The incoming freshman class of 2012 in the Oklahoma House are noted for their ascent to leadership. There are just 8 of them, in all. This past winter they took over the House leadership and consolidated much of the power within their small group. There are only 8 of them (one Democrat and seven Republicans). Until this past session they had a composite score of better than 54%, in the Conservative Index.
But then they got power and position to set their own agenda and push through their own budget policies. They dropped 40 points to a composite 14.6% in this year's Conservative Index.
These Representatives all have great reputations for receptiveness to both constituents and advocates for many causes. They have championed great feats and negotiated great solutions. Last year they had solid reputations for their conservative resolve.
But something happened this session. they got power. They got to set agendas. They undertook bold initiatives.
Sure, there were the distractions of scandals. But ultimately we need to hear from them about why this session went so wrong.
Of all 8 of them, Democrat, David Perryman, has the highest Conservative Index score... mostly because he's the only one who voted against the massive tax increases.
If it wasn't for the House Freshmen of this year (34 of them), None of the leadership's taxes would have even come close to attaining 50 votes. This year's freshmen had a dismal 26% conservative score.
Jason Murphey writes in a recent blog about the "Dastardly Act of Freshman Pawning". It is very enlightening and all concerned Oklahomans should read it.
Sadly most of Oklahoma's conservatives are on their way out the door. Those in their 4th, 5th, & 6th terms are by far the most conservative in the legislature.
In our next post we will look at Senate Conservative Index scores.