What Was Your Politician’s Grade in Supporting the Arts?

Besides all the other issues at stake in this upcoming election – what’s at stake when it comes to the arts? They say most people vote their wallet. If you’re in the arts, you should know how the people who represent you in Washington stand when it comes to supporting the arts.

On Sept. 16, 2008, the Americans for the Arts Action Fund PAC issued its Congressional Arts Report Card, covering the 110th Congress (2007-2009). That’s House of Representatives members only. The entire Report Card containing letter grades and numerical scores on arts issues of every Member of Congress based on his or her voting record and grades and ranking for individual states. A complete report can be found online at (www.artsactionfund.org/stay_informed/special_reports/).

The report says that the 110th Congress is decidedly pro-arts. Congress voted to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts from $124.4 million to $144.7 million. This $20 million increase by Congress lays the foundation for a full restoration of NEA funding to its 1992 level – $176 million.

So, progress is being made in taking us back to funding levels of 1992. Gosh, who was President then?

The Report Card assigns each Member of Congress a letter grade and numerical score based on his or her voting record on specific arts and arts education policy issues. Four separate congressional actions are covered, and each is weighted based on its importance to the arts – with the greatest weight given to four votes on funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). A perfect score equals 100 points, and the points are correlated to a letter grade of A+ through F. The Report Card also includes a detailed arts voting record for each Member.

So, how did our Congressional members do here in the Carolinas? Let’s see.

North Carolina by (party) and (grade)

G.K. Butterfield (D) B+
Howard Coble (R) C
Bob Etheridge (D) A
Virigina Foxx (R) F
Robin Hayes (R) D
Walter Jones (R) D
Patrick McHenry (D) A
Brad Miller (D) A
Sue Myrick (R) D
David Price (D) A+
Heath Schuler (D) B
Melvin Watt (D) A

South Carolina by (party) and (grade)

J. Gresham (R) F
Henry Brown (R) B
James Clyburn (D) A
Bob Ingles (R) C
John Spratt (D) A
Joe Wilson (R) F

Let’s look at how the Carolinas stack up as a State and those States where the people running for President and Vice-President come from.

State (score)(grade)(rank)

North Carolina 54 C+ T-30
South Carolina 48 C T-40

Alaska (Palin) 20 D T-49
Arizona (McCain) 45 C 45
Deleware (Biden) 92 A T-4
Illinois (Obama) 76 B+ 17

T – tied for ranking

What can we make of this info?

Basically, the arts do better under Democratic support.

When you vote on Nov. 4th – ask yourself if you’re satisfied that Congress is just about getting back to 1992 art support levels or would you like to come up to the 21st century?

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