Effectiveness rankings reflect competence of state legislators

Published 5:20 pm Sunday, April 13, 2008

By Staff
Basnight ranked first in state senate for eighth-straight time
Staff Writer
For the eighth-straight time, Marc Basnight was ranked first among state senators in the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research’s rankings of effectiveness in the General Assembly. Recognition this time is for 2007. Basnight, a Democrat from Dare County, is president pro-tem of the state Senate and represents the First District, which includes Beaufort, Hyde and Washington counties.
The rankings are based on responses to a survey of the legislators themselves, registered lobbyists and news media who cover state government. The rankings were released by the center Thursday.
The purpose of the survey is to give registered voters in the state some insight on each legislator.
Representatives Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort, and Timothy Spear, D-Washington, were included in the effectiveness rankings.
Williams ranked 74 out of 119 representatives in the Legislature. Spear ranked 78.
The rankings reflect the work done by the representatives in the districts they represent, according to Coble.
Basnight’s consistent success in the survey is a reflection of his hard work in the senate, according to state Senator Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, who ranked second among the delegates in effectiveness.
Tom Thompson, Beaufort County’s chief economic developer, has witnessed first-hand the impact that Basnight has had on the region.
Rand, who sits beside Basnight in the state senate and has been a close friend for over 20 years, said Basnight is ever the optimist.
Basnight was fully absent 11 out of 113 legislative days, and partially absent one day, according to attendance rankings included in the survey. Williams was partially absent one out of 115 legislative days, and never fully absent. Williams said he prides himself on his commitment to the region and believes it reflects in his attendance ranking.
Williams thinks that his effectiveness ranking is 74 because he does not chair one of the top two committees — health care and education.
Williams is chairman of the Wildlife Resources Committee and vice-chairman of the Agriculture, Financial Institutions and Transportation committees.
Spear was fully absent three out of 115 legislative days, and partially absent two. Spear, who helped prevent the outlying landing field from being built in Washington County, could not be reached for comment.
Coble believes that the effectiveness rankings reflect the experience of the legislators.