NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

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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One Ping

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

    Ping from Morning Rundown for May 27th, 2011 :: May 27th, 2011 at 9:48 AM