Most employers that we know wouldn’t accept an employee missing a third of his scheduled work days, especially if those coincided with some of the most important projects of the year.
Yet, somehow, our elected representatives think they can get away with such behavior. A review of records by The Philadelphia Inquirer shows that several lawmakers from that region routinely skip voting days and that some miss days or even weeks at a time.
How does this happen? Shouldn’t our elected representatives, who haven’t shown an ability to get much done anyway, at least be able to show up to work?
The Inquirer found that state Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, was absent for nearly a third of the voting sessions in 2011 and 15 percent of the ones held this year, including a bill regarding the financial rescue plan for Philadelphia schools.
Doesn’t that sound like something that Evans might want to be present for? And something that his constituents demand that he attend?
Sen. LeAnna Washington, D-Philadelphia, missed about a third of voting days the past two years, including those when votes were held on controversial issues such as voter ID and Medicaid expansion.
Another Democrat, Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery, missed about 25 percent of this year’s voting days.
Pennsylvania, unlike most states, allows senators to be recorded as present on the official record and even vote on legislation when they aren’t physically present in the Capitol.
We know that telecommuting has become increasingly popular in this day and age, and we understand that some try to spend most of their time working in their respective district, but it doesn’t seem like too much to ask our state legislators – who earn at least $83,802 annually – to show up for the 50 to 80 voting days scheduled each year.
Thankfully, those representing our region have been much more diligent in their attendance. State. Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, and Sen. Richard Kasunic, D-Dunbar, have each been present for all but three of 832 votes. State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Berlin, has the top local record in the house, having missed just 27 votes out of 1,513. Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Patton, missed 33 votes while Rep. Frank Burns, D-East Taylor Township, missed 34 of 1,513. Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, missed 41 of 1,513.
While the three biggest current offenders mentioned in the Inquirer report are Democrats, it’s not a partisan problem. Former House Speaker Dennis O’Brien, a Republican now on the Philadelphia City Council, missed 28 days in 2011 while Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County, has not missed a day in 2 1⁄2 years.
So missing voting days is not a Democrat problem or a Republican problem; it’s a Pennsylvania problem. Shame on them for not taking their responsibilities more seriously. And shame on us if we re-elect these offenders.
On the Web
Check the voting records at: http://www.pennsylvaniavotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx.