Who’s the most progressive-leaning legislator among Arlington’s seven-member General Assembly delegation? According to one new survey, it’s Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th).
Lopez scored highest among the delegation – highest in the General Assembly, for that matter – in a scorecard of the 2018 legislative session released by the Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Network, or VAPLAN. (Not to be confused with Gabe KAPLAN, who starred in “Welcome Back, Kotter.”)
Lopez and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun) were the only two in the 140-member General Assembly to score perfect “+1” ratings, meaning they supported VAPLAN’s position on every bill that they had a vote on.
The ranking used 26 bills from the 2018 session to compile the ranking. Issues were eclectic, ranging from “bumpstocks” for semiautomatic weapons and tax credits for the coal industry to the Equal Rights Amendment and tax relief for Arlington golf courses.
Legislators who voted VAPLAN’s way got a “+1” for supporting each measure, a “-1” for opposing it, and then the total was divided by the number of votes they had taken, with bonuses added in for legislators who sponsored certain measures.
(The methodology has drawn some brushback both inside and outside the ranks of legislators, in part because of the bills selected for scoring and in part because it includes votes taken in committees, in which not all legislators had a vote. The survey’s author told the Blue Virginia political blog that taking the committee votes out didn’t make an appreciable difference on the end result.)
How did other Arlington legislators do? Drum roll:
• In the state Senate, Adam Ebbin (D-30th) scored second from the top behind Wexton with +0.8947, while Barbara Favola (D-31st) scored +0.6667 and Janet Howell (D-32nd) ended up at +0.5238.
• In the House of Delegates, Mark Levine (D-45th) ended with +0.7895 while Patrick Hope (D-47th) and Rip Sullivan (D-48th) each came away with +0.4667.
The ranking suggests that any legislator with a score higher than +0.8 ranks as a “strong progressive” while those higher than +0.73 were “good, solid progressives.”