2018-01-11 / Local News

Local legislators showed up to vote

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

BOOHER BOOHER Leelanau County voters were represented for nearly every vote of the state legislature in 2017.

Roll call votes were reported last week by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Curt VanderWall, freshman representative from the 101st District, was one of 85 State House members with perfect participation. He was 511 for 511 during the 2017 legislative session.

VanderWall said voting is just part of his job.

“We’re supposed to be there, studying up on the material and voting,” VanderWall said. “We’re elected and obligated to make sure we’re there. It’s disappointing when others aren’t.”

Six senators and two representatives each missed 50 or more votes in 2017.

Sen. Darwin Booher (R-Evart) was almost perfect, and he has a good reason for missing just three of the 570 votes taken in the Senate last year. All of his missed votes happened on the same day.

VANDERWALL VANDERWALL “I was at the annual conference of the Council of State Governments Midwest-Canada,” Booher said. “All the representatives left a day early. But I had to stay because we were scheduled to vote on some resolutions.”

Booher serves as chair of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus that had important business of its own.

“We approved a resolution asking the federal government to support construction of a new lock at the Soo Locks.”

Booher said the locks help drive the state economy — and the country.

A report by Michigan State University professor Dr. Peter J. Kakela estimated the value of iron ore shipped through the Soo Locks in 2012 at $500.4 billion, or 3.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

“It’s hugely important to the automobile industry,” Booher said.

According to the Missed Vote Report, there were 1,153 votes missed last year, down from 1,228 in 2016. The ratio of absentees was up in percentage terms because fewer roll call votes were taken in 2017.

Topping the six senators and two representatives missed 50 or more votes last year were Coleman Young II in the Senate and LaTanya Garrett in the House who failed to vote 144 and 95 times, respectively. Young represents Senate District No. 1, which includes River Rouge, Ecourse and a portion of Detroit. Garrett represents the 7th House District in Detroit.

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