Issaquah lawmakers rank high on missed votes tally

June 14, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The lawmakers representing Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in Olympia ranked near the top for the number of missed votes during the 2011 regular and special sessions.

Which lawmakers missed the most votes?

During the regular and special legislative sessions, state senators held 648 votes.

1) Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland — missed 120

2) Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver — 79

3) Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell — 77

4) Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds — 76

5) Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee — 65

6) Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton — 64

7) Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch — 60

8) tie Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla — 49

8) tie Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley — 49

9) Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane — 36

During the regular and special legislative sessions, state representatives held 714 votes.

1) Rep. Larry Crouse, R-Spokane — missed 143

2) Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend — 120

3) Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City — 82

4) Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane — 66

5) Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw — 63

6) Rep. Jim McCune, R-Graham — 61

7) Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo — 60

8) Rep. Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elum — 57

9) Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton — 54

10) Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee — 53

Source: WashingtonVotes.org

The information, released June 1 in a report from the nonpartisan organization WashingtonVotes.org, shows state Rep. Jay Rodne missed 120 votes during the during the 60-day regular session and the 30-day special session due to family emergencies. State representatives held 714 roll-call votes during the sessions.

The absences put Rodne, a Republican, in the No. 2 spot for missed votes in the 98-member House of Representatives. State Rep. Glenn Anderson, another 5th District Republican, ranked No. 3 after missing 82 votes.

In the upper chamber, 5th District state Sen. Cheryl Pflug tied for No. 8 on the missed votes list after missing 49 votes. State senators held 648 roll-call votes during the regular and special sessions.

“There are many reasons why legislators miss votes, such as meetings with constituents, other lawmakers or dealing with unexpected emergencies,” WashingtonVotes.org Director Brandon Houskeeper said in a statement.

Legislators toiled throughout the sessions to slash spending in order to plug a $5 billion budget gap.

“Typically, because they’re packing a lot of work into a short session, in the time leading up to these cutoff dates, activity ramps up,” said John Barnes, communications director of the Washington Policy Center, the independent, nonpartisan think tank behind WashingtonVotes.org. “Right before the cutoff date, they can be voting on a whole slew of bills. In a very short span of time, a lawmaker can go from missing no votes to missing dozens of votes.”

WashingtonVotes.org asked the top five lawmakers in each chamber to respond to the 2011 missed votes report. Anderson did not include a response.

“This session, I was forced to miss many votes due to circumstances beyond my control. My wife unfortunately had two family members pass away during session that required my absence from Olympia to support my wife and her family,” Rodne said in a response included in the report. “Additionally, the Legislature worked several weekends this session that coincided with my military reserve obligations, from which I could not be excused.”

Rodne serves as a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

The tally represents a marked shift from the 2010 legislative sessions for the 5th District representatives. Then, Rodne missed only five votes and Anderson missed 18 votes. Pflug, a Republican, held the No. 4 spot on the missed vote list last year and in 2009.

Democrat Deb Eddy, a 48th Legislative District representative, missed 39 votes — not enough to rank in the top 10.

Other legislators in the Issaquah delegation boasted impressive attendance records. The city sprawls across the 5th, 41st and 48th legislative districts.

State Rep. Marcie Maxwell, a Democrat, had perfect attendance. The other 41st District representative, Democrat Judy Clibborn, did not appear for nine votes. The senator in the district, freshman Republican Steve Litzow, missed a mere three votes.

Democrat Ross Hunter, the other 48th District representative, missed eight votes. State Sen. Rodney Tom, a 48th District Democrat, did not appear for four votes.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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