Steinberg: Cardin's missed committee votes are inexcusable [Letter]

I want to congratulate reporter Luke Broadwater and his contributing colleagues on their article "Cardin missed nearly 75% of votes in committee" (May 7). One of the most important obligations of a free press is oversight of government and its elected officials. The majority of the public would not know what is happening in the legislature without reading the news reports or watching TV news programs.

However, I am offended by the politically motivated comments of Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Del. Sheila Hixson and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, who both minimized the importance of committee attendance. As a former chairman of the Finance Committee, former vice-chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and former president of the state Senate, I know and they know the importance. It is in the legislative committees that the public has the opportunity to testify and ask questions. Furthermore, it is during committee deliberations that bills are amended and re-worked. In fact, most bills that are defeated are killed in committee. Without sufficient attendance, a bill could be defeated that would normally have passed.

Being elected to the General Assembly is an honor, privilege and a position of trust. Certainly there are occasions when a legislator is caused to miss a meeting, but 75 percent? The office of attorney general is one of the most important offices on the ballot. That is why I shall vote for the most qualified, capable, and deserving candidate: Sen. Brian Frosh.

Melvin "Mickey" Steinberg, Baltimore

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