Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Latest “Fiscal Cliff” Talks Focusing On Tax Cuts

By Sean Whaley | 3:11 pm December 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – As Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., prepared today to attend another briefing with his House Republican colleagues on the latest “fiscal cliff” negotiations, he said that he would consider tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans to reduce the deficit, but not to fund increased government spending.

“Am I willing to increase revenues to fund more government spending?” Amodei asked. “No, I’m not. The spending dynamic is out of control. Am I willing to look at revenues that will reduce the debt, not to fund more government spending? Yes I am.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

The latest offer from GOP House Speaker John Boehner made earlier today, called “Plan B,” would renew tax cuts for all but those making more than $1 million a year. The proposed was quickly rejected by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

A statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in part that President Obama “is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors.”

Reid said the proposal would not pass both houses of Congress and he called on Boehner to work on forging a large-scale deficit reduction agreement.

“It would be a shame if Republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the Tea Party, as they have time and again,” he said in a statement.

The latest counter proposal from the White House that was to be discussed at the House Republican caucus at 2 p.m. Pacific time would extend tax breaks for all but those making more than $400,000. President Obama originally proposed tax increases for those earning more than $250,000.

Boehner wants a vote on a tax cut extension by Thursday.

But Amodei said he is concerned that a vote on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, if it comes without some decisions on reducing federal spending, could mean the new revenue from the deal would not go to reduce the deficit. That is unacceptable, he said.

“So it’s not: I won’t look at any revenues,” Amodei said. “But it’s like, listen: If you’re talking revenues just to allow government spending to increase, that’s the problem. So, if you’ve got a proposal out there that increases revenues and decreases the debt, then hey, let’s look at it.”

Amodei said he remains frustrated with the discussions because they do not at this point appear to be focused on long-term solutions for reducing the debt and getting federal spending under control. Constituents and others contacting his office are, for obvious reasons, focused on the Jan.1 fiscal cliff deadline, he said.

“You show me a political winner out of any of this and I’ll show you somebody who knows nothing about the policy,” he said. “Because my frustration at the moment is, it seems like we’re talking about stuff that will not, at the end of the day, bring about any change in terms of the federal debt posture.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says he is willing to look at tax revenue increases if the money goes to reducing the deficit:

121812Amodei1 :19 Yes I am.”

Amodei says he will look at proposals that raise revenue to reduce the deficit:

121812Amodei2 :22 look at it.”

Amodei says the latest discussions do not appear to be directed at the long-term federal deficit:

121812Amodei3 :15 federal debt posture.”

 

Amodei Pessimistic, Frustrated On Fiscal Cliff Talks

By Sean Whaley | 5:07 pm December 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he is pessimistic that Congress and President Obama will be able to reach agreement on the so called “fiscal cliff” before tax hikes and mandatory budget cuts take effect Jan. 1.

Amodei, speaking by telephone from Washington, DC, said the sniping back and forth by Republicans and Democrats over extending tax cuts and cutting spending doesn’t get to the real root of how to reduce the federal deficit over the long term.

Getting the country’s economy back on track so jobs are created and consumer spending rises will do more to generate tax revenues and reduce the deficit than any level of tax hikes or spending cuts, Amodei said.

“You can talk all the revenue you want, and you can talk all the cuts you want, you need a healthy economy to get things going again,” he said. “And I don’t hear any of that. I just hear all the mud throwing on taxes and cuts.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

If the federal treasury was collecting revenue at 2007 levels, the federal deficit this year would be cut in half, Amodei said.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also said today that reaching a deal on the fiscal cliff before Christmas will be difficult.

Despite the apparent lack of progress, national news media were reporting that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner exchanged new offers on taxes and spending to avoid the cliff, which will take effect on Jan. 1 without an agreement. Without agreement, taxes on all workers will rise, and mandatory cuts in military and domestic spending will be implemented.

Amodei said the problem with raising taxes is that it won’t help to get the economy back on track.

Fixing the regulatory and tax climate to provide certainty and predictability will give businesses the confidence they need to hire more workers and reinvest, he said. Instead they are facing a tax increase because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“You look at that impact on businesses and they’re putting all their energy right now into how to convert their workforces into part-time employees,” he said.

“If I was going to go down to Virginia Street or Las Vegas Boulevard and bet on something, I’d bet on nothing happening and all this stuff kicking in on the 1st,” Amodei said.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says the key to solving the fiscal cliff challenge is getting the economy running again:

121112Amodei1 :18 taxes and cuts.”

Amodei says he does not think a deal will be made by the Jan. 1 deadline:

121112Amodei3 :10 on the 1st.”

 

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.”

 

Romney Rallies Reno Voters In Effort To Win Nevada

By Sean Whaley | 2:41 pm October 24th, 2012

RENO – Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a crowd of about 2,000 enthusiastic Northern Nevada  voters today, urging them to get to the polls and help him take the battleground state that is Nevada 13 days from now.

Romney told the crowd that President Obama is out of ideas, out of excuses and will be out of office come Nov. 6.

The president, “doesn’t understand what it takes to get this economy going, he doesn’t have a plan to get jobs for Americans, I do and that’s why I’m going to win,” he said.

Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a Reno crowd today. / Nevada News Bureau.

He promised to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act, which he referred to as Obamacare, and stop the raid of Medicare funds to pay for it.

Romney said that if Obama is reelected, the national debt will grow from $16 trillion to $20 trillion by the end of his second term.

“I will get America to finally be on track to a balanced budget,” he said.

In his second Nevada visit in as many days, Romney held the rally at the Reno Events Center downtown in a county viewed by many political observers as holding the key to a GOP victory on Nov. 6. He spoke for about 20 minutes.

