Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Governor Sandoval Vetoes Democratic Redistricting Plan

By Andrew Doughman | 2:20 pm May 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has vetoed the Democratic redistricting plan for new Congressional, state Senate and Assembly districts.

Sandoval, in a veto statement issued today, said that the Democratic plan violated the federal Voting Rights Act, which governs how ethnic minorities should be treated when the boundaries of political districts are drawn, and was created for the partisan gain of Democrats.

The veto represents the first rejection of proposed maps, drawn according to 2010 Census data, in what could be a long path toward compromise.

If the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor cannot reach common ground, the drawing of political districts may become a matter for the courts to decide. Anticipating the veto, Democrats have another redistricting bill that they can amend and send back to the governor.

At stake is the political representation of Nevada’s Hispanic community. Sandoval charged that the Democratic plan would dilute the Latino vote.

“Of the four Congressional seats it establishes, not one contains a Hispanic majority—though such a district can clearly and simply be drawn, consistent with traditional redistricting principles,” Sandoval’s statement read.

A Republican plan that did not receive a vote created a congressional district with a  50.7 percent total Hispanic population.

The governor also said the Democratic plan would not “afford Hispanics an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choosing.”

In an earlier speech on the Assembly floor, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, asked whether this logic implied that only a Hispanic majority could elect a Hispanic candidate.

“Nevada has proven that Hispanic and other minority candidates can and have been elected in minority influence districts,” she said.

Sandoval, Nevada’s first Hispanic governor, was himself elected with a majority of the white vote while losing the Hispanic vote.

In a Republican redistricting plan, Republicans created eight Hispanic-majority seats in the Assembly, four in the Senate and one in Congress.

Democrats spread Hispanic voters throughout more districts, creating two Senate, three Assembly and no congressional districts with a majority Hispanic population

Democrats responded to the veto and called the assertions that their party violated the Voting Rights Act “legally absurd.”

“It is nothing but a smokescreen in an attempt to obscure the partisan ambitions of a party that has a pathetic record on issues of minority rights,” the Democrats said in a statement released following the veto.

Some have said that partisan politics are behind the rhetoric.

During the 2010 election, Hispanics overwhelming voted for Democratic candidate Rory Reid in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate race.

A Hispanic population diffused over many districts should then create more Democratic-leaning districts while a Hispanic population concentrated in one district should create more Republican-leaning districts.

Hispanics now comprise 26 percent of Nevada’s population and are a voter bloc that both parties cannot ignore.

One in seven eligible voters in Nevada are Latinos, the sixth-largest Hispanic eligible voter population share nationally, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Sandoval also said the Democratic plan seemed to benefit Democratic candidates politically.

“At its core, this bill creates districts that were drawn exclusively for political gain,” he said.

In earlier statements, Republicans had contended that Democrats had not drawn enough competitive districts and had created too many Democratic-leaning districts.

Democrats would have a voter registration advantage in three of Nevada’s four congressional districts in their proposal.Republicans would create a 2-2 split.

Republican incumbent Rep. Joe Heck would also lose a Republican majority in his congressional district under the Democratic proposal.

The Democratic proposal promises a 30 – 12 Democratic split in the Assembly and a 14 – 7 advantage in the Senate, according to voters registered Democratic and Republican in each proposed district.

The Republican proposal reflects a 26 – 16 Democratic advantage in the Assembly, which is the current ratio in the Assembly. The Republican plan for the state Senate would create 14 seats with more voters registered as Democrats and seven seats with a Republican voter advantage.

The Legislature is required to redraw the boundaries of political districts every 10 years based on changes in population released through the U.S. Census.

