Skipped 21 Percent of Floor Votes Over Last Three Years
PHOENIX – In her seven years at the State Capitol, former legislator Kyrsten Sinema rarely missed an invitation to appear on cable television talk shows. But she frequently skipped votes on issues that matter to Arizona.
Over the last three years, Sinema skipped more than 21.1 percent of floor votes – that's 13 times higher than the average percentage of missed votes for the U.S. House’s 2011 freshman class. Sinema skipped more than 36 percent of floor votes in 2009 alone. [Source: Roll Call Votes, Arizona House of Representatives Clerk; Roll Call Votes, Arizona Senate Clerk; New York Times, Dec. 27, 2011]
In fact, except for members who missed votes for medical reasons or because of running for president, Sinema's 21.1 percent absenteeism rate would have been the very worst in the U.S. House last year. The next highest vote skipper was Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who lives more than 4,200 miles away from Washington, D.C., and missed 16 percent of floor votes. Sinema lived a mere 10 minutes from the State Capitol.
Former Clinton White House senior aide Andrei Cherny has offered a solution, pledging to introduce the "Do Your Job" Act to hold members of Congress who frequently skip votes accountable. Cherny's plan would withhold a portion of pay for those members who miss votes.
For her part, Sinema pledges more of the same. "If elected to Congress, I’ll do exactly what I did over the last seven years in the Arizona Legislature," she told gathering of Tempe Democrats at Changing Hands Bookstore last week.
Especially during the last few years, Sinema has developed a troubling record of skipping votes to attend junkets, conferences and ritzy gatherings. Sinema reported taking more junkets than any other state senator in 2011.
- Last year, Sinema skipped 39 votes to attend a conference in Boulder, Colo., to speak on a panel entitled, "Pundits: The Luxury of Never Having to Govern." [Source: http://www.colorado.edu/cwa/search_results.html?date=7&year=2011]
- Sinema skipped nine votes to attend the White House Poetry Slam, where she bragged about hanging out with "mostly DC types." [Source: "Rep. Sinema Blogs from the White House Poetry Slam," Arizona Capitol Times, May 13, 2009]
- Sinema skipped nine votes to attend a cocktail party and gala dinner at the National Arts Club in New York City. [Source: http://www.progressivestates.org/news/dispatch/inside-psn-the-2008-progressive-states-network-annual-gala]
Even worse, when Sinema does show up to vote, she mistakenly votes the wrong way on major pieces of legislation. She's voted to give Sheriff Joe Arpaio greater authority to enforce immigration laws, and voted in favor of Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to remove 280,000 Arizonans from Medicaid.
"Kyrsten Sinema's decision to skip votes so she can appear on pundit panels and hang out at New York cocktail parties tells us all we need to know about her priorities," said Cherny campaign manager Seth Scott. "Her choices and abysmal attendance record show that she’s more interested in advancing herself than advancing the interests of her constituents."