In a display of just how critical both parties view the state with its six electoral votes, Obama is scheduled to make yet another Nevada appearance later today in Las Vegas.

Nevada voter registration leans Democratic, with 41.9 percent active registered voters to 34.7 percent for Republicans, with another 17.4 percent nonpartisans. Early voting, which began Saturday and runs through Nov. 2, has also favored Democrats so far, with 81,694 votes cast by Democrats through Oct. 23 compared to 62,031 cast by Republicans and 28,981 cast by nonpartisans.

In his remarks, Romney said the election isn’t just about big national issues, but about America’s families and whether they will be able to find jobs and have the ability to choose the school their children attend.

“And I understand what it’s going to take to get this country strong again and provide the answers that your families need,” he said. “Because this is an election about two very different pathways for America. The one represented by the president is in fact one with $20 trillion in debt. He started with $10 trillion, he’s up to $16 (trillion) on his way to $20 (trillion). I’ll balance the budget instead.”

Romney said his five step plan to get the country’s economy working again includes more development of oil, coal, gas and renewable energy, expanding foreign trade, providing training for job seekers, working toward a balanced federal budget and championing small business.

“I want to get small business going again and that means I want to keep taxes down on small business; I want to get regulators to see their job is encouraging small business, not crushing it,” he said. “I’ll make small business the centerpiece of our economic recovery.”

Romney asked the crowd to each find a voter who supported Obama in 2008 and get them to vote for his campaign in 2012 and help “take America in a new direction.”

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Audio clips:

Gov. Romney says voters have two clear paths on election day:

102412Romney1 :19 the budget instead.”

Romney says he will make small business the centerpiece of an economic recovery:

102412Romney2 :14 our economic recovery.”

 

Sen. Reid Defends Obama Record, Criticizes Tea Party, Romney, In Convention Remarks

By Sean Whaley | 5:22 pm September 4th, 2012

CARSON CITY – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today defended President Obama’s record of accomplishments in his first term, citing his preservation of the nation’s auto industry, the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a threat to America and his push to regulate the banking industry as examples of why he deserves a second term in office.

Reid, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Obama “a man who has brought courage and character to the presidency.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“President Obama’s strength of character leads him to do the right thing even when it isn’t the easy thing,” he said.

Reid also attacked the conservative Tea Party element in the Republican Party, saying it must be stopped “before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.”

In his brief remarks, Reid also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying never in modern American history “has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve.”

Reid has been leveling criticisms at Romney for the past several weeks for failing to release more of his tax returns for public scrutiny.

But there has been some blow back for his focus on Romney’s tax returns. Reid was criticized for claiming to have information from a source that Romney paid no taxes at all for 10 years, but he did not make that claim in his convention remarks.

“When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one,” Reid said. “We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families.­ We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine  what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people  a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.”

Reid said the American public should not take Romney’s word that he paid his fair share of taxes.

“His word? His word?” Reid asked. “Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both.”

Reid did not mention Nevada’s highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate or its high foreclosure rate in his defense of Obama.

Reid said he is ready to tackle the challenges faced by Americans in the coming four years.

“But I want to do that work with Barack Obama, and not a Tea Party ideologue,” he said.

There was some bad timing as the Democratic Convention kicked into full gear, however, with the news from the U.S. Treasury that the national debt exceeded $16 trillion for the first time in history. The debt has increased approximately $5.4 trillion since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009.

The news prompted a comment from Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who said: “Today’s ominous milestone is yet another reminder of the dire fiscal straits our country is facing and the need for serious solutions to getting our deficits under control and reducing the debt.

“After running on a promise to cut the deficit in half and reduce our debt in his first term in office, President Obama has added trillions to the debt by pursuing failed stimulus policies and has left the American people and future generations holding the tab,” he said. “Not only has this administration broken these promises to the American people, it has ignored the seriousness of the situation by repeatedly proposing budgets with deficits of more than $1 trillion.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Harry Reid says the Tea Party is a group of extremists that doesn’t know how to compromise:

090412Reid1 :15 standing on it.”

Reid says Mitt Romney should disclose more tax returns:

090412Reid2 :14 short on both.”

Gov. Sandoval Emphasizes American Dream, Humble Beginnings In GOP Convention Remarks

By Sean Whaley | 6:14 pm August 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval had his moment in the national spotlight today at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, using his six minutes at the podium to talk of his humble beginnings and the need for change in the White House.

He emphasized his Hispanic roots, noting that his father was one of 10 children, and his mother lived with her family in a tiny two-bedroom house in the Southwest.

Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“When I was a boy, my parents brought us to Nevada in search of opportunity,” he said. “My first job was cleaning sheep pens. In college, I worked in a hospital cafeteria. I worked my way through law school.”

Sandoval said he dreamed of public service, becoming a state lawmaker, attorney general, gaming regulator and federal judge.

While serving as a federal judge, Sandoval said he saw Nevada’s economy falter due to the failed policies of the Obama Administration, and decided to run for governor.

Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent in July, and has been among the states with the highest foreclosure rate.

“Make no mistake: The current administration’s failed experiment with big government gets in the way of economic recovery,” he said. “Their love affair with government regulation is a drag on business confidence.

“From personal experience, I can tell you what will help states like Nevada and families like mine: Elect the team that understands how to get America working again. Send Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the White House!”

Sandoval criticized the Obama Administration for telling Americans that government is the answer, when “we know it’s the problem.”

“They tell us we didn’t build our businesses, but somebody else made it happen,” he said. “They tell us not to dream, but to settle. You and I know America is better than that.”

Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange said in a statement in response to Sandoval’s remarks: “Governor Sandoval has already made clear how out-of-touch Mitt Romney is on the economy after he waited until all other options were exhausted to endorse the Republican nominee.

“But now that he finally has, he has developed a case of political amnesia regarding his previous statements applauding President Obama’s efforts at creating jobs in Nevada and criticizing Mitt Romney for being out of touch on the state’s foreclosure crisis,” she said. “The reality is that after outsourcing jobs as a corporate layoff specialist, outsourcing jobs as governor of Massachusetts and pledging to outsource jobs as President, Mitt Romney is just wrong for Nevada’s middle-class.”

Sandoval, who early on endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary, was mentioned frequently by media pundits as a possible vice presidential pick by Romney. Sandoval repeatedly said he was not interested in the position, and that he would serve out his term as governor and run for a second term in 2014.

Sandoval is focusing on economic diversification and job growth as governor, announcing earlier this year a goal of creating 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014. Nevada recently was successful in bringing Apple to Northern Nevada with a package of tax breaks.

He has presented a position of calm and consistency in Nevada as the Nevada State Republican Party has struggled to find a united front. Earlier today, many Nevada convention delegates continued to support Ron Paul despite Romney’s overwhelming delegate count that has made him the Republican nominee.

Obama Talks About Commitment To Education, Keeping America Competitive, In Reno Campaign Stop

By Sean Whaley | 7:26 pm August 21st, 2012

RENOPresident Obama talked about his ongoing commitment to education in a visit to this battleground state today, his first official campaign event of the year in Northern Nevada but his third visit to the area in just the past few months.

Obama’s campaign stop, to be followed by another event tomorrow in Las Vegas, comes to the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent.

President Obama speaks in Reno today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

“You’re education is not just important to you, it’s important to America’s success,” he told a cheering crowd of 1,000 supporters in the student union at the Truckee Meadows Community College. “When we invest in your future we’re investing in America’s future. The fact is that, countries that out-educate us today they’ll out-compete us tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose that race to make sure we’ve got the most highly educated, most skilled workforce in the world.

“When companies and businesses are looking to locate, that’s what they’re looking for,” Obama said. “And I don’t want them looking any farther than Reno, Nevada, the state of Nevada, the United States of America; we’ve got the best workers in the world and I want to keep it that way.”

A college official estimated total attendance at the rally, including those outside, at 2,100.

Obama also pushed his plan to maintain the Bush tax cuts for most Americans, but not for individuals making $200,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more, and criticized presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for seeking tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest citizens.

Obama said that since he took office, his administration has helped over three million more students afford a college education.

“Now, unfortunately, the economic plan of Gov. Romney could cut our investments in education by about 20 percent,” he said.

The cuts are proposed not to balance the budget but to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, Obama said.

“Does that sound like a plan for a better future for you?” he asked. “It’s a plan that says we can’t afford to help the next generation, but we can afford massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”

In response to Obama’s remarks here and in Ohio, the Republican National Committee said research shows that during his administration, the cost of college “is skyrocketing to an all time high.”

Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds has increased from 12.4 percent to 13.5 percent, the RNC said.

“Despite President Obama’s speech tonight in Reno, it’s more clear than ever that his failed policies have seen college costs soar and job opportunities dwindle for young graduates,” the RNC said.

Obama handily won Nevada in the 2008 presidential race, but saw Democrats lose ground in Nevada and nationally in the 2010 mid-term elections. Polls put the state as a tossup between the two candidates, and Washoe County is viewed by many local political observers as the region where the race will be played out in November.

In his concluding remarks, Obama said he is counting on students like those at Truckee Meadows to not get discouraged and to work to help Democrats win Nevada in November.

“First of all, you’ve got no excuses not to register to vote,” he said.

If volunteers knock on doors and make phone calls just like in 2008, Democrats will win Washoe County, Nevada and another four years, Obama said.

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Audio clips:

President Obama says education is not just important to students, but to America’s success as well:

082112Obama1 :26 in the world.”

Obama says America has the best workers in the world and he wants to keep it that way:

082112Obama2 :16 it that way.”

Obama says Mitt Romney wants to cut college spending to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy:

082112Obama3 :12 your tax loophole.”

 

Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Jumps In July Even As Jobs Are Added

By Sean Whaley | 11:08 am August 17th, 2012

CARSON CITY – After hitting a three-year low in May and June, Nevada’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped four-tenths of a percentage point in July to 12 percent, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reported today.

The continued high jobless rate, tops in the nation for yet another month, will be front and center when President Obama visits the state again next week, with stops in both Reno and Las Vegas.

Nevada is a battleground state in the 2012 presidential race.

The July rate is still down compared to July 2011, and remains 2 percentage points below the recessionary peak of 14 percent hit in October 2010, said DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson. The 12 percent rate of joblessness equates to 163,700 people out of work in the state.

And even though the jobless rate rose, Nevada saw job growth from June to July when 2,100 jobs were added, he said.

Employment has increased on a year-over-year basis in each of the past 13 months, and in 18 of the past 19 months, Anderson said.

“I think you have to put today’s report in a broader context,” he said. “Nationwide we saw 44 states with an increase in the unemployment rate from June to July. At the same time, about 31 states had job increases. So it was kind of a good news, bad news kind of a report, pretty much across the majority of states.

“I try not to put too much emphasis on one month’s report,” Anderson said. “So looking forward, I continue to think that we’ll see moderate improvement in the state’s economy and in our labor market. So nothing to write home about but certainly much better than where we were just a couple of short years ago.”

