Nov 16, 2009

Former lawmaker’s excessive absences are a Republican joke

One of the minor badges of honor in Lansing is for lawmakers is to get the quote of the day in subscription only MIRS.

Last Thursday honor that went to Rep. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights, and it was about somebody those of us who live here in Livingston County know well, former Rep. Chris Ward, R-Brighton, who was term-limited last January.

“I think I've seen you here more this session than last session,” Rocca said on the House floor referring to Ward.

Ward, who once served as Brighton Township Clerk, is currently the deputy clerk/register of deeds for Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson, a former state Representative who served a term with Ward. Johnson and Ward were in town again to support legislation that would allow some county clerks to calculate the money someone would need to come up with to redeem foreclosed property.

The House passed that legislation, House Bill 5267, by a vote of 73-28 vote, and it would allow, but not require, the registers of deeds in Oakland, Macomb, and Kent counties to calculate the amount of money necessary to redeem a foreclosed property.

Ward was a Republican marked for greater things, and he served one of his three terms as the House Majority Floor Leader. When I knew him as the chair of the Livingston County Republican Party, the Brighton Clerk and even his first term in the House he was a really nice guy, but that seemed to change. His heavy-handed tactics as Majority Floor Leader soured relationships between the two parties and made bipartisanship impossible.
He did do the right thing while in the minority when he voted with the Democrats to raise the state income tax to avoid a brief government shutdown on October 2007.

Rocca, of course, was joking, but like good comedy, there is a grain of truth to it. Ward missed more votes and more days of work than any lawmaker during the 94th Legislative session that just ended on Dec. 30. I was volunteering for his opponent in the race, and my critics like to point out that I’m still bitter over that loss. They are, of course, right. If he was not going to show up for his last term why run?

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