Sixteen North Dakota House Members Had Perfect Attendance


Following up on yesterday’s post about attendance in the state legislature, we saw that Republicans were a bit better at showing up to work than Democrats. Now let’s take a closer look at the House of Representatives (Senate tomorrow).

The full ranking is below.

First, let’s give some credit to the sixteen legislators from both parties – 13 Republicans and 3 Democrats – who had perfect attendance during the legislative session. While these folks might have missed a roll call vote or two, they were on hand and on the record for every single policy vote (if you need help figuring out which legislator is from where, click here).


Of course, not everybody had such sparking attendance records. I’ll note that it’s hard to quantify which is more important, roll call votes or policy votes. A legislator who missed roll call probably missed out on a significant amount of committee work as well. Policy votes are important too, but a legislator who was out on a day of lengthy debate and few votes (such as the day the abortion bills were debated) won’t be dinged for as many missed votes as a legislator who was out the day there was rapid-fire voting on non-controversial issues.

But we can only base the ranking on the data available. Here are the ten worst legislators when it came to showing up for work ranked by the number of policy votes missed.


It turns out that most of the legislators who missed the most days/votes in the legislature had some pretty good excuses.

Rep. Steve Zaiser has battled health problems for some time now, and left during the last week of the session. Rep. Joe Heilman had kidney stone issues and had to be taken out of the legislature to the hospital at one point, and also had surgery during the session. Rep. Bill Ammerman’s son had major, life-threatening surgery in Colorado. Rep. Wes Belter’s wife has serious lung issues, and is on a transplant list. Rep. Clark Williams’ wife had health issues.

Two legislators, Rep. Mike Schatz and Rep. John Wall, were both treated for cancer during the session.

The two members of the top ten who don’t seem to have good excuses for the amount of time missed are Rep. Marie Strinden, who was gone so frequently and without any communication that it caused consternation among the Democrat leadership I’m told, and Rep. Kathy Hawken, who took a Las Vegas vacation in the middle of the session.

Anyway, the full list is below. If you’re concerned about the number of votes your legislator missed I encourage you to get in touch with them and talk about it. There may be a good reason. Or, there may not be.

Attendance For North Dakota House Members

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • 1OLD1SG

    Joe Heilman’s mother was also dealing with some serious cancer issues during the session and he was at the Mayo Clinic with her during surgeries.

  • Lianne

    Again, what is the real purpose of ‘excused absence’? I was told that HS was then able to cut a check for each member. What difference does it make if they have a legitimate reason for being gone or just a family get-away or wedding? I wonder if those kind of absences would diminish if pay was deducted. I find the lack of commitment to their obligations irresponsible.

  • Stuart


    Kudos to you! These attendance issues , the public has a right to know…and I might add ,to complete the idea of a well informed electorate . This should be part of the election process Federal/State before they get re-elected. Their jobs might be dull and boring at times but attendance should be a tool in their re-election campaigns. Lets see you missed work how many times. I’d be fired if missed that many times unless I was Union! Do you really care about policy and the publics interest? How about controversial issues also. And a citizen must know how their candidate voted at least 7 times before they can vote.

    • Rob

      I agree.

      Outside of Hawken and Strinden, I really didn’t see anything too out of line in these numbers.

  • Alan

    Rep. Hawken, when not vacationing, was too busy working trying to plot and remove Shirvani.

  • Guest

    Zaiser missing the whole last week was pretty bad since only one of those days was believed to be medical related.

    Where’s the senate rankings at?

    • Rob

      The Senate attendance will be up tomorrow.