South Sound lawmakers had good attendance in the Legislature this year, if the WashingtonVotes.org report of missed votes is a fair gauge.
Some newcomers had the best records – and two experienced lawmakers not from this area had the worst.
For a link to a searchable database on the missed votes, go to www.the olympian.com/politicsblog.
Freshman Democratic Rep. Fred Finn of west Thurston County (35th District) voted every time.
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Forty-seven of 147 lawmakers in the two chambers missed no votes.
In the Senate, freshman Republican Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville (2nd District) had the best record of four local senators, missing just five of 847 possible roll call votes.
The worst voting record overall was from Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. She missed 205 out of a possible 847 votes, far more than her counterpart, House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, who missed four. Brown told WashingtonVotes.org that her leadership role required her to be off of the floor to negotiate many bills.
“Frank has a button in his office,” House Democratic Caucus spokeswoman Melinda McCrady said of Chopp. In the House, a member who is in the vicinity of the floor also can ask another lawmaker to cover for him or her by using the vote buttons on the floor – unlike in the Senate, which relies strictly on voice votes.
Republican Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver had the second-worst attendance, missing 157 votes. Benton said he took “some leave for illness this year” and also was negotiating with House members on bills or choosing to meet with constituents rather than vote on issues in which the outcome was assured. But he did miss one key vote on local-option taxes in which Lt. Gov. Brad Owen broke a 24-24 tie and approved the bill, which Benton’s fellow Republicans were opposing.
Other South Sound lawmakers who voted every time were Republican Reps. Gary Alexander of Thurston County (20th) and Jim McCune of Graham (2nd).
How often the rest voted: Republican Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester (20th) missed five votes; Democratic Sens. Karen Fraser of Thurston County (22nd) and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch (35th) missed 20 each.
Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia (22nd), missed one vote; Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia (22nd), missed five. Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton (35th), missed 10; Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis (20th), missed 22; and Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy (2nd), missed 28.
Brad Shannon is political editor for The Olympian. He can be reached at 360-753-1688 or email@example.com.