While not directly comparable to the state’s seasonally adjusted figure, the Las Vegas metro area has the highest unemployment rate amongst the state’s three population centers, at 12.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, in July.

Courtesy of Newmont Mining Corp.

In Carson City, the July unemployment rate stood at 12.2 percent. The Reno-Sparks area tallied a 12 percent rate, Anderson said.

At the county-level, the state’s rural regions where mining activity is occurring continue to have the lowest jobless rates. Lander County, with a rate of 5.7 percent in July, leads the way. Esmeralda is next lowest, at 6.5 percent, followed by Elko County’s 6.7 percent.

The highest unemployment rates continue to be found in the “bedroom communities” of Nye (15.5 percent) and Lyon (15.3 percent) counties.

Over the past 12 months, the Nevada economy has added 10,300 jobs, with 12,600 new positions in private establishments being partially offset by losses in the public sector. The leisure and hospitality sector continues to be the driving force behind Nevada’s job growth, providing 5,100 new jobs over the year and 1,200 over the month.

“I am pleased that job growth continued for a 13th consecutive month, but against the backdrop of a weak national economy not all the news was good,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “As part of Nevada’s slow recovery, our state experienced a slight uptick in unemployment in July, as occurred in the country as a whole. This news is further evidence that we must continue business development efforts to attract new companies and support the expansion of existing companies to get more Nevadans back to work.”

A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed slight but continued improvement through the second quarter of 2012, according to a report released at the end of July.

Called the U-6 rate, it declined in Nevada from 22.3 percent in the four quarters through March 31 to 22.1 percent in the 12 months ending June 30, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Audio clips:

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson says despite the uptick in the jobless rate, Nevada like many other states saw job growth from June to July:

081712Anderson1 :25 majority of states.”

Anderson says he still expects to see slow improvement in the Nevada economy and labor market:

081712Anderson2 :22 short years ago.”

 

 

Florida Sen. Rubio Rallies Support For Heller’s Election Bid, Berkley Continues Attack On GOP Plan For Medicare

By Sean Whaley | 5:58 pm August 16th, 2012

RENO – GOP Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, at one time a resident of Las Vegas, rallied supporters for Sen. Dean Heller’s election bid today at an area nightclub.

Rubio, who earlier in the day held a rally with Heller in Las Vegas, toured a local business, the Great Basin Brewing Company, before arriving at Mambo’s next to the Atlantis hotel-casino.

Several hundred supporters turned out for the Reno event.

Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio campaigns for Sen. Dean Heller in Reno today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

In brief remarks, Rubio talked about growing up in Las Vegas, and how the hotel-casino jobs held by his parents helped the family live the “American dream.” Rubio spent seven years in Las Vegas and attended elementary school there.

His dad was a bartender and his mom was a maid, and they had jobs because someone with money built a hotel in Las Vegas, he said.

“And every two weeks my parents cashed a paycheck,” Rubio said. “They were never rich, but they lived the American dream, because they were able to give us the chance to do all the things they never had a chance to do. Because all the doors that had been closed for them, opened for us.”

Rubio said President Obama’s ideas of big government are the same that have “kept people in poverty for centuries.”

“What’s at stake here really is the majority in the United States Senate,” he told the crowd in remarks that lasted about 10 minutes. “You want to repeal Obamacare? Then you better have a Republican majority in the Unites State Senate. You want to have a tax code that encourages people to create jobs in America? Then you better have a Republican majority in the United States Senate. And we can’t have a Republican majority in the United States Senate if Dean Heller is not reelected to the United States Senate.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that in addition to the Las Vegas rally, Heller and Rubio met with Sheldon Adelson and held a fundraising event that brought in close to $200,000.

Heller’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., was in Northern Nevada today as well, continuing a tour of the state to criticize what she called “the Heller-Ryan-Romney plan to end Medicare as we know it.”

Berkley held events in both Carson City and Fallon.

Heller said he was “proud” to be the only member of Congress to be able to vote twice for the plan to turn Medicare over to “profit-hungry private insurance companies,” Berkley said in a statement.

“Their plan would put insurance company bureaucrats between patients and their doctors while raising premiums by $6,000 a year,” she said. “Nevadans cannot afford the Heller-Ryan-Romney plan to undermine the benefits they are depending on to be there when they retire. I’ll continue to fight each and every day to ensure Medicare’s guaranteed benefits are there for Nevadans for generations to come.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Marco Rubio says if Nevadans want to repeal Obamacare and create jobs, they need to elect Dean Heller to the Senate:

081612Rubio1 :21 United States Senate.”

Rubio says his parents lived the American dream while working in Las Vegas:

081612Rubio2 :24 opened for us.”

AARP Poll Of Nevadans Aged 50+ Shows Election Concerns Include Medicare, Social Security, Not Just Jobs, Economy

By Sean Whaley | 11:48 am August 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – It’s not just jobs and the economy but the future of Social Security and Medicare that concerns Nevadans aged 50 and older in this 2012 presidential election year, according to a new poll commissioned by the AARP and released today.

The survey includes responses from Nevadans aged 50 and older, as well as results for a subgroup of those aged 50 to 64 who are still working.

Working baby boomer voters in Nevada are pessimistic about retirement, the poll results show. Of this group, 67 percent believe they will have to delay retirement and 32 percent are not confident they will ever be able to retire. Sixty-eight percent of working boomers believe the recent economic downturn will force them to rely more on Social Security and Medicare.

A large majority of Nevada voters age 50 and older want the candidates to better explain their plans for Social Security and Medicare to help them decide who they will support in November, the poll results show.

