Posts Tagged ‘Heller’

Nevada Senators Introduce Yerington Lands Bill

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 2:51 pm December 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Legislation that would provide for the transfer of federal land to the City of Yerington to expand a copper mining operation and create jobs was introduced today by Nevada U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller.

The Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act of 2012 would also create a new 48,000-acre wilderness area.

Wovoka.

Separate legislation that addressed only the land transfer proposal has already passed the House primarily through the efforts of Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

Reid wanted a wilderness component in the legislation as well, and last week the Lyon County Commission signed off on the proposed Wovoka Wilderness. Wovoka is the name of a Native American spiritual leader and father of the Ghost dance who was born and raised in the area.

“I am very happy to be part of this legislation which will create lots of jobs in Lyon County, which are so desperately needed,” Reid, D-Ne., said in a statement. “This bill also designates the Wovoka wilderness area, a place with special cultural and natural resources that are worthy of a high level of protection so future generations can continue enjoying them. It’s a bill that’s going to meet the needs of modern day Nevada.”

Heller, R-Nev., said: “Lyon County has the highest unemployment rate in the state and this legislation will bring more than 800 jobs to the area. Mining is a critical component of Nevada’s economy and we are fortunate to have resources in our own backyard for economic development.”

The City of Yerington and Lyon County are seeking the transfer to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

Nevada Copper, which broke ground on the Pumpkin Hollow project in February, invested nearly $50 million in exploration to justify the $1 billion investment necessary to fully develop the mine. The mine will produce 250 to 300 million pounds of copper per year.

The initial shaft sinking is already producing economic benefits with the creation of 30 to 40 jobs. An additional 250 to 500 construction jobs could start in 2013 if the land transfer is successful. At full operation in 2015-2016, Pumpkin Hollow is projected to employ 750 to 800 people directly.

The legislation will allow the city of Yerington to partner with Nevada Copper to develop roughly 12,500 acres of land surrounding the Pumpkin Hollow project site, which is already creating jobs in Nevada. The lands conveyed by this bill will also be used for industrial, recreation, and infrastructure purposes that will create sorely needed jobs and economic development for Yerington.

The House version of the bill passed in June.

Democrats Narrowly Maintain Control Of State Senate

By Sean Whaley | 12:30 am November 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Nevada state Senate will remain in Democratic control following Tuesday’s election after three Republican candidates won victories in five closely contested races, one short of the number needed for a change of power.

Democrats won two of the five races in play for control of the Senate, maintaining the 11-10 status quo over Republicans.

Republicans needed to win four of the five contested seats to achieve an 11-10 edge and win control of the Senate. Democrats have controlled the Senate since 2008.

But Republicans won only three of the five races, all of which were closely contested.

The results ensure that both the 21-member Senate and the 42-member Assembly will remain in control of Democrats in the 2013 session, requiring GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval to work with the opposing party in both houses to push through his education reform agenda in the 2013 legislative session.

There were 12 Senate races in the Tuesday election, but only five were considered in play by the two parties.

Mark Hutchison, Republican victor in Senate District 6.

In Senate District 5, former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, defeated Republican and former Henderson city councilman Steve Kirk for the four-year term. The final vote had 52 percent for Woodhouse to 48 percent for Kirk. Woodhouse served previously but had lost a re-election bid in 2010.

In Senate District 6, GOP attorney Mark Hutchison narrowly defeated Democrat businessman Benny Yerushalmi, 50.8 percent 49.2 percent.

In Senate District 9, Democrat Justin Jones defeated Republican Mari St. Martin by a margin of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent.

In Senate District 15 in Washoe County, a closely watched race that pitted Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, against former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, Brower eked out a narrow victory. Leslie had resigned her previous seat to face Brower, but lost the hotly contested race 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. More than $1 million was spent on the race by the two candidates, with Brower winning by a mere 266 votes.

In Senate District 18, GOP Assemblyman Scott Hammond defeated Democrat Kelli Ross, 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

Both GOP caucus leader Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, and Democratic leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, had high hopes for their slate of candidates.

In the Assembly, Democrats picked up a seat to take a 27-15 edge over Republicans, although there were some significant developments in a handful of the races.

Assembly Majority Leader Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, expected to be the next Assembly Speaker, lost a fiercely contested race to GOP newcomer Wes Duncan, by a margin of 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.

Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas.

Conklin’s loss opens up the leadership post among Democrats for the 2013 session.

In Assembly District 20, Democrat Ellen Spiegel, who lost a re-election bid in 2010, won her election bid over Republican Eric Mendoza.

And in a race sure to cause some difficulties for Democrats, candidate Andrew Martin won over Republican Kelly Hurst, despite being found ineligible for the seat by a Clark County District Judge on Monday due to a residency issue. Evidence presented at a court hearing resulted in a ruling that Martin did not actually live in the district.

In other races, President Obama’s strong showing in the Silver State did not have the coattail effect that Rep. Shelly Berkley, D-Nev., needed in her challenge to Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. Heller narrowly defeated Berkley to keep the Senate seat for the GOP, even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will maintain his position in the U.S. Senate with victories elsewhere across the country.

In the state’s four House races, former Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., won election in the 1st Congressional District. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., won a full term to the 2nd District, and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., defeated challenger John Oceguera for a second term in the 3rd District. The most closely watched race, in the new 4th Congressional District, saw state Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, defeat GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian.

Horsford will be Nevada’s first African American member of Congress.

Nevada Again A Focus Of Presidential Campaigns

By Sean Whaley | 5:34 pm November 1st, 2012

RENO – Proof of Nevada’s importance in the outcome of the horse race that is the presidential election continued to be on display today, with President Obama visiting Las Vegas and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan making stops here and in Southern Nevada.

