Local Politics

Survey Shows Area Legislators Highly Effective

Posted April 9, 2008 5:53 p.m. EDT
Updated April 11, 2008 1:31 p.m. EDT

— State legislators representing the local area are highly effective in their respective chambers, according to a survey of their peers and lobbyists released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research, was given to House and Senate members.

Each chamber voted only on the effectiveness of its own legislators. Effectiveness was judged on the legislators’ participation in committee work, their skill at guiding bills through committee floor debate, their general knowledge, expertise in special fields, the respect they command from peers and political power.

Sen. Tony Rand, (D-Cumberland), was ranked the second-most-effective member of the Senate behind President Pro Tem  Marc Basnight, (D-Dare). Rand has been ranked second since 1999.

Five area representatives ranked in the top 10.

Rep. Rick Glazier, (D-Cumberland), was fourth; followed by Rep. Henry M. Michaux Jr., (D-Durham), at sixth; Rep. Deborah K. Ross, (D-Wake), at seventh; Rep. Daniel T. Blue Jr. (D-Wake), at eighth; and Rep. Paul Stam, (R-Wake), at 10th.

Rep. Ty Harrell, (D-Wake), ranked 52nd, putting him in the middle of the pack. But he was the highest-ranked freshman in the House.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, (R-Wake), came in 91st, and Rep. Marilyn Avila, (R-Wake) was 117th.

Legislators were also judged on attendance.

Sens. Veron Malone, (D-Wake), and Robert M. Pittenger, (R-Mecklenburg), tied for 44th for being present 88 percent of the time. Sen. Janet Cowell, (D-Wake), was ranked 48th, with attendance at 85 percent. Sen. S. Clark Jenkins, (D-Edgecombe) at 80 percent and Sen. Malcolm Graham (D-Mecklenburg) at 74 percent had the lowest attendance.

Former Rep. Thomas E. Wright, (D-New Hanover), who was recently sentenced to 70 to 95 months in prison after being convicted of three counts of fraud, attended 77 percent of the time, which put him 117th out of 119 representatives.

The survey was given from December 2007 through February 2008. All 50 state senators and 119 representatives were included in the survey. Rep. Ken Furr did not take office until Aug. 15, 2007, which caused him to be left out of the survey. Also polled were 614 lobbyists and 12 state capitol news correspondents.