First Gubernatorial Debate: Voting Record

Governor Siegelman:

Congressman, you have overall the fourth worst attendance record in Congress and this year you missed more than half of the votes. You've said you don't miss votes if there is an important issue. On December the 11th, 2001, Congress voted to honor Alabamian John Michael Spann, that was America's first casualty in the war on terrorism. You were absent, why?

Congressman Riley:

Governor, if we're going to address my voting record and I think the people of Alabama need to know this.  With the last five years, after being told five years ago that I had six months to live and I had to have major surgery. That took me out of Congress for a while. I came back, my dad passed away. That was an obligation I had to fulfill and I wanted to be there with him. My daughter went through 2.5 years of some of the most excruciating treatments I have, and I missed votes to be with her.

Even after all of that, I still have over a 90% voting record. Since January, that has changed because I mad up my mind that if it means I have to pass a vote on naming a court house, naming a city park after some congressman, then I would miss those because I want to change Alabama. I have see what those other southeastern states have done and I've seen your reluctance to adopt some of these really progressive programs. So it means that I miss those on Tuesday nights and if it means I'm going to miss some more suspension votes, unanimous type votes, then I'll miss them in order to give me the opportunity to come back and change Alabama.

Governor Siegelman:

Congressman, you said you missed votes since January. This was December 11th. But let me remind you where you were. I think that was an important vote to honor Mike Spann, who gave his life for this country, and for this state. But you were here in Montgomery, posing with Republican legislators in front of the State House that day.

Missing votes of importance matters. You should be a role model for the kids in your district and the children of the state. And how do you think they can look up to you when you miss a vote...

Moderator: Time is up.