Ryan, appearing in front of a crowd estimated by local law enforcement at about 600, continued to push the Romney-Ryan ticket message calling for change, pointing to Obama’s failed efforts at job creation.

Paul Ryan speaks at a rally today in Reno. / Nevada News Bureau.

Nevada leads the country in  unemployment at 11.8 percent in September.

He also stumped for Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who is locked in a battle with Rep. Shelley Berkley in the U.S. Senate race.

With only days before the Tuesday general election, both campaigns continued to press undecided voters in battleground states including Nevada and Colorado.

“The economy is limping along,” Ryan said. “It’s growing at less than half the rate President Obama said it would if he could just pass this stimulus plan. This is not what a real recovery looks like.

“The president can’t run on this record,” he said. “He can’t say to Nevadans, ‘look at my record therefore vote for me.’ This is why he’s running this kind of a campaign of division, of distraction, of distortion. To try and win an election by default. We’re not going to let him get away with it, are we.”

Ryan criticized a recent comment by Obama that he would create a new cabinet position focused on business if he wins another term, saying such a position already exists and is called the Secretary of Commerce.

“We don’t need a new secretary of business,” he said.

What the county needs is immediate presidential executive orders putting “ObamaCare on the path to extinction,” cutting red tape and excessive federal regulation and allowing energy production on federal lands, Ryan said.

At nearly the same time in Southern Nevada, Obama took the stage with crowd chants of “four more years,” according to an account from the press pool reporter covering the event.

About 4,500 people were on hand to hear the president speak, according to North Las Vegas Director of Administration Al Nayola. Obama began by addressing the crisis wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, assuring the crowd that help will come for them.

Obama then laid out the choices people have in this election, highlighting the differences between him and Romney. He talked about the growth of jobs in the country and the end of the war in Iraq. Whenever he referenced Romney’s policies the crowd “booed,” until he turned it into cheers by saying, “Don’t boo, vote.”

“We made real progress in the past four years, but Nevada, you know our work is not done,” Obama said.

Ryan also planned to visit Southern Nevada today, not to rally voters but to stop by the Romney-Ryan campaign office to thank volunteers.

Early voting ends Friday in Nevada. Election day is Tuesday.

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Audio clips:

Paul Ryan says Obama’s record on job creation is a failure:

110112Ryan1 :31 election by default.”

Ryan says the country needs to put ObamaCare on the path to extinction:

110112Ryan2 :22 our federal lands.”

 

GOP Political Consultant Predicts Obama, Heller Victories

By Sean Whaley | 2:45 pm October 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – A long-time Republican political consultant said today he sees Nevada voters supporting President Obama on Nov. 6 while at the same time giving Republican Sen. Dean Heller a victory against Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley in the hard fought U.S. Senate race.

Pete Ernaut, president of government and public affairs for R&R Partners, said he believes there is an Obama-Heller voting bloc in Nevada.

“If Gov. Romney carries Nevada, without a doubt Heller will win the Senate race,” he said during an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television show. “I don’t think there is a Romney-Berkley voting bloc. But there is clearly an Obama-Heller voting bloc.

Political consultant Pete Ernaut.

“And I actually made the prediction that I think the margins of victory will be similar,” Ernaut said. “That I think Obama will carry the state somewhere, one, three points, something like that. And I think that’s about the margin of victory for Heller.”

A similar situation occurred in Nevada in 2010, when Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid won re-election while GOP governor candidate Brian Sandoval won as well.

Ernaut said the potential of a split result should make Nevadans feel good in some respects because it shows that voters are so independent that such a vote-switching scenario could occur on election day.

“I think that makes me feel good about Nevada; that that type of result is possible,” he said.

Ernaut, a former state lawmaker, also weighed in on the closely watched state Senate 15 race, where Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, faces former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno. Ernaut said Brower, appointed to fill out the term of the late Sen. Bill Raggio, has an advantage.

But Leslie’s former state Assembly seat is located entirely within the Senate district, which could make the race close, he said.

“It’s going to be a closer race that it probably should have been, given the registration and given the dynamics of that district,” Ernaut said. “I think though that Brower still has a slight advantage.”

Ernaut said he has also reconsidered Washoe County’s critical role in the statewide election contests because of the huge Democratic voter registration edge that has emerged over Republicans in Clark County.

Democrats have 390,227 active registered voters in Clark County, compared to 262,806 Republicans, for a 45.8 percent to 30.9 percent split. Another 151,490 voters, or 17.8 percent, are nonpartisans.

“But I think that this is going to be a race that is going to be very, very affected by the turnout of Democrats in Clark County,” he said. “And that, I think, will determine the relevancy of Washoe in this statewide race.”

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Audio clips:

GOP political consultant Pete Ernaut predicts an Obama and Heller victory in Nevada on election day:

102312Ernaut11 :26 victory for Heller.”

Ernaut says Greg Brower has a slight advantage in the state Senate 15 race:

102312Ernaut2 :11 a slight advantage.”

Ernaut says the strong Democratic voter edge in Clark County has potentially affected Washoe County’s influence in the statewide races:

102312Ernaut3 :16 this statewide race.”

 

 

 

New Retail Association Poll Shows Presidential Race Tied, Others Favor Obama

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:49 am September 25th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Retail Association of Nevada’s (RAN) latest installment of its semi-annual survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, shows the presidential race in a tie and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., opening up a lead against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. in the Senate race.