“While concerns about access to living wage jobs in a struggling economy is certainly important to most Nevadans, voters age 50-plus are most concerned about reforming/strengthening Social Security, reducing the budget deficit and reforming/strengthening Medicare,” said Maria Dent, AARP Nevada spokeswoman. “Any meaningful discussion of the economy during this year’s election has to include real plans about the future of Social Security and Medicare. For older voters, ‘retirement security’ and ‘economic security’ is largely the same thing.”

AARP commissioned Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group to conduct a series of surveys of registered voters aged 18 and over, which were conducted by telephone July 10 to16. The national survey included 1,852 registered voters.

The survey also focused on Nevada, where 408 voters aged 50 and older were polled. The Nevada results have a margin of error of plus/minus 4.9 percentage points.

Nevada is one of several battleground states expected to play a major role in the presidential race.

The surveys looked at five other battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as African Americans and Hispanics aged 50 and older.

The poll results show Nevada voters aged 50 and over are tied in their preference for president, with 46 percent each for President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney and 8 percent not sure.

In the Nevada Senate race between Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., Heller has a slight edge of 33 percent to 31 percent with 13 percent leaning to Heller, 11 percent leaning to Berkley and 12 percent not sure.

The results also show 51 percent of those surveyed disapproved of President Obama’s job performance, with 43 percent in support and 6 percent not sure. The job approval rating was much lower for Congress, with 84 percent disapproving, 8 percent approving and 8 percent not sure.

The concerns of Nevada voters 50 and older highlight the importance of Social Security and Medicare as election issues. They think the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security (94 percent) and Medicare (93 percent). They also overwhelmingly (93 percent) think that these issues are too big for either party to fix alone and require Republicans and Democrats to come together.

Voters 50+ in Nevada are looking to the candidates for more information on these key issues.  These voters think the candidates have not done a good job of explaining their plans on Social Security (74 percent) and Medicare (66 percent).

“The message from voters 50+ is clear,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, state and national group. “In a razor-tight election, candidates have a major opportunity to reach key voters by speaking about their plans on Social Security and Medicare – and they are making a huge gamble if they ignore them.”

Earlier this year, AARP launched You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation to ensure that Americans have a say in the future of Social Security and Medicare. To date, more than 2.1 million Americans have engaged with You’ve Earned a Say to share their thoughts about how best to protect and strengthen health and retirement security for today’s seniors and future generations.

In Nevada, the You’ve Earned a Say road tour kicked off at Lake Tahoe’s Hot August Nights the first weekend of August. AARP Nevada will also be hosting events and thought leader forums in northern Nevada during a three-day tour of northern Nevada – stopping in Reno, Carson, Fernley, Fallon and Silver Springs. A tour of southern Nevada is being planned for October.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.

Clean Energy Summit Sparks Political Events, Debate Over Government Role In Renewables

By Sean Whaley | 2:10 am August 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – With U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s 5th annual National Clean Energy Summit set to kick off today in Las Vegas, the debate over alternative energy development and the government’s role in its future rages on.

The purpose of the day-long event as described on the website is to, “once again bring together clean energy visionaries and leaders, public officials, business executives and entrepreneurs, investors, students, and the media to discuss how to empower the public with tools to promote the clean energy economy; increasing jobs and our energy independence.”

But the role of the federal government in the development of alternative energy has become a major political topic in this presidential election year, with critics pointing to the  closure in July of the solar manufacturing company Amonix in North Las Vegas 14 months after opening.

The company had been awarded $6 million in solar manufacturing tax credits to build the facility, but the company said the credits were never used. The closing was used to criticize President Obama and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is locked in a tough Senate race with Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. But Politico noted in an article that the Bush Administration first backed the Amonix project in 2007.

Federal funding of Nevada renewable projects called into question

The Nevada Policy Research Institute, in an article published today in the Nevada Journal, examined the state’s renewable energy sector and found that over $1.3 billion in federal funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield just 288 permanent, full-time jobs.

“That’s an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job,” writes Kyle Gillis, a reporter for the NPRI publication. “Despite this, Sen. Reid continues to hype Nevada as the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,’ even though the renewable energy subsidized with federal dollars and mandated under Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard costs consumers and NV Energy, Nevada’s publicly regulated utility company, up to four times as much as fossil fuels, such as natural gas.”

Gillis said the few clean-energy jobs in the state of Nevada are still precarious even with government support, pointing to Nevada Geothermal Power, a federally subsidized green-energy firm in Nevada. Auditors are raising questions about whether that firm is going to fail, he said.

As of last October, Nevada Geothermal Power had 22 employees in Nevada, and, according to the New York Times, had received $145 million in federal subsidies – composed of a loan guarantee of nearly $79 million for its Blue Mountain geothermal project and at least $66 million in grants to the company itself.

The Times called the company a “politically connected clean energy start-up that has relied heavily on an Obama administration loan guarantee,” and said it “… is now facing financial turmoil.”

Sen. Reid’s position in support of alternative energy and federal assistance is unwavering

Reid says on his Senate website: “Our country is too dependent on oil and fossil fuels, which pollute our air, place our economy and national security at risk, and contribute to climate change.”

He points to the funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for helping Nevada become the nation’s renewable energy leader.

“Through the Recovery Act, Nevada has received over $550 million for a range of energy efficiency, renewable, and weatherization projects as well as hundreds of millions in low-cost financing for transmission and renewable energy deployment projects,” Reid said.

New federally-backed Nevada alternative energy project announced

On Monday Reid was joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and Nevada Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler to announce a major renewable energy project in Northern Nevada.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced the $105 million loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC to finance development of a facility to convert municipal solid waste into advanced biofuels. The project is expected to help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, relieve pressure on existing and future landfills, and stimulate economic growth in Northern Nevada through job creation.

