He's a Republican state lawmaker from Kent County, and someone MIRS News has just reported may seek to replace current Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, in that position next year.

OK, but who is he in terms of his voting record?

A new tool recently added to MichiganVotes.org  offers a potentially very revealing answer for Rep. Yonker or any lawmaker by identifying votes in which he or she bucked the majority of his own House or Senate party caucus. Rep. Yonker did so 30 times since taking office in 2011; MichiganVotes’ concise, objective, plain-English description of each is shown here.

Whether bucking the caucus on a particular vote is good or bad depends on your opinion of the measure. If you think the caucus was being “bad,” then you’ll like a legislator who doesn’t go along. If instead you think the caucus was doing the right thing, this may raise questions about the dissenter.

To review the “bucked the caucus” record of any Michigan state representative or senator during the past 10 years, go to the “advanced searches” page of MichiganVotes.org, scroll down to “Search House voting record” or “Search Senate voting record,” pick a legislator and check the “Went against majority of own party” box.

Two lawmakers who provide excellent examples of this tool are Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester, and Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. Reps. McMillin and Jones have the highest and lowest percentages in their caucuses, respectively, of votes deemed “correct” in a “Tea Party Scorecard” created by a Clarkston group using another useful and free MichiganVotes tool:

Rep. Tom McMillin votes that “went against majority of own party.”
Sen. Rick Jones votes that “went against majority of own party.”

By the way, Rep. Yonker has a 68 percent “correct” percentage on 2011-2012 votes selected by that Tea Party group (the Independent Tea Party Patriots), compared to 91 percent for the highest House Republican (McMillin) and 57 percent for the lowest Republican (Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan)*. Votes this group scored as “wrong” are indicated for each lawmaker by a red “X,” making this scorecard a useful benchmark both for those who share or oppose Tea Party views on bills it selected.

Other revealing MichiganVotes search results for Rep. Yonker (or any legislator) are ones for bills in which the site’s description includes the keywords “pension” or “union.” Keywords, issue categories and date ranges can be searched independently or in combination, with or without “went against majority of own party.”

Note: A legislator may vote against a bill for reasons a voter may believe are good or bad. For example, a lawmaker may oppose a budget bill because he or she thinks it spends either too much or too little.

*Rep. Joseph Graves, R-Argentine Township, has lower score but only took office last March after winning a special election to fill a vacancy.