 

State GOP to Hold Special Meeting

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:54 am May 3rd, 2011

From the Clark County Republican Party “Press” this morning, notification that the state party plans to hold a special meeting on June 18, 2011, in anticipation of (1) a possible vacancy of Chairman Mark Amodei’s seat should he choose to run for Dean Heller’s now vacated congressional seat in NV-2 and (2) a possible vote of the Central Committee if Secretary of State Ross Miller’s decision to hold an open election is overturned in court:

NRCC Members Called to Special Meeting

Shortly after Governor Sandoval appointed Congressman Heller to fill the Senate seat vacancy, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Amodei called for an emergency E-Board meeting last week. The topic of this meeting was the CD-2 special election and the role of the party. The Executive Committee voted to approve, upon signing and approving a contract, to hire legal counsel to represent the best interest of the Party. Under the legal counsel’s interpretation of the law, the Nevada Republican Central Committee per NRS 293.165 shall serve as the official nominating body for Republican Party for the CD-2 special election. Legal counsel does not believe that a free-for-all general election is the interpretation of the law.

To move forward expeditiously and fluidly in favor of the ruling the Executive Committee has decided to support, a “special” meeting of the Nevada Republican Central Committee has been called. This meeting will be held in Northern Nevada on June 18, 2011. Details of the meeting have not been finalized, but the Executive Committee agreed to two potential items on that agenda:

1. Election of a Chairman should there be a vacancy,

2. Election of a CD-2 Congressional candidate.

We will keep you informed of details as they are released.

Clark County has vacancies in the NRCC membership. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Nevada Republican Central Committee, please contact your CCRP e-board member or Paul Folger atpafolger@cox.net

 


Legislators “Offended” and “Insulted” As They Make Symbolic Party-Line Vote Over Education Budget

By Andrew Doughman | 7:00 am April 20th, 2011

CARSON CITY – It was not until 30 minutes before midnight that a six-hour debate in the Assembly ended with a promise to talk more later.

After listening to presentations outlining more than $1 billion in “major reductions” to the K-12 budget, legislators debated their willingness to compromise or negotiate about Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed general fund budget.

“My caucus will be voting gov rec,” said Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, using an abbreviation for the governor’s recommended budget. “So you’re not going to get the wiggle room you’re looking for.”

In the end, all 16 Assembly Republicans voted in a symbolic motion to support a motion last night to pass Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommended budget. All 26 Assembly Democrats opposed the motion.

The Senate will debate the same budget in the same process today.

Republicans repeatedly said they want to see specific tax proposals as well as a reassurance that reforms they want will pass out of the Assembly as a trade for tax increases.

“Until we have the discussions about the reforms and the revenue package, we will continue to have a discussion about gov rec,” Goicoechea said.

Democrats stressed the need to debate specifics of the governor’s proposed education budget. Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said the Assembly needed to find common ground for an acceptable level of cuts before they could discuss additional revenues.

“We rarely change a lot … 10, 15, 20 percent of the budget,” he said.

He called the six-hour marathon hearing in the Assembly chambers a success.

“We got the temperature of where people are at,” he said. “It felt to me that we saw a few people who said we can look at a few things.”

Sprinkled throughout the hearing in Assembly chambers were instances of legislators calling each other “disingenuous” and saying they were “offended” and “insulted” with each other.

The verbal sniping came only hours after the Senate inducted former Sen. Bill Raggio into the Senate’s Hall of Fame. Raggio, a legislator who retired earlier this year, was a constant critic of the partisan hardening and lack of respect characteristic of 21st century political debate.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D- North Las Vegas, said Nevada’s Assembly was starting to look like D.C.

“If we want to have D.C. politics, here it is,” she said.

Both Democrats and Republicans did, however, say that the new process of having budget discussions involving all 42 Assembly members appealed to them more than having a few key legislators meet and make decisions in private.

But that does not make anybody more likely to agree.

“It looks like we’re going to be here for a very long haul,” said Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas.

Assemblyman Mark Sherwood, R-Las Vegas, called the whole hearing a “farce,” to which Kirkpatrick, retorted: “if you don’t respect the institution, don’t come back.”

As Wednesday morning drew close, Goicoechea said there’s “no doubt” everybody wants to find a solution.