The Nevada plant is expected to create an estimated 430 jobs during construction and 53 permanent jobs in Storey County, 20 miles east of Reno. Once operational, the plant is expected to convert 147,000 tons of processed municipal solid waste into over 10 million gallons of advanced biofuels annually using a two-part thermo-chemical process.

“The time is now to embrace alternative American-produced feedstocks that support our nation’s energy independence, provide jobs in rural areas, and support the Obama Administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” Vilsack said. “At USDA we are focused on the production of renewable energy from a wide variety of non-food sources, including waste, algae, wood, and switchgrass as a long-term solution to America’s energy needs.”

Alternative energy debate also focuses on oil company tax breaks and Nevada Senate race

The politics of energy development prompted another event Monday, this one aimed at Heller and his history of supporting tax breaks for oil companies.

Sponsored by ProgressNow Nevada, activists gathered near Heller’s Las Vegas office to bring attention to his record on the issue.

Heller in March shifted his position to some extent by urging Congress to close some oil company tax loopholes to help reduce the price of gasoline. He did so in an amendment to S. 2204 called the Gas Price Relief Act. It would, in part, close oil and gas tax loopholes for the major integrated oil companies and provide a permanent reduction in the gas tax.

Berkley has been using Heller’s past votes to maintain the tax subsidies as a campaign issue in the Senate race. An ad running now in northern Nevada, paid for by the League of Conservation Voters, points out that Heller voted “nine times” for Big Oil tax breaks.

The Heller campaign called the ad “payback” to Berkley for supporting the league in voting against a bill to transfer BLM land to Lyon County.

“This ad is a tired, over the top attack,” said Chandler Smith, Heller for Senate spokeswoman, in a statement last month. “Dean Heller actually proposed a bill that would end tax loopholes for big oil companies. Shelley Berkley, on the other hand, voted for a national energy tax that would raise prices at the pump and is personally invested in big oil companies.”

Electricity from coal also part of the discussion

Today, a coalition of health advocates, environmentalists, and members of the Moapa Band of Paiutes is set to rally outside the conference to call on NV Energy to transition from coal fired power plants to clean energy.

The coalition also plans to call attention to NV Energy’s Reid Gardner coal plant operating 50 miles from Las Vegas and next to the Moapa Band of Paiutes reservation. The groups allege that air pollution from the coal plant results in $28 million in public health costs every year.

The Moapa Band of Paiutes wants the coal plant shut down.

NV Energy officials say even though the plant was built in the 1960s, “it has undergone extensive technology improvements and is among the cleanest coal-burning facilities in the nation.”

Southern Nevada Veterans Medical Center Dedicated As Candidates Vie For Support From Important Constituency

By Sean Whaley | 4:57 pm August 6th, 2012

Nevada political leaders, veterans and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki gathered in North Las Vegas today to dedicate the new Southern Nevada VA Medical Center.

The state-of-the-art complex includes a full-service VA hospital, outpatient clinic and long-term care facility and will serve the needs of Nevada veterans and their families.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., locked in a tough Senate race, both attended the ceremonies, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Berkley helped secure authorization for the $600 million in funding needed to complete the trio of new facilities. She also wrote and helped pass the legislation that provided the land for the new medical center at no cost to the VA.

Rep. Shelley Berkley - D-Nev.

“Our veterans earned their benefits through their military service to our nation and this new VA medical center will provide these brave men and women the high-quality care they deserve – including vital mental health services,” Berkley said in a statement. “After working for years to turn this dream into a reality for our Nevada veterans, I’m so proud of what’s been accomplished in the construction of this new complex and what it means for our community and the vets who will receive medical care and other services at our new state-of-the-art VA medical center.”

Heller said in remarks at the dedication: “I’ve personally toured this hospital as it has been built and I’m proud to tell you that Nevada is now home to the finest VA hospital in the nation.”

“This hospital will improve the quality of healthcare for thousands of veterans from the region,” he said. “This facility includes a surgical center, nursing home and extended care unit, and space to care for veterans who suffer with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and with other mental health issues. These state-of-the-art facilities are designed to meet the needs of virtually every health and wellness issue our veterans could face.”

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

Heller said the facility will let Nevada veterans get care at home rather than have to travel out of state.

Shinseki said the hospital keeps a promise made by the VA with the 164,000 veterans who live in Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties, all 234,000 veterans who live in Nevada as well as those from surrounding states who will be able to get care at the facility.

“The Las Vegas VAMC underscores VA’s commitment to provide the best care anywhere to America’s veterans, particularly in the critical area of mental health,” said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “The opening of this world-class facility is another milestone, and ensures VA provides the care and services our veterans have earned through their service.”

The facility will have 90 inpatient beds, a 120-bed community living center (skilled nursing home care facility), and an ambulatory care center. The 90 inpatient beds include a state-of-the-art 22-bed mental health unit, 48 medical/surgical beds, and 20 intensive care unit beds.

Candidates at both the national and state levels are reaching out to veterans as the November general election approaches.

Both President Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno last month. Vice President Joe Biden also spoke at the Disabled American Veterans’ national convention in Las Vegas over the weekend.

Heller said he has a long record of support for veterans, and his campaign recently announced his Veterans for Heller Coalition, made up of more than 140 veterans, including Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, a Democrat; Major General Drennan “Tony” Clark, a former adjutant general for Nevada and a former Republican for Reid in his 2010 Senate race; Kirk Lippold, commander of the USS Cole when it was attacked in Yemen in 2000; and Major General L.D. Johnston, a former commander at Nellis Air Force Base.

