We present to you our list of the ten worst legislators in the state of Arkansas, as determined by a confidential panel of activists by these criteria
. Tomorrow I hope to get past this "Rogues Gallery." Our "Ten Best" list will be revealed the 4th of July.1. Senator Percy Malone (D) Arkadelphia
Lots of state legislators are wrong on the issues. Lots of them like to spend OPM on nanny-state nonsense and make-work jobs for the "connected." But to be the #1 "Worst Legislator" in the state of Arkansas you have to go further. Percy Malone combines his deeply flawed view of government with an unshakable belief that he is, in all things, right. While that may be good enough to make the top ten worst list, even that does not put him in a class by himself at the capitol. Hubris is all too common. What sets Mr. Malone at the top of the bottom is the extra step of considering it a moral imperative to be rude and nasty to those who fail to genuflect before his self-evident rightness. "Absolutely the most arrogant and liberal legislator I have ever personally met" notes one activist.2. Rep. Eddie Cheatham (D) Crossett
Represetative Cheatham could only fail to garner the "#1 Worst" in a legislature which included Mr. Malone, and for many of the same reasons. He is a perfect example of the mindset which has held South Arkansas back for so long. His career largely consists of recycling failed old ideas and blocking new ones from getting a chance. He ran the education committee like the pharisees ran things. He would strain out a gnat (and then point to it as evidence of how properly he ran his committee) but then swallow a camel to improperly short-circuit the process when he did not like a bill. The southern gentleman facade comes off very quickly when things don't go his way. He will commit gross violations of procedure, "apologize" for the "misunderstanding", and then do it again when needed- so add two-faced to his other issues. 3. Representative Clark Hall (D) Marvell
A prime example of someone who deludes themselves into thinking they are a "conservative Democrat." Good ole' boy mannerisms and folksy talk paper over the voting record of a tax-and-spend liberal Democrat. The difference between Clark Hall and a NY Democrat is that the NY politician would be honest enough to admit that he is a liberal. While such double-mindedness is not uncommon, the reaction voters get when they shatter his illusory self-image with honest questions based on fact and reason is not. Why explain the contradictions in your record when you can just call people names? Why bother with reason when pounding the table harder always worked back home? 4. Senator Joyce Elliot (D) Little Rock
Elliot is against school choice and accountability, but in favor of taxpayers subsidizing people handing out condoms at a homosexual club. Tough on crime? Reform minded? Elliot actually wants
more criminals in government. She sponsored a bill that would prohibit many state agencies from “inquiring into or considering the criminal history or criminal background” of job applicants! Just what we need, more criminals on state payrolls. And like all lefties, she has so many trendy ideas about what to do with your earnings. After all, unenlightened people like you would probably just blow it on your kids instead of something "progressive." No reports of her being belligerent to conservative activists but that may be a case of nobody bothering to approach her- we live on different planets.
5. Rep. Tracy Steele (D) North Little Rock
A crooked liberal with downright fascist tendencies. Don't like young men wearing pants hanging low? Pass a law against it! Seriously, he elevated student dress codes to a matter of state law. He's sneaky too. For example, it takes a certain number of members present to pass a bill out of committee. If he sees the vote is not going his way he will make eye contact with one or two of his partners in sleaze and they will just get up and walk out in the middle of the committee meeting. This is to prevent a vote from taking place. Hey, if you are against something, vote against it. But don't make a habit of short-circuiting the democratic process by acting like a Wisconsin Democrat who goes and hides to stop voting just because you might lose one. He is also personally corrupt. Lobbyists who approach him about bills might be told about how nice it would be if their industry would make a donation to his "foundation" for youth. Half the money raised by the foundation goes straight into his pockets.6. Rep. Frederick J. Love (D) Little Rock
Occupation: "Grants Administrator." It's for folks that don't want the responsibility of being a "Community Organizer" but still like to hand out other people's money. If you think that is a dangerous life-experiences profile to put in charge of spending taxpayers dollars, then I think you'd be in a group that includes the overwhelming majority of the state's voters. He also sponsored a bill, passed into law even, that allowed a legislative committee on which he sits to order certain municipal officials to take training that they designate. His bill did not direct the Executive Branch to administer a program by which this function occurs, his legislative committee assumed the Executive job themselves! Usually, the courts and the executive usurp legislative power, but just to make sure the confusion is total, let's have legislative committees assume the duties of an executive department!7. Senator Gilbert Baker (R) Conway
When Gilbert Baker is in charge of the "Loyal Opposition", there is no "Loyal Opposition." His propensity to cut deals with Beebe and other Democrats rather than take principled stands explains in part how the Governor has gotten away with so much even though on paper the Governor of this state is a relatively weak executive. His influence has waned as the number of Republicans who have taken a knife in the back from him over the years has grown. The blowback against his double-dealing reached a crescendo this last session when the House Republicans stood up to him and tabled all of his tax bills until he was willing to untable theirs. This last month he was in the papers talking about how proud he was to co-host a re-election fundraiser for Democratic Senator Larry Teague of Nashville, the President Pro Tem of the Senate. Sure almost all Republican Senators at least allowed their name to be used for the event, but as usual, he was out front pushing for it.