“This is the beginning, this isn’t the end,” Smith said. “This was the first tough discussion we had … We can’t call each other disingenuous because we disagree. It’s not a farce. It’s not a train wreck.”

But by 11:30 p.m., the only unanimous motion was for the Assembly to retire for the night.

 

Nevada Minimum Wage Repeal Proposal Gets Legislative Hearing

By Sean Whaley | 3:18 pm February 16th, 2011

CARSON CITY – State Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, told a Senate panel today the Legislature should move forward with repealing the state’s minimum wage law.

Hardy testified in support of his Senate Joint Resolution 2, which would have to pass this session and again in 2013, then go to a vote of the people in 2014, to repeal the state’s law that sets the minimum wage higher than the federal rate.

Hardy told the Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee that the law, which has pushed the minimum wage in Nevada to $8.25 an hour for most workers as of July 1, 2010, has had a chilling effect on hiring and hampered the state’s economic recovery. The law, which is now part of the state constitution, requires a complex calculation, but essentially means Nevada workers earn $1 more an hour than the federal minimum wage rate.

The federal minimum wage is now $7.25 an hour.

Hardy said 36 states have a minimum wage set at the federal level. The other 14 have higher rates, including Nevada.

The Legislature needs to support repeal of the law to return the state to a level playing field with other states “for those who want to create jobs and foster economic growth in Nevada,” he said.

The Nevada State AFL-CIO worked to put the state’s minimum wage law on the ballot. It passed twice and because it is now in the state constitution, repealing or changing its provisions is a complex and time consuming process.

Speakers, including business representatives and union advocates, took predictable stances regarding the proposal.

Tray Abney with the Reno-Sparks chamber said the state’s minimum wage should not be on “autopilot,” rising without regard to economic conditions.

Sam McMullen, representing the Las Vegas chamber, said locking the law into the state constitution has made it impossible to change as economic conditions have changed.

But Danny Thompson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, said the ballot initiative was launched because the Legislature refused to consider proposals to increase the minimum wage.

Gail Tuzzolo, also with the Nevada State AFL-CIO, said Nevadans “should be talking about creating jobs and rebuilding the economy, not taking income away from individuals struggling to put food on their tables.”

The historical record shows that increasing the minimum wage has reduced the poverty level, she said. Economists have demonstrated that the statistical effect of the minimum wage on job losses is nearly nonexistent, Tuzzolo said.

The panel took no immediate action on the bill.

Nevada Lawmaker Proposes Repeal Of State’s Minimum Wage Law

By Sean Whaley | 4:26 pm November 9th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Newly elected state Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, has requested the drafting of legislation to repeal Nevada’s minimum wage law.

A repeal would have to go to voters, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2006 to set the minimum wage at a higher rate than the federal rate. The current minimum wage in Nevada is $8.25 an hour and took effect on July 1. The federal rate is $7.25 an hour.

If a Nevada employer offers a qualified health plan, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

The Nevada Legislature would have to approve a proposed constitutional amendment repealing the minimum wage twice, in 2011 and in 2013, before it could go to a vote of the people in 2014.

Hardy, who has been serving in the Assembly, could not immediately be reached for comment on his purpose for the repeal, although the minimum wage has been blamed by some for stifling job creation, particularly in the current economic slowdown.

Nevada leads the nation in the unemployment rate, which remained at 14.4 percent in September.

Democrats are in control of both the Senate and Assembly in the upcoming session, making passage of such a proposal questionable.

Danny Thompson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, the group that put the minimum wage measure on the ballot through the initiative petition process, said the vote in favor of the measure in 2006 was higher than for any other candidate or issue on the ballot that year.

“On its face it is shortsighted,” he said of the proposed repeal. “People need to make a livable wage.”

Thompson said $8.25 an hour is not a living wage but is an improvement over previous rates. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

“Truly this thing is the will of the people,” he said. “To go against that flies in the face of our system.”

Thompson said if there is a desire by some to repeal the minimum wage law, they should use the initiative petition process and collect signatures from registered voters to put the proposal on the ballot like proponents of the current law did years ago.

