Suzanne Bonamici was the only no vote on a 2009 bill cracking down on drunk drivers.

Rob Cornilles on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 in a debate

Was Suzanne Bonamici the sole no vote in the Senate on a drunk driving bill?

This week’s televised debate between Republican Rob Cornilles and Democrat Suzanne Bonamici offered a rare chance to watch the two question each other.

Cornilles tried to paint Bonamici as a candidate weak on crime, by asking her about certain votes she took in 2009. We’ll focus on just one of those statements. "And in another bill that same year, you were the only vote in the entire state Senate against keeping repeat drunk drivers off the road," Cornilles said.

House Bill 2238, now law, increased the penalty for refusing to take a breath test. Before the legislation, a person who refused could qualify for a hardship driving permit after 90 days or maybe one year, depending on the driver’s previous record. Now, the minimum is 90 days — and the maximum is three years.

Bonamici was the only no vote in Senate committee and on the Senate floor. Her campaign manager Carol Butler said Bonamici wanted to stop people from driving drunk in the first place, not fiddle with legislation that addressed the problem after the fact.

In her five years in the Legislature, Bonamici has voted for many bills that crack down on drunk driving. But in this instance, Cornilles is correct. She was the sole no vote. We rate the statement True.