With early voting beginning in just 26 days, the race for president is tied with 46 percent of voters indicating they would reelect President Obama and 46 percent of voters indicating support for Gov. Mitt Romney. Only 2 percent of those polled said they were undecided. The survey results come just days before both Obama and Romney visit Nevada yet again this season.

Two other recent polls show much different results, however, with both favoring Obama in Nevada.

Author: David Ball, via Wikimedia Commons.

The RAN results show Heller opened a five point lead over Berkley with 44 percent of voters preferring him to Berkley’s 39 percent. Four percent of voters in that race remain undecided and nine percent opted for “none of the above.” The poll’s margin of error is 4.38 percentage points.

RAN will be releasing full poll results on Wednesday. Additional topics covered in the survey include Nevada voters’ thoughts on Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Legislature, the economy, education, taxation and more.

The poll was conducted September 19-20 and used a sample size of 500 likely voters including 100 cell phone interviews.

Results today show that more Nevadans are optimistic about the direction of the state than in previous surveys. Thirty-seven percent say Nevada is heading in the right direction, with 54 percent finding the state is on the wrong track. Only 17 percent thought Nevada was headed in the right direction in RAN’s September 2010 poll, while 76 percent said the state was on the wrong track two years ago.

RAN commissions their surveys from Public Opinion Strategies twice a year which allows trends to be identified and provides an historical context to some of the toughest challenges facing Nevada.

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) is a national political and public affairs research firm. Founded in 1991, POS has conducted more than five million interviews with voters and consumers in all fifty states and over two dozen foreign countries.

A separate poll released today for the League of Conservation Voters showed much different results, with Obama up 9 percent over Romney 52 percent to 43 percent. The survey of 501 likely voters taken Sept. 18-20 by Public Policy Polling was an automated response poll, requiring those contacted to press the telephone keypad to indicate their responses.

The results, which also show 48 percent supporting Berkley and 44 percent Heller, were first reported by political commentator Jon Ralston.

Yet another poll released by the American Research Group puts Obama at 51 percent to 44 percent for Romney with 4 percent undecided.

The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted Sept. 20-23 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Democrats Continue To Outpace Republicans In Voter Registration, Gain 100,000 Edge In Clark County

By Sean Whaley | 12:38 pm September 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Democrats continue to out-register their Republican counterparts, with the latest data from Clark County now showing a more than 100,000 voter advantage as the deadline to participate in the Nov. 6 general election draws ever closer.

Today just before noon the Clark County website, which updates registration totals regularly, showed 346,703 Democrats registered to vote compared to 246,479 for Republicans, a 100,224 advantage.

Nonpartisans totaled 132,529 and other minor parties totaled 41,910 for a total registered population of 767,621 in Clark County.

Early voting will begin in just a little more than a month.

The consistent outpacing of Democrats over Republicans in the voter registration race could spell trouble for the GOP from the presidential race on down to state legislative races.

In addition to the presidential contest between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, an important Senate race pitting U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is at stake.

And Republicans in the state Senate are engaged in a concerted effort to win control of the 21-member house in November. Democrats now hold an 11-10 edge.

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said Democrats are doing well in the registration race because the message of the party on improving education and creating jobs is resonating with voters.

“We thought the economy was going to be the No. 1 thing, but education is and so, I think the message – better educating our children, trying to diversify our economy in different sectors, trying to do things that bring job here – I think those are all messages that are resounding with folks and they’re choosing to register Democrat,” he said.

Denis said Democrats in Nevada have a history of strong turnout for elections, which will also aid the party and its candidates. While nonpartisans will be a big factor in the races, many of those voters are expected to vote Democratic as well, he said.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said Republicans have the edge despite the registration difference.

“Well look, obviously we don’t want to see the numbers getting more divergent than they are in some of these races, and it’s unfortunate, but the reality remains that these are very winnable races for us,” he said. “We have a superior candidate, we have a superior organization, we have superior funding. So in that way, we still feel confident in each and every one of these districts that we’re fielding the better future state senator. So in that way I believe that we’re going to win every one of them.”

Contrary to Denis’ view, Kieckhefer said he believes nonpartisan voters are going to break Republican in the election.

Republican Senate candidates “are right on the messages, they are right on the issues,” he said.

“They have the position that is more in line with the majority of voters in their district,” Kieckhefer said.

The deadline to register to vote in the election is Oct. 16. The last day to register without appearing in person at an Election Department office is Oct. 6.

“I encourage everyone to visit our website to make sure they are registered to vote or to ensure their registration information is current,” Clark County Registrar of Voters Harvard Lomax said in a recent news release. “Individuals with a Nevada driver’s license will be able to take advantage of our online registration services and there is still time to register through the mail.”

Early voting for the election begins on Saturday, Oct. 20 and extends through Friday, Nov. 2.

A check of the Clark County website at noon each day for the past few days shows Democrats continue to consistently out-register Republicans.

On Thursday, the site showed 342,293 registered Democrats, 244,963 registered Republicans and 130,789 nonpartisans.

On Friday, Democrats had added 1,196 registered voters in Clark County from Thursday, Republicans added 322 voters, and nonpartisans increased by 478.

On Saturday, Democrats had added 287 voters from Friday, Republicans added 104 voters and nonpartisans rose by 98. The numbers were not updated on Sunday.

On Monday at noon, the Clark County site showed Democrats had added 1,970 voters from the weekend report, Republicans had added 610 voters, and nonpartisans increased by 674 voters.

On Tuesday at noon, the site showed Democrats had added 1,024 voters, Republicans had added 509 voters and nonpartisans increased by 520 voters.