“If they want to overthrow the minimum wage go back to the people.,” he said.

Thompson said any suggestion that Nevada’s minimum wage is having a chilling effect on job creation is not true.

“If anything, it levels the playing field for employers,” he said. “No one is getting rich off that wage.”

Michael Saltsman, research fellow at the Washington, DC-based Employment Policies Institute, said in June that Nevada’s minimum wage was making it particularly tough for teens to find jobs and that the increase on July 1 would make it even worse.

Audio clips:

Danny Thompson of the AFL-CIO says a legislative effort to repeal the minimum wage would thwart the will of the voters:

11910Thompson :10 of our system.”

WaTi Misreports Angle Record

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:36 am June 3rd, 2010

I completely missed a notable double inaccuracy in that Washington Times story I linked to earlier (which was just now pointed out by Ralston on Twitter).  My excuse is that I was skimming the story for poll data and skipped over all the middle parts.

Here’s the offending sentence:

Mrs. Angle successfully blocked the governor’s proposed $800 million tax increase beginning in 2003 and eventually took the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — and won.

No, she didn’t.

Fifteen legislators blocked the tax increase (although U.S. Senate candidate Chad Christensen has also claimed to have single-handedly stopped it), and the Supreme Court declined to hear the matter.

One wonders where the WaTi got their info.

And one assumes they will correct the error once it is brought to their attention.

Tarkanian Admits He Was Wrong About “S” Word in Robo Calls, Lowden Answers Controversial TARP Question

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:49 pm March 25th, 2010

The Hill picked up on a point of conflict that emerged from the Tarkanian v. Lowden debate on KXNT yesterday morning and which I reported on here.  Here’s the short Hill piece followed by a comment or three from me:

Nevada businessman Danny Tarkanian’s Senate campaign admits its candidate was wrong when he denied using the word “socialism” in a robocall against his Republican opponent.

In a joint appearance with former state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden on KXNT-AM radio, Tarkanian was challenged by the host on his campaign tactics. Tarkanian claimed he never used the word “socialism” in the robocall. But a recording of the call contradicts Tarkanian.

“There was no ‘socialism’ word in there – you’re wrong on that,” Tarkanian said Wednesday. “I guarantee you.”

A recording of the robocall, though, makes clear that Tarkanian tied Lowden to the Wall Street bailout and then described the bailouts as “socialism.”

“With respect, I must disagree with my Republican opponent Sue Lowden when she and the establishment defended the Wall Street bailout,” Tarkanian said, adding later, of the bailout: “That’s not freedom. Let’s call it what it is: socialism.”

Tarkanian spokesman James Fisfis notes that Tarkanian had been accused by the host of calling Lowden a “socialist.” At no point during the robocall, though, does he directly use the word to describe her.

“Danny was wrong that the word ‘socialism’ wasn’t in there,” Fisfis said. “He was asked if he had called her a socialist, and he didn’t.”

Two things:

First, if Tarkanian had stated yesterday that he had never called Lowden a socialist, he would have won the point both then and in any follow-up stories today.  Instead, he overstated and claimed (guaranteed!) the word “socialism” was not used in his robo call — a claim that was subsequently proven false — so today the narrative was that Tarkanian had to admit he was wrong.  This is a classic example of how a candidate can flub an opportunity to both correct his opponent and score political points.  Had Tarkanian remembered what he had said on his own robo call and stated it accurately, he could have accomplished both.

Second, this issue of how Lowden would or would not have voted on that initial TARP bill in 2008 — the whole basis for Tarkanian’s use of the “socialism” word — really has not been put to bed in my mind since it first came up.  Team Tark has been saying (and re-saying, every chance they get) that Lowden admitted she would have voted for the Wall Street bailout.  Here is the Lowden line to which they keep pointing (which she gave in answer to a question about the TARP vote by the Nevada Appeal):

“I would like to say I would have voted ‘no’, but I can’t do that.”

