Rep. Kai Kahele speaks at an event in Hawai’i in March 2022. He has been criticized for voting by proxy while also maintaining outside employment as a commercial airline pilot. (Photo: Office of Rep. Kai Kahele)

The Washington Examiner spoke with Congressional Institute President Mark Strand about proxy voting and how that is affecting Congress. The latest round of stories comes from reports about Hawaii Democrat Representative Kai Kahele having voted in person just five times this year, using proxy voting for the other 120 votes he has “cast.” Kahele moonlights as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, and his office has said he flies “limited” routes to keep his license current.

But, as Strand has written about spoken about previously, the purpose of Congress is for elected representatives to gather in person to debate and vote. As the article noted, “critics of the practice said it removes crucial opportunities for face-to-face debate and compromise.” From the article:

Congressional Institute President Mark Strand told the Washington Examiner that the problem with proxy voting is that “you’re elected to come to Washington and represent your constituents.”

“And no one ever gets everything they want, which means you have to be engaged in the art of compromise and negotiation with your colleagues to be able to get the things that you want, and your constituents need,” Strand said.

Although Republican Members have also taken advantage of proxy voting, Republican leadership has announced it will eliminate the practice if they retake the U.S. House in November.

Read the full article here.