“I’m humbled by the support of so many of our nation’s heroes,” Heller said. “We can never repay these individuals for their service, but it is Congress’ responsibility to make sure those who have served in the Armed Forces receive the benefits they earned and deserve.”

Heller recently introduced the Veterans Small Business Protection Act, which ensures that surviving spouses and children are eligible for small business benefits.

Heller also introduced the Women’s Homeless Veterans Act, requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to set aside 15 percent of funds provided to VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program for homeless veterans with special needs. It also directs assistance to homeless female veterans as well as children.

Berkley said she has worked for veterans throughout her career.

The Berkley campaign also criticized Heller in June when the Women’s Homeless Veterans Act had a hearing, saying that Heller “tried to fool Nevada’s veterans into believing he is a champion for their issues even though last year he voted to gut $75 million from a homeless veterans program, which would have eliminated housing vouchers for some 11,000 veterans across the country.”

“Given Senator Heller’s track record of  putting Wall Street first and gutting assistance for homeless veterans, Nevadans are not going to be fooled by this election year attempt to mask his wrong priorities,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, Shelley Berkley for U.S. Senate Communications Director. “Nevada’s veterans are counting on someone like Shelley Berkley who wakes up every morning itching to stand up and fight to protect the benefits they earned after risking their lives for this nation.”

Sen. Harry Reid Calls Appeals Court Decision On Yucca Mountain ‘A Good Day For Nevada’

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 10:50 am August 3rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – A decision today by a federal appeals court to temporarily decline to require the restart the licensing process at Yucca Mountain was calleda good day for Nevada and the entire country,” by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has held in abeyance the case challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) termination of Yucca Mountain licensing proceedings.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Reid said the court has temporarily declined to grant petitioners’ request that the court direct the NRC to act on the Bush Administration-era license application to build a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The Obama Administration has terminated the Yucca Mountain Project, requested permission to withdraw the license application from the NRC, and is working to develop and implement a better consent-based nuclear waste policy, he said in a statement.

“The court has declined to compel the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue licensing work on Yucca Mountain against the will of Congress and the Administration,” Reid said.

“The Nuclear Waste Policy Act has been a miserable failure because 25 years ago Congress chose to undermine the spirit of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and allowed our government to engage in the brutalization of science,” he said. “That is how we got Yucca Mountain.

“Today, President Obama, his Administration and key members of Congress from both parties are working hard to develop a nuclear waste management policy firmly grounded in the principal that before pursuing a nuclear waste storage site, the government must obtain the express consent and agreement of the local community, the governor, and any affected Indian tribe,” Reid said.

“I am confident that in the coming months and years, we will craft a nuclear waste policy that keeps Americans safe and secure and restores trust that the government will not turn a deaf ear to the communities asked to undertake the burden of storing the nuclear energy industry’s toxic waste.”

Nevada Among States With Lowest Energy Consumption Per Capita, Gets C+ For Renewable Energy Efforts

By Sean Whaley | 1:17 pm July 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada ranks 40th among the states for the amount of energy consumed per person, according to the nonprofit website EnergyTrends.org.

The state rankings were released on Wednesday and show Nevadans consumed 239 million Btu per capita in 2010 compared to 303 Btu per capita in 2007.

First among the states in energy consumption was Wyoming, followed by Alaska and Louisiana. Rhode Island ranked 50th.

Photo by Tom Harpel via Wikimedia Commons.

The website, created by the Lexington Institute, has also graded the states on renewable energy efforts. Nevada received a C+ in the analysis, which was 11th best. Three states, California, Massachusetts and Colorado, received B grades, the highest awarded in the review.

Nevada ranked 17th in net renewable energy generation in 2010 with 4.444 gigawatt hours (GWh). The growth in renewable energy generation was up 35 percent from 2007 to 2010.

Nevada’s renewable portfolio standards require 25 percent of the state’s electricity to be supplied by renewable resources by 2025.

“It is our hope that the information on EnergyTrends.org will be useful for everyone from schools to elected officials to keep track of their state’s critical energy consumption and generation patterns,” said Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute.

Soifer said the research is based on 2010 energy data which was recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is the most recent data available. The website tracks vital indicators for energy and electricity use, as well as which fuels (like coal, natural gas or renewables) are used to generate electricity, and ranks states in each category. It also analyzes data from recent years, providing easy-to-read indicators to show overall trends.

Renewable energy, and tax incentives to support its development, has become a major political topic in Nevada and around the nation this presidential election year.

Earlier this month, the solar manufacturing company Amonix closed its manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas 14 months after opening.

President Obama in July 2010 praised the solar manufacturing tax credits that generated $6 million to help build the facility, which was under construction at the time. Obama’s support of the facility was recently used as fodder for criticism by the Mitt Romney campaign. But a news article in Politico noted that the Bush Administration first backed the project in 2007.

The company also issued a statement saying it never utilized the tax credit for the Las Vegas facility.

“The only federal incentive Amonix received for the North Las Vegas facility was a $5.9 million federal manufacturing incentive tax credit that was never utilized,” the statement said. “Tax credits can only be used to offset taxable income, and Amonix has not realized taxable income to utilize the tax credits. Thus, those tax credits have not been claimed and have had no cost to U.S. taxpayers.”

It also became a campaign issue in the Nevada Senate race between U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas. Heller called the closing proof of the failure of federal stimulus spending supported by Berkley. Berkley in turn criticized Heller for failing to show any concern for the Nevadans who lost their jobs because of the closing.

State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, a candidate for the 4th Congressional District, defended the use of clean energy incentives in an interview last week on the Face to Face television program.

