effectiveness meter. Not surprisingly, her two colleagues with districts that include Arlington – freshmen Sens. Barbara Favola (D-31st) and Adam Ebbin (D-30th) – are not only well down on the seniority scale, but also on the effectiveness scale. Each scored a 48, which tied them with freshman Sen. Dick Black (R-Loudoun) at the bottom of the list on the Senate side.

The highest ranking in the Senate was a 91 bestowed on Sen. Walter Stosch, a Republican representing the Richmond suburbs. Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr. (R-Williamsburg) rated an 89.

On the House side, Del. Bob Brink (D-48th) received a score of 59, while Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) garnered a 47, Del. David Englin (D-45th) earned a 47 and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) took home a 43 – which was, perhaps not surprisingly considering he is a freshman Democrat representing Arlington and Alexandria, second lowest among the 100 delegates. Only Del. Kaye Kory of Fairfax County scored lower, with a rating of 40.

House Speaker William Howell (R-Fredericksburg) was judged most effective in the lower chamber, with a rating of 96, followed by Del. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) at 91.