Welch disputes charges about voting record made by Rivera

Aug. 17, 2018 | G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – Do the grades tell the real story? According to State Sen. James Welch, they don’t

Whether or not Welch was ever removed as a “Gun Sense Candidate” on the Moms Demand Action website, as asserted by the campaign of his opponent, Amaad Rivera, is now in question.

A spokesperson from Moms Demand Action told the Rivera campaign the omission of Welch from the list of Massachusetts candidates was “a glitch.”

Rivera has maintained that Welch has received a positive rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for pro-gun ownership votes during his time in the Senate.

The designations are contradictory, though. Welch is deemed to have a grade of 57 percent by the NRA, according to the site https://votesmart.org, as well as a grade of 0 by the American Conservative Union. But, Welch also has a ranking of “A-“ from the NRA for his votes on gun issues.

According to votesmart.org, Welch also received a 91 percent from the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) – a Massachusetts-based gun advocacy group – but GOAL does not have its ratings on its own website.

Votesmart.org does not offer an explanation of these contradictory ratings, but does caution, “Keep in mind that ratings done by special interest groups often do not represent a non-partisan stance. In addition, some groups select votes that tend to favor members of one political party over another, rather than choosing votes based solely on issues concerns. Nevertheless, they can be invaluable in showing where an incumbent has stood on a series of votes in the past one or two years, especially when ratings by groups on all sides of an issue are compared. Website links, if available, and descriptions of the organizations offering performance evaluations are accessible by clicking on the name of the group.

“It doesn’t tell the real story,” Welch told Reminder Publishing.

He noted he has voted for a number of gun control issues including the ban on bump stocks and supporting the recent red flag bill.

Reminder Publishing contacted both Moms Demand Action and the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), pro-gun lobbyist for Massachusetts, to get a better understanding of how these ratings are determined. Neither organization has yet to offer comment.

According to votesmart.org, Welch also received a 91 percent from GOAL, but GOAL does not have its ratings on its website.

Welch charged that Rivera was distorting information “to benefit himself.”

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