In 2010, at the close of registration, Democrats only held a 91,633 advantage in Clark County. In 2008, at the close of registration, Democrats held a 125,218 advantage in Clark County.

Democrats have been outpacing Republicans in the statewide numbers reported monthly by the Secretary of State’s Office as well. Even nonpartisan registrations have exceeded Republican registrations in recent months.

As of the end of August, there were 463,229 Democrats registered statewide, 407,513 Republicans and 186,941 nonpartisans. The Democratic advantage stood at 55,716.

As of Saturday, Democrats had 471,585 registered voters statewide and Republicans had 411,525, giving Democrats a 60,060 edge, up by 4,344 voters since the end of August.

The push to control the state Senate is one of the bigger Nevada election stories this year. There are five seats considered competitive, and Republicans need to win four of them to take an 11-10 edge.

But Democrats keep making headway in the four Southern Nevada districts. As of last week, Democrats had a 4 percent edge over Republicans in Senate seat 5, 5.1 percent in seat 6, 6.1 percent in seat 9, and trailed Republicans by 2 percent in seat 18.

Seats 5, 6 and 9 now have larger Democratic edges than even in 2008.

In another closely watched contest, the race for the 4th Congressional District seat between state Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, and Republican Danny Tarkanian, Democrats now have an 11 percent edge, or 30,000 more voters, than Republicans.

“This is only the latest sign that Nevadans are rejecting Mitt Romney and Dean Heller’s plan to outsource jobs and end Medicare by turning it over to private insurance companies,” said Zach Hudson, spokesman for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “Nevadans across the state are excited about re-electing President Obama and sending Shelley Berkley to the Senate to create jobs, protect Medicare, and strengthen the middle class.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Mo Denis says the Democratic Party message is resonating with potential voters:

091812Denis1 :24 to register Democrat.”

Denis says Republicans have disenfranchised voters, which is why many are registering as nonpartisan:

091812Denis2 :16 as a Republican.”

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer says he believes Senate Republicans are still favored to win because they are the better candidates and are better funded:

091812Kieckhefer :23 one of them.”

 

 

Nevada House Reps. Vote To Audit Federal Reserve, Measure Also Supported By Sen. Heller

By Sean Whaley | 12:45 pm July 25th, 2012

CARSON CITYRep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., today voted in favor of H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act.

The legislation, which Amodei is cosponsoring, would direct the comptroller general to complete an audit of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve system and of the Federal Reserve banks, followed by a detailed report to Congress. The bill passed the House 327 to 98.

Reps. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Joe Heck, R-Nev., also supported the legislation.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“The Fed’s monetary policy has far-reaching consequences for the American people, affecting everything from employment to consumer prices to interest rates,” Amodei said in a statement after the vote. “Some oversight and accountability are more than warranted. It makes you wonder, who would oppose such transparency? This is an issue where my colleague from Texas, Rep. Ron Paul, has been right and I’m proud to support his effort.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., a supporter of the audit legislation, issued a statement after the House vote: “The Federal Reserve is a major influence over our country’s economy, and the ability to audit this institution would bring much-needed accountability.

“It is essential that Congress exercise its constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight and scrutinize monetary policy in an open and transparent way,” he said. “I am a strong supporter of this bill, and I hope the Senate will take action on this legislation.”

Heller was a cosponsor of H.R. 459 when he was in the House and is currently a cosponsor of the Senate companion bill (S. 202).

Heller Senate Campaign Calls Patriot Majority Attack Ads On Medicare Votes False

By Sean Whaley | 11:50 am July 10th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A television ad campaign sponsored by the pro-Democrat Patriot Majority attacking GOP Sen. Dean Heller on his Medicare votes has expanded to Las Vegas and is again being called false by his campaign.

The ads say Heller voted to “end Medicare,” twice, once while serving in the House from the 2nd Congressional District and once after being appointed to the Senate by Gov. Brian Sandoval in April 2011

Heller voted in April 2011 in support of a plan introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that would have kept Medicare in place for people 55 or older but changed it for others by privatizing it and relying on government subsidies. It was part of an overall deficit reduction plan that passed the House on a mostly party-line vote.

He voted in the Senate in May 2011 to proceed with the Ryan bill. The vote failed on a 57-40 mostly party-line vote.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

The ads have been running in Northern Nevada and have now expanded to the Las Vegas area. The Northern Nevada ad features Washoe Valley residents Jimmie and Dexter Sale who would not have been affected by the Ryan Medicare plan because of their age.

The new ad says Heller voted twice to “end Medicare as we know it” and that the legislation would have “raised seniors’ health costs nearly $6,000 a year.”

Heller, who is running for his first full-term in the Senate, is being challenged by Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. The race is considered critical to both parties’ efforts to control the Senate in the 2012 general election.

“Shelley Berkley and Harry Reid just keep repeating the same ‘Lie of the Year,’ hoping they can keep misleading seniors all the way through November,” said Chandler Smith, spokeswoman for the Heller for Senate campaign. “Shelley Berkley has always done whatever it takes to score political points, so her ‘Mediscare’ tactics really come as no surprise.”

The Berkley campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ads, which are being paid for by the third-party political action committee.

The Heller campaign said Democrat attacks in the Medicare ad were deemed PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” in 2011. The analysis by the group said Democrats ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not have affected people currently in Medicare or those 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.

Democrats also used harsh terms such as “end” and “kill” when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system, PolitiFact said. And they used pictures and video of elderly people who clearly were too old to be affected by the Ryan plan, the analysis said.

The Heller campaign said Berkley voted for the Affordable Care Act “that cut $500 billion out of the Medicare program.”

