A dollar short and two years late are just a few of the descriptions that fit the editorial by the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus calling out term-limited state Rep. Chris Ward, R-Brighton, for missing more votes than any lawmaker in the 94th Legislative session that just ended Dec. 30.
Closing the gate after the horses are gone is another way to describe it; he is term-limited. But the editorial claims "Ward owes his now-former constituents an explanation."
As you recall, Michigan Votes, maintained by the conservative think tank Mackinac Center for Public Policy, keeps track of missed votes, and according to them, Ward missed more total votes for the entire session that ran from January 2007 to Dec. 20, 2008 than any lawmaker. This occurred while Ward was in a leadership role. He was the No. 2 Republican in the House; the Majority Floor Leader until the GOP lost control of the House for the 94th Legislature, and then he was the Minority Floor Leader until he was sacked for voting to increase the state income tax in October 2007 that ended a brief government shutdown.
"Prior to his maverick 2007 vote, Ward's attendance record was fine. So why did he all of a sudden start missing work 20 percent of the time during his last two years in office? Was he sulking over losing his leadership position? Was there some other explanation." Said the editorial.
Simply not true. Ward missed more votes than any lawmaker for the calendar year 2007, and that was eight months before he made the vote he was rightly praised for.
Once again, for full disclosure, I was a volunteer for Ward's Democratic opponent in the November 2006 race. We worked hard, but we got killed. During the campaign, there were clear indications of what his attendance record would be, and we saw very little of Ward in the 66th District and in Livingston County. In fact, this very same editorial board that is now calling Ward out endorsed him without the traditional endorsement interview of him or his opponent.
Being a Republican in Livingston County should not mean automatic victory, nor should an incumbent go unchallenged in the primary.