State legislators ranked on effectiveness, attendance

Abby Cavenaugh

April 16, 2014

All state senators and representatives were ranked on their effectiveness and attendance for 2013 in a report released by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research on April 8.

Senator Gene McLaurin (D-25) and Rep. Mark Brody (R-55), who represent Anson County in the General Assembly, received respectable marks in the survey. Both are freshmen in the state legislature, and both are very active in their home counties of Richmond, for McLaurin, and Union, for Brody. However, both are also often seen at events and meetings within Anson County as well.

McLaurin ranked 33rd in effectiveness, and 23rd in attendance. Brody, on the other hand, had perfect attendance, but was ranked 92nd for effectiveness.

The survey was conducted in October through December 2013, when the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research surveyed 50 state senators, 120 representatives, 438 registered lobbyists and 35 state capitol news correspondents. Senators ranked other senators, and representatives ranked other representatives. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) both ranked first for their respective branches of the General Assembly.

McLaurin said he was pleased with his 33rd-place ranking. “I think as a freshman, my objective was to go to Raleigh and build relationships on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “I’m not in the majority party, and I think the majority party will always have a higher ranking. Of the freshmen, I was fourth highest, and the first three were all Republican, so I’m happy with that.”

He added that he was “personally proud” that the other freshmen ranked higher were all from larger cities. “I hope that where I was ranked shows that I did take [rural communities’] message to Raleigh,” he said.

According to the report, McLaurin missed two full days and two partial days, giving him a 96.2 percentage of days present. Of 888 votes he could have cast while present, McLaurin voted 874 times, for a 99.3-percent ranking on participation.

While he had perfect attendance and voted on 1,351 pieces of 1,354 possible legislation, Brody said the rankings didn’t matter much to him. “My No. 1 most important thing is getting out into the community,” he said. “I work with whoever I need to work with, like Gene [McLaurin], on either side of the aisle.”

He added that it’s important to “show up” and be there to cast votes on legislation. “I read every bill,” he said, “and as long as it’s good legislation, I don’t care who gets the credit for it. The No. 1 job of legislators is to learn what the community needs and deliver.”

“The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization created in 1977 to evaluate state government programs and study important public policy issues facing North Carolina,” the organization’s press release reads.