Heller has voted to preserve the Medicare program, the campaign said, by voting against both the Affordable Care Act and the Budget Control Act, which provides for possible Medicare cuts of up to $11 billion a year (about $140 billion over ten years) if deficit reduction targets are not reached.

Heller has consistently voted to ensure physicians are properly reimbursed so they will continue participating in the Medicare program and provide necessary services for seniors, the campaign said.

House Passes Rep. Amodei’s Yerington Land Transfer Bill, Measure Now Heads To Senate

By Sean Whaley | 6:01 pm June 19th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4039, the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, the first piece of legislation introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., since taking office after a special election in September 2011.

The measure, as title IX of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, a larger jobs and public lands package, passed with some limited Democratic support in a 232 to 188 vote. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would mandate the fair market sale of approximately 10,400 acres of public lands to the City of Yerington and Lyon County for economic, recreational and cultural development.

Sixteen Democrats supported the bill in the House vote.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., a co-sponsor of the Yerington bill, supported the omnibus bill. But Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., another co-sponsor of the land transfer proposal, voted against the act, which rolled 14 different bills into one.

Berkley said in a statement that she is a strong supporter of the land transfer measure and that it was unfortunate it could not be voted on as a single bill.

“It is extremely unfortunate the House did not have the opportunity to vote on this important job-creating measure except as part of a larger legislative package that has no chance of passing in the Senate and faces strong opposition in Nevada,” she said. “I am eager to continue working closely with Congressman Amodei and other members of the Nevada delegation to pass this crucial legislation in the near future.”

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who sponsored companion legislation for Amodei’s bill, criticized Berkley’s no vote. Heller and Berkley are locked in a tough race for the Senate in the 2012 general election.

“Shelley Berkley needs to explain why she sided with environmental groups over northern Nevada,” Heller said. “Instead of supporting legislation that would have created jobs in Yerington, she chose to side with the League of Conservation Voters. This is typical Shelley Berkley, saying one thing and then doing another. Today she cast another vote in a long string of votes where she stubbornly refused to acknowledge that people in Nevada are actually hurting.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

In remarks on the floor, Amodei said the land transfer is expected to assist in the creation of 800 high-paying mining jobs in Lyon County, which leads Nevada in unemployment at 16.3 percent. Nevada leads the nation among states in unemployment.

“Eight hundred jobs, no cost to the federal government,” he said. “This is a state where there are loan guarantees for renewable energy to the tune of $1.5 billion and we’ve got 136 jobs to show for it. Eight hundred jobs, no cost to the government.”

Amodei responded to criticisms by House members who opposed the bill on various grounds, including a requirement that the transfer of the land by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to Yerington be accomplished within 90 days of the bill’s enactment.

“So you want to change the bill to ‘if you feel like doing it go ahead, and by the way, take as much time as you want’,” he said. “No thank you. No thank you to ‘if you feel like it and take as much time as you want’.”

Heller also issued a statement welcoming the favorable House vote.

“This legislation is an example of how Congress can act to encourage job growth, and I am pleased the House passed this measure,” he said. “Mining is the backbone of Nevada’s rural economy and we are fortunate to have resources in our own backyard for economic development. Nevada has led the country in unemployment for the past 32 months, and Congress should focus on every opportunity available to create jobs.”

The City of Yerington and Lyon County are seeking the transfer to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

Nevada Copper, which broke ground on the Pumpkin Hollow project in February, invested nearly $50 million in exploration to justify the $1 billion investment necessary to fully develop the mine. The mine will produce 250 to 300 million pounds of copper per year.

The initial shaft sinking is already producing economic benefits with the creation of 30 to 40 jobs. An additional 250 to 500 construction jobs could start in 2013 if the land transfer is successful. At full operation in 2015-2016, Pumpkin Hollow is projected to employ 750 to 800 people directly.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says a 90-day transfer requirement is reasonable:

061912Amodei1 :11 as you want.”

Amodei says the measure will create 800 highly-paid mining jobs at no cost to the federal government:

061912Amodei2 :15 to the government.”

 

 

 

 

Tarkanian Wins 4th Congressional GOP Race, Lee Upset By Democrat Challenger In State Senate 1 In Nevada Primary

By Sean Whaley | 11:02 pm June 12th, 2012

CARSON CITYDanny Tarkanian narrowly beat out state Sen. Barbara Cegavske in the 4th Congressional District GOP primary today, surviving a tough challenge in the contest to see who will face Democrat state Sen. Steven Horsford in the November general election.

4th Congressional GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian.

The son of former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, Tarkanian overcame bad publicity surrounding news that he and his family face a $17 million judgment in a civil real estate case out of California.

The race was close, with Tarkanian ending up with 32 percent of the vote to 28 percent for Cegavske. Cegavske won the more populous Clark County in the district which also stretches across much of rural Nevada. Tarkanian made up the difference with strong showings in the rurals, including Esmeralda, Lyon, Mineral and White Pine counties.

But Tarkanian faces an uphill battle in the new congressional district created in Nevada as a result of the 2010 census. The district, composed of parts of Clark County and several rural counties, has a 113,000 to 90,000 Democratic voter edge as of the close of the primary.

The big surprise of the night may have been the overwhelming defeat of state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, in the Democratic primary against newcomer Patricia Spearman. Spearman had 63 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Lee.

The contest is expected to be decided with Spearman’s primary victory because of the strong Democratic voter edge in the district.

Progressive activists targeted Lee because of his conservative stand on some social issues. Spearman’s victory, however, won’t alter the political landscape as Republicans and Democrats face off in several other Senate districts in the effort to take control of the 21-member house in 2013.

