It has been a high-profile year on Capitol Hill for Rep. Doc Hastings, who took over in January as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
It has also been a tough year for the Washington Republican to show up for work. Hastings, 70, has one of the worst attendance records in the U.S. House in 2011, according to an analysis conducted by the New York Times.
The newspaper reported that Hastings is one of 18 members of the House who has missed more than 10 percent of the 814 votes held this year. Hastings missed 11.1 percent of the votes. Hastings was the only member from the Washington delegation to make the list.
Erin Daly, Hastings spokeswoman, said the congressman was unable to cast several votes this year because of illness and the death of his mother in the spring.
It was unfortunate that the congressman was not present to cast these votes, especially because he was unable to vote on bills he sponsored and several bills that were approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources, which he chairs, she said.
In May, Hastings missed work when he was hospitalized for diverticulitis, a swelling of an abnormal pouch in the intestinal wall, often the large intestine or colon.
That same month, his mother Florence "Flossie" Hastings, died at the age of 97.
Daly noted that Hastings, since coming to Congress in January of 1995, has a near spotless 97 percent attendance record for roll call votes.