Team Tark contends that sentence means Lowden would have voted “yes.”  But my own estimation was and has been that you cannot intuit a clear “yes” or “no” from it.  By any reasonable standard of textbook logic, the statement “I cannot say I would not have” does not have the same meaning as the statement “I would have.”  The fairest thing one could glean from Lowden’s statement — without making assumptions, intuiting or having any other context with which to work — is that she didn’t know, or would or could not say, how she would have voted.  And I think this is so even when the remark is taken in full context:

“It’s easy to say, no, I wouldn’t have voted for it. But people were panicked, we were facing collapse – that’s what they were saying. It’s easy to say from a distance I would have voted no, but I can’t do that.”

Yesterday on KXNT, Lowden said that conversation with the Appeal reporter was an “intellectual” discussion about the difficulty and complexity of the economic situation in 2008 and included her feelings of sympathy for Republicans who had to make a call on the TARP bill in the midst of nationwide financial panic.  A couple of weeks ago, Lowden had told me in an interview that her statements to the Appeal were not intended to be evasive but were instead “a thoughtful response to a difficult question.”  I asked her then how she thought she might have voted, and she said, “Probably against it, but again, I want to emphasize my understanding for those who made a different choice.”

This afternoon, I called Lowden’s office and asked for a “yes” or “no” once-and-for-all answer on the TARP vote issue. Spokesman Robert Uithoven spoke to Lowden and then provided this comment:

“Sue would not have voted for the TARP or any of the other bailout bills in Congress…period.”

If you, Dear Reader (and Team Tark), believed Lowden’s “I can’t say” meant “yes,” you will no doubt feel justified in claiming Lowden has changed her position.  If, on the other hand, you thought “I can’t say” meant “I can’t say,” Lowden has now Said — and you may make of that what you will.

NRCC’s New “Code Red” Red Meat Press Campaign

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:38 am March 22nd, 2010

On the heels of Titus’ F2F interview (see my previous blog post) and the passage of #hcr (that’s the Twitter hashtag for Health Care Reform)(are you on Twitter yet?!) this red meat press release from the NRCC:

CODE RED — ALERTING AMERICA TO THE DEMOCRATS’ TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE

March 21, 2010 (202) 479-7070

Dina Titus Rubber-Stamps Trillion-Dollar Government Takeover of Healthcare

Dismissing Public Opinion, Loyal Lapdog Puts Pelosi First, Voters Second

Washington – Despite a myriad of polls showing that a vote in favor of a government takeover of healthcare would be directly at odds with the interests and values of her constituents, Dina Titus, instead chose to stand with President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Titus’ decision to back a bill that fails to lower the cost of healthcare, will likely come at a steep political cost in November. Not only did Titus rubber-stamp hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes, Medicare cuts, runaway spending and unprecedented government control, her support for this toxic bill will negatively impact small businesses that are struggling to hire in the midst of a tough economic climate.

Over the past several weeks, the American people have witnessed first-hand, a process fraught with corruption and backroom deal-cutting that enticed Members of Congress into voting for this bill who would have otherwise voted in the interests of their constituents. By voting for this bill, Titus signed off on every shady backroom deal that the White House and Democrat leaders offered in exchange for votes, including the Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, and Florida Gator-aid.

Despite the millions of Americans that have repeatedly rejected the Democrats’ unpopular healthcare agenda, Titus and her Democrat colleagues rammed their bill through Congress anyway.

“As Americans wait for Congress to act on health care, a Fox News poll released Thursday finds 55 percent oppose the reforms being considered, while 35 percent favor them.” (Dana Blanton, “Fox News Poll: 55% Oppose Health Care Reform,” FOXNews, 3/19/10)

“Despite repeated and intense sales efforts by the president and his allies in Congress, most Americans consistently oppose the plan that has become the centerpiece of this legislative season.

