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Sarbanes, Wise have best attendance records

January 29, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., had the highest attendance rate of any Maryland member of Congress, while Rep. Bob Wise, D-W.Va., had the lowest attendance rate among federal legislators in the Tri-State area, according to Roll Call Reporter Syndicate.

Sarbanes' attendance rate for the 1999 legislative session was 99.2 percent; Wise's was 94.4 percent.

Just as every Maryland worker has to go to work each day, so does Sarbanes feel it's essential for him to try to vote on every decision, said Sarbanes spokesman Jessie Jacobs.

Sarbanes' rate is always around 99 percent, he said.

Wise missed about 46 votes, said Mike Plante, general counsel for the Wise for governor campaign. About 23 of those votes came as Wise was being prepared for or recovering from prostate surgery, Plante said.

No votes was missed because of his election campaign, Plante said.

U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., each had 99.2 percent attendance rates. That meant they missed fewer than 4 votes, Roll Call said.

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At 99.5 percent, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., had the highest attendance rate among U.S. senators.

The average attendance rate for the House was 96.6 percent for 609 votes. The average attendance for the Senate was 98 percent for 374 votes.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., who had a 99 percent rate, said the attendance statistics are important, and he's not surprised the average is so high.

"Just about everyone takes voting seriously," Bartlett said. "Your vote is the most important thing you have. The one thing you can't be denied is your vote."

There's almost nothing that has a higher priority than making a vote," he said.

The Roll Call syndicate, founded in 1973, provides voting records to U.S. newspapers.

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