“Just because you are there doesn’t mean you are doing your job,” he said. “I’ve seen some representatives who have been asleep.”
Another legislator whose job has caused him to miss votes is Rep. Daniel Tamburello, R-Londonderry.
Tamburello, a systems engineer, father of five and member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, has missed 69 votes. He’s only voted 58 percent of the time to date. Last year, he only participated in 68 percent of the roll-call votes, citing unexpected changes at work.
“I like to pay my bills, house my family and feed my children,” Tamburello said at the time. He did not return calls for comment last week.
But Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said Thursday the House needs more lawmakers like Tamburello even though he may miss some votes.
“He can’t be up there all the time, but we need more people like that,” Baldasaro said. “He is very smart, articulate and outspoken”
“Most of the reps have jobs,” he said. “I’m fortunate because I’m retired. I have more time to give to take care of the needs of the people.”
Baldasaro only missed 15 roll-call votes this year. Last year, he was absent for just eight of 262 votes.
He also defended two other Londonderry Republicans, Reps. Robert Introne and David Lundgren. Neither could be reached for comment.
Lundgren, a chiropractor, missed 103 votes — mainly because of his job responsibilities, Baldasaro said.
“These legislators make $100 a year and they have families to feed,” Baldasaro said. “If they make it 50 to 60 percent of the time, it’s win-win.”
Introne was absent for 82 votes after having hip replacement surgery, Baldasaro said.
Another lawmaker absent for much of the session because of failing health was Rep. Ronald Belanger, R-Salem. He missed 93 votes.
Belanger, 74, was hospitalized for weeks this winter with pneumonia and then needed a pacemaker. He also faces possible back surgery this summer.