8. Rep. Jonathan Barnett (R) Siloam Springs
Considering how staunchly conservative his district is, they should have much better representation. It seems like this former member of the highway commission spent as much energy representing the commission as he did his district. It is OK to specialize in transportation, but Barnett’s time on the commission seems to have narrowed his imagination on solving transportation problems rather than giving him a strong foundation for improved solutions. Asking for a tax increase for your favorite commission during the Great Recession does not qualify as creative problem solving, especially on something that is supposed to be his strength! Plus, the “Carbon-Dioxide Storage Act.” Really?
9. Representative Buddy Lovell (D) Marked Tree
No matter what he calls himself, he's not your buddy. Especially if you don't like paying more taxes. Lovell seems focused on finding ways to scrape every last cent he can find out of your hands and into the hands of state government. Expanding and increasing the tax on communications equipment is one example. Giving the assessor more time to get around to your home to make sure you get charged every last cent they think you should pay is another. He even piddled with the sales tax. Not in way that would cost taxpayers a lot of money, but we were on alert about the major tax increase bills. These slip by and pile up without notice. Can't you even pretend you are not trying to shake us down for every penny by adding your name to the list of co-sponsors on one of the tax cuts that Gov. Beebe allowed?10. Linda Tyler (D) Conway
Proving that not only boys can play the "good ole boy Conservative Democrat" game. Tyler definitely owes her seat to assurances to the people of her district that she was a "conservative democrat." Her voting however, was a lot more like Joyce Elliot than it was to a conservative legislator. The three criteria we went by were 1) positions on the issues, 2) character and integrity, and 3) effectiveness. She seems to have problems in two of those areas and is not particularly strong on the third.
- more than five points, but not enough to make the Bottom Ten
Sen. Sue Madison(D) Fayetteville- She will probably count it as a badge of honor because she does not hide the fact that she is very liberal. Honest, but honestly wrong.
Rep. Linda Chesterfield (D) Little Rock- the Identity Politics Queen of the Arkansas Legislature
Rep. Kim Hammer (R) Benton - Sponsored a so-called “religious freedom” act that advocates of Sharia law would love. He seems to have a grudge against people who want to trade in precious metals. He killed the open carry bill, despite his shifting story on it. And just in case you had too many choices on your ballot, he sponsored a bill making it harder for other parties to qualify for ballot access. A big-brother Republican.
Rep. Mark Biviano (R) Little Rock - posed as a “Tea Party” Republican, legislated as a “Crony Capitalism” Republican. Three of the nine bills he sponsored amounted to increased public subsidies of the Real Estate business. Biviano is a realtor. The other bills were not much to crow about either, including pork for already over-funded higher ed.
Sen. Jimmy Jeffress (D) Crossett - Another of the Southern Democrats whose view of government holds the region back. Against freedom to farm, and has a very similar personality profile to Percy Malone, just not the same magnitude of arrogance and obnoxiousness.