One Democrat earned a positive score on Kansas Policy Institute’s Freedom Index. Rep. Broderick Henderson of Kansas City, Kansas, earned a 6. Put another way, he voted in favor of limited government and individual liberty about 54 percent of the time.
A zero score, or a 50 percent, indicates a legislator is neutral on freedom issues, while a negative score suggests a lawmaker is generally opposed to limited government and individual liberty. Every Democrat in the Kansas House and Senate except Henderson earned a negative score, or less than 50 percent.
Rep. Francis Awerkamp earned the index’s highest score in 2017. The St. Mary’s Republican scored a 33 out of a possible 41, or 90.2 percent on the vote index, in the House. Rep. Jan Kessinger, an Overland Park Republican, earned the lowest score, a negative 31 or a 12.2 percent, in the House.
Henderson’s 6 is higher than a number of Republican lawmakers. In fact, Henderson’s score places him in the top half. He boasts the 30th highest score of 125 House members. Eighteen Republican representatives earned negative scores.
Henderson has been a member of the Kansas House since 1995. His lifetime freedom index score is a 33 percent.
As a whole, Democrats in the House fared slightly better on the freedom index this year than last. In 2016, House Democrats voted in favor of small government 26 percent of the time. This year, they voted in favor of liberty about 29 percent of the time.
“It is not about party affiliations or labels like liberal, moderate or conservative,” a press release about the index reads. “Rather, it is about a philosophical belief in the role of government…Some citizens have a strong philosophical believe in expanding government, while others are grounded on a strong philosophical belief in limited government. And there are some citizens for whom the primary litmus test is more circumstantial rather than a strong philosophical belief about the role of government.”