“In 15 consecutive Rasmussen Reports polls conducted over the past four months, the percentage of Americans that oppose the plan has stayed between 52% and 58%.” (Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen, “Why Obama Can’t Move the Health-Care Numbers,” Wall Street Journal, 3/09/2010)

“By ignoring the overwhelming majority of her constituents, and voting in favor of Nancy Pelosi’s government takeover of healthcare, Dina Titus has fueled a level of anger and frustration within the constituency she claims to represent,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “Voting for hundreds of billions of dollars in spending, tax hikes, Medicare cuts, and unprecedented government control over our healthcare system is not reform, and Dina Titus knows it. By putting the interests and values of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the needs of Nevada voters, Titus has put her political career in great jeopardy.”

Is this the end for Titus?

“…60 percent say that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes this bill and wants to start over, while just 32 percent are more likely to vote against a candidate who takes this position. This suggests clearly that a “yes” vote is problematic. A detailed look at the research shows that representatives who change their vote from opposing it last November to supporting it now will probably be committing political hara-kiri.” (Douglas E. Schoen, “The handwriting on the wall,” Politico, 3/16/2010)

Judging from the numbers, Dina Titus just isn’t listening. If she can’t hear the message voters are sending her now, she’ll likely hear it on Election Day.

We shall see!

Face to Face: Dina Titus Answers Questions About Her Vote for House Health Care Bill

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:45 pm March 19th, 2010

Ralston tonight interviewed Dina Titus on her Yes health care vote, as follows:

Q:  A few days ago you were undecided. What got you off the fence, specifically?

A:  Two things: I was waiting for the CBO figures, and they show that this is going to save even more money than anticipated and bring down the deficit. And second, a lot of the things I was concerned about in the Senate bill are fixed by the new compromise.  They’ve done away with the special deals for certain states. They’ve adjusted the tax on benefits so it doesn’t kick in to 2018, and the cap is much higher.  They’ve spread the reforms to more people, so now they cover everybody who has an insurance policy for things like protections against caps, protections against taking away the policy, protections for pre-existing conditions.

Q:  There have been a lot of people who said you were just faking it, that you really were going to vote for it the whole time, that this was all an act.  Did you get any last minute arm-twisting?

A:  No, absolutely not. People honored my wishes, which was to do my homework and get the information. I did not hear from the President. I did not go see the Speaker. I got a lot of phone calls and those are the people I listened to, not the million dollars’ worth of insurance company ads.

Q:  That is interesting, because I think you are going to have a tough time explaining to your constituents how a bill spends $940 billion – and that’s the low end – amd maybe over a trillion to get health care done, yet reduces the deficit and is not going to hurt Medicare. Do you think you can explain that?

A:  I do. I think we don’t need to go into all the details, because people don’t want to hear that, and we need take a lesson, to keep it simple. Now, it’s unfortunate that the bill was 2,000 pages long. It should have been 10 pages like the Constitution.  When they see the things that go into effect right away, like children staying on their parent’s policies until age 26, small businesses getting those tax cuts right now so they can provide health insurance for their employee, no pre-existing conditions – those are the kinds of things that I think people will feel and will understand and that will make a difference.

Q:  It may indeed help small business – I have heard that argument – but there are also provisions in there for larger businesses over 50 employees who get this subsidy from the government, and they can face penalties. That can be disincentive to hiring, no?

A:  I don’t think so. Most of the businesses I talk to want to provide insurance for their employees. It’s a great recruiting too. They want to be able to do it; they just can’t afford it. That’s one of the reasons we need this bill, because families can’t sustain it, businesses can’t compete with in the global economy if they don’t have it, and government needs to bring down those costs over time, too, because Medicare, Medicaid, those are very expensive.

Q:  You know that was a lot of pages for you to read in between the time you got the bill and you made your decision.  You sure this wasn’t just a ruse? You didn’t read all 2,000 pages again did you?

A:  I’ll say it one more time, Jon. I wanted to get the bill in front of me. I wanted to do my homework, and its’ not as difficult as you might imagine because a lot of the bill stays the same, it’s the changes that are really important to focus on and study.

