'Legislator to Watch' Missing Major Votes

April 4, 2014 AT 11:01 AM

The most politically charged vote all year in the New Hampshire legislature has been whether or not to expand Medicaid as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats were pretty much united behind Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in supporting the concept. Republicans, however, were split. Some, led by Republican Senate President Chuck Morse and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, believed that some expansion was necessary to remove high costs of caring for the poor at local hospitals. Others, led by conservative state Sen. Andy Sanborn, said that it was a bad deal for the state and opposed pretty much anything to do with the new health care law.

When this key vote came to the House where State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, R-Salem, serves, the Republican congressional candidate didn't vote with the conservative grassroots or the establishment. She didn't vote at all. (She did speak out against it.)

When it came to the biggest issue in the community she serves, casino gambling, Garcia deserves credit for holding her ground against it even though it is very popular at home. But when it came up for a vote this year, one that procedurally was more critical than Medicaid expansion, she didn't register a vote there either.

The Republican National Committee has hailed Garcia as a national rising star. Governing Magazine said that in the entire country she is one of 12 state legislators "to watch."

However, if her constituents or 2nd Congressional District voters were watching her votes on key issues this year like the minimum wage, two different gun bills, health insurance bills, and whether she would prevent welfare recipients to use EBT cards to purchase tobacco or alcohol, they would have seen she didn't vote on those items either.

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