October 25th, 2016
Not sure how to vote in the congressional elections on November 8?
A great starting point would be the interactive 2016 Congressional Voter Guide released today by Drug Policy Action (the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance).
The user-friendly site allows you to type in your ZIP code to see how your own US House Representative is rated, based on seven key votes in 2015 and 2016 covering medical marijuana, adult-use marijuana and novel psychoactive substances.
Each Rep. is awarded a grade from “A” (100 percent pro-reform voting record) to “F” (below 20 percent). You can also read a more detailed report on your Representative’s record. (US Senators aren’t graded because there were no relevant votes in the Senate during this period.)
Drug Policy Action has released voter guides before. But encouragingly, this installment awards higher grades than ever: 110 Representatives, or 25 percent of the US House, get an “A”—while 241 Representatives, well over half of the total, get a “C” (at least a 50 percent pro-reform voting record) or better.
Democrats score better than Republicans on average, but the breakdown of those 241 at “C” or above—177 Democrats and 64 Republicans—indicates the extent to which drug policy reform has become a bipartisan issue
Drug Policy Action names its 2016 US House “Champions” as:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR/3)
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR/1)
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN/9)
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI/13)
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA/20)
Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV/3)
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY/8)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA/13)
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA/33)
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY/4)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA/4)
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO/7)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO/2)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA/48)
Meanwhile the six worst “Drug War Extremists” in the House are named as:
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA/4)
Rep. William Keating (D-MA/9)
Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA/4)
Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA/16)
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY/5)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX/32)
“Voters have signaled time and again that they want new drug policies grounded in health and science, and elected officials in Congress are finally paying attention,” says Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action. “We’ve reached the remarkable point where more than half of Representatives in Congress are consistently responding to public opinion and voting in favor of letting states set their own drug policies, yet nearly half of Congress is still ignoring public opinion in favor of drug policy reform. It’s up to voters to let these Representatives know how they feel about their record.”
Check out the voter guide here.