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Ken Plum: Lowest score in the House

We politicians like to take credit for accomplishments even when our connection to what has been achieved may sometimes seem less than clear. We also tend to ignore things that are not going as well as they might. For example, Governor McDonnell as most governors before him regularly announces new jobs that are created in the state as though they might have something to do with a private business decision that will be implemented over many years. When there are job layoffs and companies closing, the news is announced in the business section of the newspaper with no press releases from the governor’s office.

As an eternal optimist I tend to focus on the good things that are happening with less emphasis on what goes wrong. Hopefully you read my recent columns in which I made sure you knew about my perfect score on the Virginia League of Conservation Voters scorecard leading them to call me a “champion of the environment.” Or you may have heard about the Virginia teachers giving me their “Solid as a Rock for Public Education” recognition for my perfect voting record on public education issues. And there are others (

To be fair, if I am going to point out when I am doing well, I may need to point out when I do not do too well. For example, on the 2010-2011 Virginia Family Foundation Report Card I and four other delegates made the lowest scores in the House of Delegates ( Our scores were 5 out of a possible score of 100. As near as I can tell, they did not make any errors in their calculations. While I highly value family, we just disagree fundamentally on what constitutes family values. They did not like my vote against a constitutional amendment that would have attempted to define parents’ rights in the U.S. Constitution; another amendment protecting public prayer; and one that defined state sovereignty under the Constitution. They did not like my vote against denying funding for stem cell research and Planned Parenthood. I also voted against their position to increase regulations for clinics in which abortions may be conducted and against their bill to require that all women seeking an abortion be given an ultrasound and be offered a chance to review it.

Others will be able to see my low score on the Family Foundation Scorecard as the group has plans to distribute 100,000 copies of them and a half-million voter guides through their campaign IGNITE, “an enduring cultural transformation.” Among “our Biblically-based beliefs” they intend to promote are the ideas that “moral, physical and spiritual absolutes exist and were given to mankind to govern all of life…the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman is the essential element of the family.” Actually, their involvement in the fall campaign will give me an opportunity to talk about my family and my values. It will provide me a chance to explain why I believe my lowest score in the House of Delegates correctly reflects my position on the issues considered and the opinion of a majority of my constituents.

Ken Plum is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

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