Six Kansas representatives total more than half of all missed House votes

Rep. Jack Thimesch

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — Once again, a handful of state representatives have accounted for more than half of all votes missed in the House during the 2014 Kansas Legislative session.

However, one lawmaker who singlehandedly made up nearly a quarter of all missed votes should also receive the least amount of flack for it, as far as we’re concerned.

In all, Reps. John Edmonds, Shanti Gandhi, Emily Perry, Marty Read, Tom Sloan and Jack Thimesch compiled 357 missed roll call votes this year. By comparison, all other legislators only added up to 316

Rep. John Edmonds

missed votes. Here’s a breakdown of the top six:

  • Jack Thimesch (R-Cunningham) – 159
  • John Edmonds (R-Great Bend) – 60
  • Shanti Gandhi (R-Topeka) – 44
  • Marty Read (R-Mound City) – 43
  • Emily Perry (D-Mission) – 28
  • Tom Sloan (R-Lawrence) – 23

While Thimesch led the House in missed votes, it was not without reason. Thimesch’s wife, Diane, died in early April after a prolonged illness. Dozens of lawmakers attended the funeral April 3. Frankly, we’d be shocked if an

Rep. Shanti Gandhi

elected official didn’t put such tragic personal matters before affairs of state.

Gandhi attributed his number of missed votes to a bout of the flu that kept him out of commission for two days near the end of March, when the Legislature was busy wrapping-up matters before spring break.

Perry’s missed votes were also due to a combination of timing and a full House agenda. Perry told Kansas Watchdog she had to be away from the Capitol for personal reasons.

Rep. Emily Perry

“The Speaker decided to final emergency up a number of votes so members would be able to attend the funeral of Phil Kline,” Perry said, referring to the state supreme court’s late April decision to deny the former state attorney general’s appeal of his suspended law license. “There were only supposed to be a couple of votes that day, but due to circumstances beyond my control, more final votes were cast.”

Sloan said his 23 missed votes were the result of his service on two Department of Energy Advisory Committees, which held meetings during the legislative

Rep. Tom Sloan

session, as well as illness and a family health issue requiring his support.

Edmonds and Read didn’t return calls for comment.

During the 2013 legislative session, seven state representatives made up half of all missed votes.

Contact Travis Perry at travis@kansaswatchdog.org, or follow him on Twitter at @muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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