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Jason Saine ranked 5th in House for effectiveness

ADAM LAWSON
Staff Writer

Lincoln County state Rep. Jason Saine was voted the fifth-most-effective member of the House by his peers in Raleigh, according to a survey conducted by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

The poll asked House members, senators, lobbyists, lead legislative liaisons and capital news correspondents to rate each member of the General Assembly based on effectiveness on a 1-to-10 scale. Legislators could only rate members within their chamber.

Participants were advised to base their votes on committee participation, ability to guide bills through committee and then floor debate, general knowledge, political power and the ability to sway other legislators. The survey had a 46-percent response rate.

Saine finished just below House Speaker Tim Moore and fellow Republicans David Lewis, Nelson Dollar and Skip Stam.

“You’re ranked by your peers and people that I interact with,” Saine said. “My takeaway is it’s probably one of the highest honors I can get, because it’s what my colleagues think. It pretty much is as fair an approach to the ranking system as you could hope for. The fact they regard me so highly is a compliment.”

David Curtis, Lincoln County’s other legislator in Raleigh, finished 35th among the 50 senators. Despite there being a Republican supermajority, he polled behind four Democrats and was voted the fourth least-effective Republican.

The top 21 senators and first 12 House members in the poll were Republican. Democrats filled the bottom 10 and 16 spots, respectively, in the Senate and House lists.

Curtis moved up in ranking 10 slots from the last time the survey was conducted, during the 2013 legislative session. Saine moved 26 spots since his freshman term.

“It had already been switched over to Republican and it was the first time that I had been ranked,” Saine said. “I was the highest ranking freshman then. Now, for my sophomore term to come out like this, it’s kind of unique.”

Saine, a senior finance chairman and chairman of the Appropriations, Information Technology committee, the Revenue Laws Study committee and the Joint Legislative Oversight committees on information technology and the North Carolina State Lottery, believes the high ranking came in part because he sets out to accomplish what is feasible.

“I’m pretty frank when people come to my office. I try to be realistic about what we can do,” Saine said. “When people try to ask for my time I try to give it the best that I can. I try to be very open and transparent. From a personal viewpoint, I think that’s something the people of Lincoln County sent me there to do

The NCPPR also ranked legislators on their attendance records and the percentage of votes cast while present. Curtis missed 10 full days of the 137-day session and had two additional partial absences, which put him in a tie for 38th in attendance. The House met for 135 days and Saine compiled a combined nine full or partial absences, which put him in a tie for 71st.

Curtis missed 68 votes while away but participated in all 696 votes taken while he was present. He was one of 18 senators to have a 100-percent voter participation percentage. Saine missed 24 of the 1,021 votes he could’ve partaken in and finished 103rd among his peers.

The NCPPR is an independent nonprofit that formed in 1977.

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