ByÂ Ralph Z. Hallow-The Washington Times
The state report cards will represent the first expansion beyondCongress ofÂ ACUâ€™s annual assessments of the voting records of lawmakers since the organization began issuing grades forÂ U.S. HouseandÂ Senate members in 1971.
TheÂ ACU chose Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Virginia and North Carolina to target for grading.
But giving a conservative who wins theÂ White House next year as close to a veto-proofÂ Congress as possible will be critical,Â Mr. Cardenas said. The outcomes ofÂ Senate and Houses races in the five selected states could at least strip Democrats of their majority in theÂ Senate and enhance theÂ GOP majority in the House.
TheÂ ACU, which holds the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, also announced plans for expanding its role in other areas, including the establishment of regional CPACs.
â€œWith the growth of government expanding faster than at any time in the history of our country, theÂ ACU intends to expand its role in giving the American people the tools they need to make informed voting decisions at every level of government,â€ saidÂ Mr. Cardenas, a former FloridaÂ GOPchairman.
TheÂ ACU also intends to make use of traditional and â€œnew mediaâ€ to â€œadvocate more aggressively than ever beforeâ€ in support of conservative policy initiatives and legislation and to oppose anything that would, inÂ ACUâ€™s view, weaken individual freedom, free-market competition and the statesâ€™ constitutional authority.
The issues, he said, will range from the opposition to T. Boone Pickensâ€™ natural gas bill that critics say would give billions of dollars in tax incentives for the production and use of natural gas vehicles to the fight over PresidentÂ Obamaâ€™s commerce secretary nominee, John Bryson.
Another ambitious move byÂ ACU thatÂ Mr. Cardenas is promising is the establishment of the â€œACU University,â€ which he described as a virtual school for conservatives across the country, featuring classes and seminars, interaction between students and national conservative leaders and a â€œone-of-a-kind curriculum aimed at growing the national conservative movement.â€
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