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Republican state legislator skipped special session to go on a European cruise

According to a story in The Kitsap Sun, State Representative Jan Angel (R – Port Orchard) was absent for almost the entire special session of the Legislature – because she was on a European cruise.

Angel won the European cruise at a Port Orchard event in November and claims to have consulted with Republican leaders before departing on May 12, after the special session had begun.

According to the right-wing Washington Policy Center, Angel was excused from voting thirty-seven times between May 13 and May 24. Among the votes she missed was one on the operating budget (pretty much the very reason there was a special session) and a vote on funding for Washington State Ferries (which has two docks in Angel’s district serving tens of thousands of her constituents).

“How many times do you ever win something like that?” she asked rhetorically, justifying her absence from the Legislature during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Noteworthy is the fact that Angel’s hometown paper of record, the very conservative Port Orchard Independent, never reported on the fact that Angel was missing in action for eleven days – although they earlier reported on the “Port Orchard Party” event at which Angel won the European cruise.

To date, the Port Orchard Independent has updated their website with such hard-hitting news as “Breaking News – County wants 10-year-old twins to remove treehouse” – but no news on their favorite state legislator, upon whom they regularly heap fawning praise via both their editorial page and biased news coverage.

Angel has a track record of not being particularly attentive to her constituents:

  • She is among the throng of Republican legislators who had never held a live, in-person legislative town hall forum for her constituents, instead holding ‘virtual town halls’ via telephone – typically for only one hour on a weeknight while her hard-working constituents are either stuck in traffic or having dinner.
  • She limits her ‘public’ appearances to those hosted by conservative groups such as chambers-of-commerce where she can expect softball questions from a friendly audience.
  • She generally keeps her office door in Olympia closed and doesn’t accept visits from constituents unless they’ve been carefully screened.

So how does someone with such a low regard for the very people she represents get re-elected time again?

As a former resident and political activist in Jan Angel’s district, I’ve heard people time and again express an attitude that I call “affirmative action voting” by saying things like:

  • “Our other two members of the Legislature are men, so I figure I should vote for at least one woman.”
  • “Our other two members of the Legislature are are from Pierce County, so I figure I should vote for at least one from Kitsap County.”
  • “Our other two members of the Legislature are Democrats, so I figure I should vote for at least one Republican.”

Perhaps next year, the folks who rationalized voting for Angel will opt to replace her with somebody who is actually interested in public service. Like Angel’s two seatmates. Neither of them missed a single vote in either the regular or special session of the Legislature. Their priority is their constituents. Angel’s priority is… enjoying that European cruise she won.

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  1. By Morning Rundown for May 27th, 2011 on May 27th, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    [...] Republican state legislator skipped special session to go on a European cruise [...]