MADISON, Wis. — The awarding of ultra-conservative Rep. Leah Vukmir with the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Legislator of the Year” reflects her embrace of extremist policies which increase pollution, hurt workers and prevent access to affordable health care for all.
“For the right-wing fringe, Leah Vukmir is the total package,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “She combines the extremism of former Sen. Tom Reynolds with the partisanship of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker to tout the failed policies of George W. Bush.”
ALEC, which is funded by the nation’s biggest corporate special interests, has a long history of providing model right-wing legislation to obedient conservative legislators to advocate the pro-corporate ALEC agenda. This agenda targets deregulation of the financial industry and for banks; ending prohibitions on corporate pollution; privatizing public services and restricting civil rights protections.
The companies which have supported ALEC include: Enron, ExxonMobile, Koch Industries, Golden Rule Insurance, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, the gun manufacturers and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.
Tobacco interests are also among the organization’s core supporters. According to the non-partisan Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC has a significant history as a tobacco industry ally. It has been an entity through which Philip Morris launders favors and donations to legislators.”
“Leah Vukmir has fought against closing corporate loopholes, against reducing tax breaks for the wealthiest and against providing everyone the same health care taxpayers give her as a member of the Assembly,” said Ross. “I’m surprised it took ALEC this long to reward her endless right-wing pandering.”
Included in the speakers at the ALEC event where Vukmir received her award was Arthur Laffer, godfather of tax cuts for the rich trickle-down economics, which combined with the deregulation of the financial industry and the endless war in Iraq caused America’s economic collapse.