Weekly Stateline column. With charts that can be localized.
When it comes to attendance on Beacon Hill, lawmakers from across the state aren’t making the grade, but they say their less-than-perfect 2007 records are anomalies amid years of exceptional attendance. Local lawmakers Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, and Rep. Pam Richardson, D-Framingham, blame their missed votes on out-of-state trips that they said helped their job performance. Moore, who missed 43 votes and had the worst attendance percentage in the Legislature, was in Argentina during the week when the Senate took override votes to reverse Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget vetoes. Moore said he traveled to Argentina as an officer of the National Conference of State Legislatures to share information and help strengthen Argentina’s democratic process. Richardson missed 32 votes, or 13 percent of the roll call votes that the House took in 2007, her first year in office. The freshman legislator was at a leadership conference in Pennsylvania when the House took up budget overrides. “It’s something that I am happy that I was able to attend, but obviously I am very sad that it looks like something not positive by the way that I missed those votes,” she said. Both Moore and Richardson say they had already made their position clear on the spending measures when they voted for the budget earlier in the year. Three kidney surgeries caused Rep. Thomas Kennedy, D-Brockton, to have the worst record in the House. “I take my duties very seriously, and I agonize when I miss being at the State House when we’re in full formal session,” said Kennedy, who didn’t want to speculate what nonmedical reasons might make his colleagues miss important votes. For Sen. Pam Resor, D-Acton, it was singing. Resor missed 17 votes while traveling to South Africa with the Yale Alumni Chorus during the summer, a traditionally slow season for lawmaking. Rep. Stephen Tobin, D-Quincy, said he had the worst House record because he missed about 20 budget override votes when personal reasons took him away from the State House for two hours. Tobin, who missed 46 votes this year, said “that was pretty much the only day that I was not in the building. … In the other 18 years, my roll call record has been exemplary.” Tobin, Moore and Resor all had better than 98 percent attendance in 2006. Republicans claimed the best attendance records -- 17 of 24 had perfect attendance, while only 29 of 173 Democrats made it to every vote, according to the Beacon Hill Roll Call. Like many state lawmakers, Rep. Paul Loscocco, R-Holliston, juggles a family and a job at Boston-based law firm Riemer & Braunstein, but he said he maintains his perfect record by putting his legislative duties first. “If I’m not there to cast a vote that means that 40,000 people have gone unrepresented,” he said. “In my view there isn’t another commitment that is more important … (voting) is one of the bare pre requisites of the job and anything else that’s done is in addition to your role.” Lindsey Parietti can be reached at email@example.com
MAKING THE GRADE
Grades are based on the percentage of roll call votes that the legislator participated in during 2007 as tracked by Beacon Hill Roll Call.B+ 87-89 percent attendance B 84-86 percent B- 80-83 percent C+ 77-79 percent C 74-76 percent C- 70-73 percent
Worst Attendance grades SENATE 100 % Attendance SENATE Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge C- Sen. Edward Augustus Sen. Gale Candaras, D-Wilbraham C+ Sen. Steven Baddour Sen. Frederick Berry, D-Peabody B+ Sen. Scott Brown Sen. Pamela Resor, D-Acton B+ Sen. Benjamin Downing Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre B+ Sen. Michael Knapik Sen. Mark Montigny Sen. Michael Morrissey Sen. Steven Panagiotakos Sen. Bruce Tarr Sen. Richard Tisei Sen. Steven Tolman Sen. Susan Tucker Worst Attendance HOUSE Rep. Thomas Kennedy, D-Brockton B- Rep. Michael Rush, D-Boston B- Rep. David Flynn, D-Bridgewater B Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst B Rep. Pam Richardson, D-Framingham B Rep. Stephen Tobin, D-Quincy B Rep. John Lepper, R-Attleboro B Rep. Charles Murphy, D-Burlington B 100 % Attendance HOUSE Rep. Fred Barrows Rep. John Binienda Rep. Garrett Bradley Rep. William Brownsberger Rep. Thomas Calter Rep. Stephen Canessa Rep. Robert DeLeo Rep. Lewis Evangelidis Rep. Jennifer Flanagan Rep. Paul Frost Rep. Susan Gifford Rep. William Greene Rep. Lida Harkins Rep. Bradford Hill Rep. Kevin Honan Rep. Donald Humason Rep. Bradley Jones Rep. Louis Kafka Rep. Robert Koczera Rep. Paul Loscocco Rep. Paul McMurty Rep. Michael Moran Rep. Kevin Murphy Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty Rep. George Peterson Rep. Elizabeth Poirier Rep. Karyn Polito Rep. Angelo Puppolo Rep. John Quinn Rep. Richard Ross Rep. Angelo Scaccia Rep. Todd Smola Rep. Cleon Turner Rep. Martin WalshLIST of MetroWest lawmakers in case your paper wants to incorporate it into the chart or make a separate graphic: Voting attendance from Best to Worst (Senate and House took different number of votes so I only included percentages) 100 % Sen. Edward Augustus, D-Worcester Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Sharon Rep. Paul Loscocco, R-Holliston Rep. Paul McMurtry, D-Dedham Rep. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham Rep. George Peterson, R-Grafton Rep. Karyn Polito, R-Shrewsbury Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham 99.5 % Rep. Stephen LeDuc, D-Marlborough 99.1 % Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin 98.7 % Sen. James Timilty, D-Walpole 98 % Rep. Jennifer Callahan, D-Sutton 97.1 % Rep. Peter Koutoujian, D-Waltham 97.1 % Rep. Paul Kujawski, D-Webster 96.7 % Rep. Alice Peisch, D-Wellesley 96.2 % Rep. Cory Atkins, D-Concord 95.4 % Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton 95.4 % Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln 95.4 % Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton 95.4 % Rep. Harold Naughton, D-Clinton 95.4 % Rep. James Eldridge, D-Acton 95.0 % Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland 94.8 % Sen. Marian Walsh, D-West Roxbury 94.8 % Rep. John Rogers, D-Norwood 94.6 % Rep. Kay Khan, D-Newton 93.4 % Rep. Tom Sannicandro, D-Ashland 93.0 % Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland 92.5 % Sen. Hariette Chandler, D-Worcester 92.2 % Rep. Patricia Walrath, D-Stow 91.3 % Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick 89.7 % Sen. Pamela Resor, D-Acton 88.9 % Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge 72 %