This is a momentous day in a momentous week in both state and national politics.
All week long, hundreds of state lawmakers from across the country are convening in Seattle for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 2015 Legislative Summit. And tonight, a similarly daunting number of contenders for the Republican presidential nomination convene in Ohio for their first presidential debate.
These events may seem unrelated, but they in fact share an important connection: many of the Republicans debating tonight served in their states’ legislatures before pursuing their political ambitions on a national scale.
Before they began preparing to take the stage for tonight’s debate (or the JV forum beforehand), Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal began their political careers in statehouses.
The GOP-controlled legislatures in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Texas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana had busy sessions in 2015. The GOP presidential candidates’ former colleagues restricted choice, undermined ethics reforms, encouraged discrimination against same-sex couples, and played shell games with their states’ finances… just to name a few of this year’s legislative lowlights.
In honor of the vastness of the GOP presidential field, here are the top 17 terrible things to come out of the former lawmakers’ home legislatures in 2015.