The Nevada Priorities PAC, which supported Spearman in her underdog challenge, said Lee was their initial target because of his weak voting record on issues relating to education, civil rights, the environment and women’s choice.

“Voting records have consequences,” said Priorities PAC spokesperson Annette Magnus. “When we have a so-called friend abandon us on issue after issue, we were left with little recourse but to launch an independent campaign to educate primary voters.”

Lee raised more than $208,000 for his re-election bid, while the Nevada Priorities Political Action Committee raised $86,000. Spearman raised less than $14,000.

The statewide primary featured very low turnout by registered voters statewide. Fewer than 20 percent of active voters cast ballots in the primary.

There were no surprises in the other state Senate primary battles, with the toughest challenge in the GOP Senate District 9 contest, where Mari Nakashima St. Martin fended off Brent Jones. The race featured allegations of “partying” by St. Martin, while Jones was questioned about whether he took advantage of a mentally disabled man more than a decade ago by selling him two ostrich eggs for $30,000 to establish an ostrich farm.

The race pitted GOP Senate Caucus favorite St. Martin against Jones, an avowed opponent of new taxes. St. Martin had 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Jones.

A similar GOP primary battle occurred in Senate District 18, where Assemblyman Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, defeated Assemblyman Richard McArthur, R-Las Vegas, and Conrad Vergara. Hammond was the GOP Senate Caucus choice who voted to continue a package of expiring tax hikes in 2011, while McArthur ran as a no taxes candidate who opposed the package.

Hammond had 56 percent of the vote to 41 percent for McArthur.

For Democrats, Kelli Ross defeated Donna Schlemmer in state Senate 18 and will face Hammond in a district that has a Republican voter registration edge.

The Senate races are critical to both Republicans and Democrats to determine who controls the Senate in the 2013 legislative session. Democrats currently have an 11-10 edge.

The other three state Senate races in play between the parties are Senate 5, 6 and 15. The party primaries in Senate 5 and 6 had no surprises. Senate 15 in Reno had no primary. Republicans need to win four of the five races to take an 11-10 edge in 2013.

In some of the other races and issues facing voters around Nevada, the Laughlin incorporation vote went down to defeat. Residents of the community 90 miles south of Las Vegas rejected the idea of forming their own city by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

There were no surprises in the other congressional races. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., both won their primaries in the Senate contest.

Former Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., had no opponent in the 1st Congressional District. She will face Republican Chris Edwards in November.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., won his primary in the 2nd Congressional District and will face Democrat Samuel Koepnick.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., was easily winning his primary in the 3rd District and will face Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, in November.

In the two State Board of Education races, Allison Serafin and Ed Klapproth, were leading among five candidates in District 3 in Clark County, with 31 percent and 21 percent of the vote, respectively. Both will appear on the November ballot.

In the District 2 race in Northern Nevada among five candidates, current board member Dave Cook had 31 percent of the vote and Donna Clontz had 25 percent. Both will be on the November ballot.

Former Lt. Gov. and Regent Lonnie Hammargren had just over 50 percent of the vote in the race for the Board of Regents in District 12. Andrea Anderson was second in the four person race with 28 percent of the vote.

The only other upset in the legislative races occurred in Douglas County in a three-way Republican primary, where incumbent Kelly Kite lost to challenger Jim Wheeler. Kite was targeted for his vote in 2011 to continue a package of expiring taxes.

 

GOP Political Consultant Sig Rogich Says Legislature Needs To Take Serious Look At Collective Bargaining Reform

By Sean Whaley | 2:08 pm May 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Long-time Republican political consultant Sig Rogich said today the 2013 Nevada Legislature has to take a serious look at collective bargaining reforms so that situations like the impending layoff of hundreds of Clark County teachers can be avoided in the future.

“I think we’ve got to look at collective bargaining in a real way in this legislative session,” he said. “We’ve got to stop some of these nonsensical things that are going on. You can’t tell me that it’s good government or good policy to lay off 1,200 teachers down here when you’ve got to stop a pay increase to do so.

Sig Rogich.

“And I don’t think their fellow teachers agree that that’s the right thing to do as well,” Rogich said. “But this teachers union has dug its heels in to the detriment of those they represent.”

Rogich, interviewed on the Nevada NewsMakers television program, was referring to the layoffs anticipated in the Clark County School District as a result of a binding arbitration decision requiring the district to provide pay raises to teachers.

The school district lost an arbitration battle worth $63 million over teacher salary increases for education level and longevity. The district says the decision will force as many as 1,000 teacher layoffs  unless money can be found to reduce the number.

Rogich said he believes there is a disconnect between the teachers union and teachers themselves.

Rogich, who was involved in the campaigns of Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidents, also weighed in on the national and Nevada political scenes.

Of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Rogich said his campaign needs to do more to tell voters how he would run the presidency differently from President Obama in order to attract independent voters in November.

The average voter might describe Romney as a Mormon, a successful businessman, governor of Massachusetts or mention his work on the Salt Lake City Olympics, he said.

“To get independent voters to look at him seriously they are going to have to offer reasonable alternatives and differences between the way he would run the presidency as president and what President Obama is doing,” Rogich said.

Romney will do well in Nevada with a strong turnout expected from the Mormon community on his behalf, he said.

“I think that it’s going to be very competitive in Nevada,” Rogich said.

He also expressed no objections to the amount of third party money in the presidential campaign.

“Why shouldn’t people be overwhelmed by TV commercials that have messages that are important for them to know about,” Rogich asked. “What does it harm as long as you disclose it fully and you play by the rules?”