“This sector of renewable energy should not be based on the success or failure of one company alone,” he said. “There was tremendous subsidies for traditional energy, coal and other energy sources, for decades so it isn’t like this is some new thing, that the government helps subsidize a growing and emerging industry.”

But a recent report has questioned the value of tax incentives and regulations approved by many states around the country, including Nevada, to create “green jobs,” noting that subsidies used for such programs can take away revenue for other needs such as public education.

Nevada was identified as having seven separate financial incentives for green jobs, three of which are property tax exemptions in the report.

“States face a hard and fast budget constraint; they cannot deficit spend or take on debt for general operating expenses,” said Bryan Leonard of State Budget Solutions in his report, “Green Jobs Don’t Grow on Trees.”

“This means that every dollar spent by states on green job training programs, grants to green firms, or subsidies for renewable energy producers is a dollar that cannot be spent on teachers’ salaries, educational tools, or social safety nets,” he said.

Soifer said the Lexington Institute supports renewable energy, “but realizes that if renewables are really going to take hold in the United States, and particularly solar and wind are the two that everybody talks about most, they are going to need to stand on their own without having to depend on government subsidy.”

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Audio clips:

Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute, says Nevada ranked 11th best for its renewable energy efforts:

072612Soifer1 :28 the whole country.”

Soifer says the Lexington Institute supports renewables but that they will need to stand on their own:

072612Soifer2 :25 the United States.”

 

Presidential Race Gets Local Focus As Obama, Romney Supporters Weigh In On Jobs, Deficit

By Sean Whaley | 2:50 pm May 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – While Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were campaigning elsewhere today, Nevada Democrats and Republicans took up the battle for the presidency on their behalf.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., held a telephone conference call to talk up Romney’s credentials as a “turnaround specialist” who will get the country back on track. He also criticized Obama for failing to get spending or the national deficit under control as he promised early on in his presidency.

Mitt Romney speaks at a rally in Reno in February. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Nevada labor officials, meanwhile, attacked Romney’s business practices while with Bain Capital, a private equity firm he headed that has been criticized for cutting jobs.

As the Las Vegas Sun reported today, between 2000 and 2002, Stage Stores, a clothing chain, shut down three stores in rural Nevada as part of a bankruptcy. The stores’ closures came after Bain Capital had sold off its interest in the company in 1999.

Romney’s time at Bain Capital and his jobs record is the subject of a new ad by the Obama campaign.

In a Reno press conference featuring Todd Koch, president of the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council, Romney’s economic philosophy was defined as: “CEOs and wealthy investors prosper by any means necessary – even when it means companies fail and workers get left behind.”

“No one here today is challenging Romney’s right to run his business as he saw fit,” Koch said. “However, this is about whether the lessons and values Romney drew from his time as a buyout specialist are the right lessons and values we want in our president. In deal after deal, Romney and his partners’ first priority was to make a personal profit regardless of the cost to others.”

Paul McKenzie, secretary treasurer of the Northern Nevada Building Trades Association, said: “The bottom line here is that Stage Store’s workers really lost out, and Romney and his partners did not. This was the quintessential case of two different sets of rules, and that’s not the kind of economy we want. Romney economics aren’t a prescription for a stronger economy and they aren’t a prescription for a stronger country.”

In his remarks, Heck said Obama’s recent comments on same sex marriage are an example of a campaign effort to avoid the real issue, which is the national debt.

“Unfortunately President Obama has no rationale to offer for his own reelection, and no record of achievement to run on in the area of debt and deficit. All he has is a record of broken promises,” Heck said. “As Mitt Romney said it’s still the economy, and we are not stupid.

“You probably remember that when he first was elected he pledged to cut the deficit in half, stating that if he was unsuccessful that this would be a one-term proposition,” Heck said. “Well instead, we’re on track to have the fourth, greater than a trillion dollar deficit this year, all under this president’s administration.”

Obama was actually referencing the economy when he made the one-term proposition comment in February 2009. But he also promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

President Obama in Reno on Friday. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Heck said Romney’s record of accomplishments in business, creating a successful Salt Lake City Olympics and cutting spending as the governor of Massachusetts makes him one of the most qualified candidates for president in modern history.

“This country needs a turnaround specialist, and Mitt Romney’s career has been about taking things that are failing, and turning them around, and making them successful,” he said.

Romney will simplify the tax code and cut corporate tax rates to bring business and manufacturing back to the U.S., Heck said.

In response to a question, Heck addressed Romney’s time at Bain Capital and the fact that there were some job losses.

“There will be some pain and suffering in trying to turn around the economy,” he said. “And while there may have been some jobs lost during some of those reorganizations of companies that Gov. Romney brought back from the brink, the ultimate end point was that there was a creation of more jobs than jobs actually lost,” he said. “Now those jobs may have been in a different area, and certainly that is no consolation to the person who lost the job in their home town if the job was created somewhere else.”

But he pointed to Romney’s successes with the retailers Staples and Sports Authority.

Nevada lost more than 70,000 construction jobs in the current downturn, and many of those workers have left the state and are not likely to return, Heck said.

“And that’s part of the process in trying to turn around the economy,” he said. “And I think that is what we’re going to see nationally as we try to stimulate our economy and go back to a pro-job growth economic outlook.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Joe Heck says Obama has failed to address the federal deficit:

051512Heck1 :24 are not stupid.”

Heck says Obama promised early on in his term to cut the deficit:

051512Heck2 :20 this president’s administration.”

Heck says Romney’s time at Bain Capital resulted in more jobs created than lost:

051512Heck3 :27 created somewhere else.”