U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin of Lakeland got an unwelcome distinction this week when Axios reported he is among the five freshman House members who have missed the most votes this session. But Franklin said today that all of the votes he missed were taken during a quick trip to Lakeland for a major announcement and none were on issues where his vote would have been decisive.

Franklin, a Republican, said he flew back to Lakeland the evening of April 15 after being invited that afternoon to speak the next morning when Gov. Ron DeSantis would announce a $42.9 million infrastructure grant to clean Lake Bonnet and benefit Bonnet Springs Park.

The Lake Bonnet grant “was a huge priority for us on the City Commission (where Franklin served from 2018 to 2020). I had sent a letter from this (U.S. House) office asking the governor to look hard at it,” he said. “When everything is said in done, it would have meant more to Lakeland to be there with the governor that day than a couple of votes that were going to pass by a couple of hundred people anyway.”

After the governor’s office asked him to speak, Franklin said, he and his staff looked at the scheduled votes. The two votes set for that evening, a Thursday, were noncontroversial issues, he said. Documents provided by Franklin’s office showed that the two issues passed by margins of 415-2 and 413-8.

Because of an unexpected procedural change, nine votes were cast the next morning during a period when only one vote had been expected, he said. Those, too, were decided by wide margins.

Franklin subsequently submitted his votes on those issues to the House speaker and the Congressional Record, he said.

“I have never missed a vote until that press conference and I have not missed one since then, and I don’t intend to,” he said.

The 11 missed votes constitute 7.8% of the votes Franklin could have participated in since he took his seat in Congress on Jan. 3, according to the Axios article. It placed him at No. 4 in missed votes among freshmen.

The other four freshmen listed, all Republicans, were Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina (16.9% missed), Andrew Clyde of Georgia (13.4%), Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin (8.5%) and Chris Jacobs of New York (5.6%).

Cawthorn missed votes between April 13 and April 16 because he had just been married and was on his honeymoon, his office said. He ranks sixth among all members of Congress in total votes missed, Axios reported.

The House Democrat who missed the most votes was Jamaal Bowman of New York, who missed 2.82% of the votes and was 14th on the list, according to Axios.

The Axios report was based on data collected by Quorum, a legislative tracking service.

LkldNow also asked Franklin about his vote on last week’s Republican Conference’s decision to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role. He reiterated his position that he wouldn’t comment on the vote because he wants to honor the conference’s privacy rules and says he’s frustrated that others violated those rules. “I believe the conference should speak as one voice,” he said.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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