On the race between U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., for the Senate seat, Rogich said it is a tight race but that it is Heller’s to lose because Romney should run strong in Nevada.

Rogich was also asked about the state Senate race between Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, and former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, a Democrat, in Washoe County. The Senate 15 race is one of five in Nevada expected to determine which party controls the Senate in 2013.

Rogich said Leslie has to be the favorite, given her long track record of successful campaigns.

But Brower is extremely capable and cannot be counted out, he said.

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Audio clips:

GOP political consultant Sig Rogich says the Nevada Legislature needs to take up collective bargaining reform:

052412Rogich11 :09 to do so.”

Rogich says the Romney campaign needs to differentiate his positions with President Obama:

052412Rogich2 :11 Obama is doing.”

Rogich says he has no problem with the influence of third party political advertising:

052412Rogich3 :11 by the rules.”

 

 

 

Heller Asks Senate Leadership To Schedule Vote On No Budget, No Pay Act

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:10 pm May 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asking them to schedule a vote on the No Budget, No Pay Act (S. 1981).

Saying he is frustrated with Congress’ “consistent failure” to pass a budget, Heller introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act. This bill requires Congress to pass a concurrent budget resolution and related appropriations bills in order to receive pay. Pay is not awarded retroactively if Congress passes a budget after the deadline has passed.

In his letter, Heller said in part: “More than three years have passed since Congress adopted a binding budget resolution. The Senate Budget Committee failed to mark up a budget once again this year, demonstrating that the budget process in this body is fundamentally broken. Each of the budgets slated for a vote this week faces substantial opposition from members of whatever party did not introduce that particular budget. These budgets are being brought up in order to fail.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

“That’s why I’ve been advocating my No Budget, No Pay Act (S. 1981) for nearly a year,” he said. “My legislation calls on the House and Senate to pass a concurrent budget resolution and all regular appropriations bills before the beginning of each fiscal year. Failure to do so would result in the loss of pay until we take our jobs seriously and make these bills our legislative priority.”

The proposal and a companion measure in the House have some bipartisan support.

Heller testified in support of the bill in a Senate hearing held in March of this year.

“Members of Congress are willfully refusing to put our nation on a path to long-term fiscal responsibility,” Heller said at the hearing. “In crafting the No Budget, No Pay Act, to force Congress to face reality and take responsibility for running this country, this legislation requires that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives pass a budget and all appropriations bills by the beginning of each fiscal year. Failure to do so would result in the loss of pay until Congress takes its job seriously.”

The nonpartisan group No Labels gave its support to Heller’s measure after it was introduced. The NNB had earlier erroneously reported the idea had come from the No Labels group.

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Audio clips from March hearing:

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller says members of Congress are failing to put the country on a path to fiscal responsibility:

051412Heller1 :26 rating in history.”

Heller says the bill would require Congress to approve a budget by the beginning of each fiscal year or go without pay:

051412Heller2 :26 its job seriously.”

 

 

Sen. Heller, Gov. Sandoval Disagree On Internet Sales Tax

By Sean Whaley | 3:28 pm May 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recent agreement with on-line retailing giant Amazon to begin collecting Nevada sales tax on purchases is unlikely to see federal legislation supporting the policy from Nevada’s junior senator.

The deal reached by Sandoval and Amazon is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, or sooner if federal legislation is passed to allow states to collect revenues from internet purchases.

Sandoval said today he has discussed the issue with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, but that Heller is opposed to such legislation at the federal level.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“I have spoken with Sen. Heller,” he said. “Sen. Heller is not supportive of the, I think it is called the Main Street Fairness Act.”

Chandler Smith, campaign spokeswoman for Heller, confirmed he does not support such a proposal.

“Sen. Heller does not support imposing a federal internet sales tax mandate,” she said in response to an email inquiry. “The Amazon agreement in Nevada is a state issue.”

Sandoval said he has not had a discussion about such a proposal with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The most recent effort to force on-line retailers to collect sales taxes is being pushed by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Ten., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

Sandoval said the agreement he reached with Amazon is identical to those established by governors in other states, including South Carolina, Indiana, California, Tennessee and Texas.

“So there are some very conservative governors out there that have taken the identical position that we have,” he said. “I’ll say it again that this is not a new tax. This is something that is required to be collected.”

Sandoval has estimated that the deal with Amazon will bring in between $15 million and $20 million a year. He said the deal is good for the state.

Sandoval jokingly noted that he’s doing his part.

Sandoval said he bought a pair of old City of Reno cufflinks on eBay on Monday, paying a grand total of $3.99. Sandoval said he then filled out a form provided by the state Department of Taxation to remit his 30 cents in sales tax to the state.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says U.S. Sen. Dean Heller is opposed to federal legislation requiring sales tax collections from on-line purchases:

050812Sandoval1 :08 Street Fairness Act.”

Sandoval says Nevada’s agreement is identical to those entered into by several other governors:

050812Sandoval2 :14 to be collected.”

 

 

Rep. Amodei Rejects Congressional Earmarks, Says Projects Should Go Through Regular Budget Process

By Sean Whaley | 3:51 pm January 9th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he opposes the earmark process used to fund various projects around the country, advocating instead that state priorities for federal support go through a regular budget review.

“The problem with earmarks, when you look at them, it’s symbolic largely, because it’s not that it’s a huge part of the federal budget,” he said. “But a lot of them appear at the end with absolutely no hearings and they are in bills.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“It’s not that you shouldn’t spend federal money for specific things like that, whether it’s capital improvements or something else, but there should be some level of hearing on them,” Amodei said in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television show. “And the problem with earmarks is it has become synonymous with little or no hearing whatsoever. So you find out about them after the fact with absolutely no record in support.”

