Nevada’s Newest Congressman On His Way To Washington, DC For Swearing In Thursday

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s newest representative to Washington, DC was in the air today on his way east to be sworn in as the fourth person to serve in the 2nd Congressional District.

In an interview today before departing for his new job, former state Sen. Mark Amodei said he expects to be sworn into office Thursday and be casting votes the same day.

“My job now is to make all those 75,000 voters look like smart people,” he said of those who cast their ballots for him.

Newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., at a debate last month. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Amodei handily won the Tuesday special election to replace Dean Heller, beating Democrat and state Treasurer Kate Marshall by more than 20 points.

Like Heller, appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Brian Sandoval to replace John Ensgin, who resigned, Amodei is a Carson City resident. Amodei said he plans to fly home each week to keep in touch with his constituents.

“If you’re going to be effective you have to be in touch with the folks who gave you the job,” the Congressman-elect said.

Amodei said he will report to the House Speaker’s office at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and take the oath of office by about 10 a.m.

“We’re going to go back and get sworn in and start the stuff with staff and the office and just kind of get up to speed and operating,” he said. “There is a ton to do so I’m sure it will be a pretty fully employed . . . next couple of weeks.”

Despite leading in the polls up to election day, Amodei said he did not purchase his Southwest Airlines ticket to Washington until last night after returns showed him winning the open seat.

Amodei said it is humbling to win so much support from voters, including Washoe County, where Republicans don’t always do well in general elections. Amodei took the county by more than 7,000 votes over Marshall, a Reno resident.

Making reference to the other special house election, where Republican Bob Turner won in New York City in a district held by Democrats for decades, Amodei said the GOP victories could help foster more cooperation in Congress.

“I think the overall message is, people are tired of what’s been going on the last few years, so let’s figure out where we need to go that makes some sense that hasn’t been tried and failed,” he said.

Land use regulations are the major issue facing Nevada and the residents of the district, Amodei said.

“I’m looking forward to going over to the Department of Interior before the end of the week and introducing myself to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) folks and just saying, hey, you know what, we have a lot of work to do in Nevada,” Amodei said. “I’m not impugning anybody’s work product but the time frames absolutely, positively have to change.”

Eighty-seven percent of Nevada is under the control of various federal agencies. The BLM controls 67 percent of the state alone.

“You just can’t take years to make decisions when the economy is in the shape it’s in,” he said. “I mean make whatever decision you think is appropriate. But this slow play stuff which is a de facto shut down of land use in Nevada; that’s priority No. 1 for me.”

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Audio clips:

Newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., says it will be a busy fall for him in his new job:

091411Amodei1 :21 couple of weeks.”

Amodei says voters are tired of the failures of those in Washington to solve the nation’s problems:

091411Amodei2 :11 and failed, so.”

Amodei says he will meet with the BLM to tell them the regulatory process needs to be streamlined:

091411Amodei3 :31 it is in.”

Amodei says the current process is a de facto shut down of land use in Nevada:

091411Amodei4 :13 No. 1 for me.”