The appropriateness of earmarks generated some controversy in Northern Nevada last week when U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., toured the new air traffic control tower at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Heller in November 2010 said he would not seek earmarks for Nevada projects.

The $27 million in funding for the tower was provided with earmarks supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Heller acknowledged helping with the funding for the project as well, and the Nevada State Democrat Party criticized the freshman senator for what it said was his flip-flopping on the issue.

“It’s hypocrisy,” said Democratic Party Communications Director Zack Hudson. “It’s another example of how he’ll say anything and do anything just to get elected again.”

Heller, appointed to the Senate in May by Gov. Brian Sandoval, is facing a challenge from Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. in the 2012 general election.

Amodei was elected Sept. 13 in a special election to take Heller’s seat in the 2nd Congressional District, which covers all of Northern and rural Nevada.

In the interview, Amodei said he believes the tower would have been built without the earmark process because it was desperately needed for safety reasons.

“Because I’ve been in that tower during my first 115 days, and you look across at the old one, where you couldn’t even the ramps down there . . .,” he said. “I am certain that you could have made a very strong public case for this should rise to the top for tower improvements for FAA facilities throughout the nation. I mean, it speaks for itself, if you will.”

Amodei said he has priorities for federal spending in Nevada, but that the projects should go through the budget process and compete for funding.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says projects should go through the regular budget process:

010912Amodei1 :13 are in bills.”

Amodei says state funding requests need to go through a hearing process:

010912Amodei2 :16 record in support.”

Amodei says the Reno-Tahoe Airport tower was a project that stood on its own merits:

010912Amodei3 :20 if you will.”

 

Nevada’s GOP House Reps Disappointed At Short-Term Deal On Payroll Tax Cut, Jobless Benefit Extension

By Sean Whaley | 7:55 pm December 22nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s two Republican House representatives today said politics won out over policy on the newly announced deal for a 60-day extension on a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said: “I will apologize in advance for what people are going to be going through 60 days from now because we have resolved nothing. And I predict the discussion 60 days from now will not only mirror this one, but you will also have a large revenue package which will be a condition to approving any sort of extensions for a year or two years.

“Nothing has changed, and it’s sad,” Amodei said. “We have done nobody any favors. As many commentators have said, you’re right on the policy but you’re wrong on the politics. Hopefully there will be a day when the policy rules the roost and not the politics but that’s probably a naive thing too.”

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said he was prepared to remain in Washington to reach a long-term solution to the extensions.

Courtesy of Kmccoy via Wikimedia Commons.

“The whole time my primary concern was making sure that we had a one-year extension for the folks back home,” he said. “That was the No. 1 priority. And it seems that in typical Washington fashion that politics trumped out over doing the right thing.

“I don’t think folks back home should suffer because Washington wants to get home for the holidays,” Heck said. “I made no secret about my desire to stay and get the job done. I’ve been away from my family; I’ve been deployed over the holidays; it’s not fun. But doing the right thing isn’t always fun or easy.”

Despite his disappointment at the short-term fix, Heck said Congress worked collaboratively in approving the Defense Authorization Act, and he has confidence in the House conferees appointed to work on a more permanent solution to the tax cut and unemployment benefit extension by a Feb. 29, 2012 deadline.

Heck said that if the Senate sends over members who are willing to look at the policy reforms approved by the House in its Dec. 13 bill, “that we will be able to come to a conclusion hopefully by the end of January.”

Both Amodei and Heck are now back in Nevada for a recess that will run through mid-January.

Amodei said he is still in the process of assessing the deal announced earlier today that will lead to the House endorsement of the Senate measure to extend the tax cut and unemployment benefits. Amodei said he plans to issue a formal statement tomorrow after he is confident about the details of the deal.

The House may be able to approve the Senate legislation by a process called unanimous consent, which will not require House members to return to Washington, DC, for a formal vote.

The deal means the continuation of both a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and a 99-week unemployment benefit for two million jobless Americans.

Other comments on the deal came from President Obama and other members of Nevada’s representatives in Congress.

President Obama issued a statement that said in part: “This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who supported the 60-day extension, said: “I am pleased the House is moving forward with the Senate’s bipartisan compromise. Extending the payroll tax and unemployment insurance will benefit Nevadans greatly. Now that Congress has moved beyond this impasse, we can work on a year-long extension.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said: “I am grateful that the voices of reason have prevailed and Speaker (John) Boehner has agreed to pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise.

“Year-long extensions of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare payments for physicians has always been our goal, and Democrats will not rest until we have passed them,” he said. “But there remain important differences between the parties on how to implement these policies, and it is critical that we protect middle-class families from a tax increase while we work them out.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. said: “While its good news this massive middle class tax hike has been averted, this is one more example of why Washington doesn’t work. This should have been a no-brainer, but instead Tea Party Republicans held Nevada’s middle class families hostage to their extreme Wall Street agenda. The middle class should not be a bargaining chip for DC political games.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., says the deal resolves nothing:

122211Amodei1 :32 or two years.”

Amodei says he believes a large revenue package will be part of the next round of discussions:

122211Amodei2 :27 naive thing too.”

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., says his goal all along was a one-year deal:

122211Heck1 :15 the right thing.”

Heck says Congress should have got the job done:

122211Heck2 :14 fun or easy.”

Heck says he is hopeful the conference committee will reach a deal by the end of January:

122211Heck3 :32 month of March.”