Q:  You know I might not be the best person to ask this question since I once declared your career over, but the epitaphs for Dina Titus have been pouring in since this, where your friends over at the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee have said, she’s walked the plank, her career’s over. The publisher of a large newspaper here said the voters are going to vote you out of office in November.  Is this really an important enough thing to lose your seat over?

A:  You know what, I think the election is a long time away, and there are other issues bedsides health care that we’ve been working on, like foreclosures, and we gotta create some jobs, and we gotta create renewable energy — but this isn’t about politics, this is about policy, and I believe there are things more important than re-election, and that’s why I listened to folks in the District, not to these special interests who are running these ads and doing these polls.  This is the health care of the American people.

Q:  What about the obligation that leaders of a political party have to educate the public? Are you going to take that up yourself, are the Democrats going to be able to do that, to say why this bill is a good thing and change those poll numbers by November? You have to do that, right?

A: Well, I’m doing it right now, Jon.  And I’ve been doing it for a year. I’ve always said we need reform. And if you think about it, I’ve done about a dozen Congress on the Corners. I’ve done about a half a dozen telephone town halls. We’ve done public hearings. We’ve answered over 90,000 letters, telephone calls, emails.  We are getting that information out. And we are telling people the truth and giving them the facts, not using scare tactics like using death panels and those kinds of emotional things and misguided information like is coming from the other side and the insurance companies.

John Ensign Just Not Having a Good Week

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:11 pm March 12th, 2010

All because of a Tweet.  I guess what happens on Twitter does not stay on Twitter…

(Sum-up:  John Ensign voted against an amendment to send money to rural Nevada via geothermal royalties, then took to Twitter 45 minutes later to boast about one of its provisions after the bill had passed.  Nevada Democrats calling him a “hypocrite”.)

Governor Will Not Veto Race to the Top Bill

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:48 pm February 26th, 2010

A source inside Governor Gibbon’s office today said Gibbons will not veto the Race to the Top education bill passed Wednesday evening by the state Senate and Assembly during the special session of the Legislature.

A Gibbons spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review Journal yesterday that he intended to veto the bill because some language in it would prevent the state from securing a $175 million federal grant that would help Nevada schools.

The Assembly voted 42-0 and the Senate voted 16-5 to change a state law that so far has prevented Nevada from applying for the grant. Five of the nine Senate Republicans voted against the bill on grounds that language in it might lead the federal Department of Education to reject the state application for a grant.

The governor’s legal team still believes the language in the bill may cause it to be rejected, said the source, but Gibbons has decided to sign the bill with the intention of trying to work with the DOE for grant approval and to show his commitment to putting education first both in this special session and the state.

Heller Objects to Debt Limit Increase on House Floor, Bill Narrowly Passes

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:43 pm December 16th, 2009

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Dean Heller today led the opposition on increasing the national statutory debt limit by nearly $300 billion (H.R. 4314).

“Here we are again. Christmas is a week away and Congress is scrambling at the last minute just so we can go home,” said Heller.

“While Americans are doing last minute holiday shopping, the majority party is doing its last minute spending. This year many families are cutting back their holiday shopping. Average holiday spending by Americans has dropped to $343 dollars per person from $372 dollars a year ago. You would think that during these tough times when most Americans are forced to tighten their belts, that Congress would also. Not a chance under this majority,” he said.

“This majority stumbled into 2009 with a budget that raised the deficit by $1.8 trillion. Then Congress decided to pass an $800 billion stimulus bill, $3 billion on Cash for Clunkers, a trillion dollars on a Cap and Tax bill, $1.3 trillion on the Democrat health care bill and recently another $447 billion was spent on Washington D.C. bureaucracies,” Heller said.

“After all this spending, the national debt is now more than $12 trillion dollars. Every American citizen will now owe more than $39,000 to pay for Washington’s spending. Now Democrats want to raise the debt limit to allow even more spending in 2010. The real “fat cat” is the federal government which spends, spends, and spends while the American public gets stuck with the bill, he said.

“I urge my colleagues to reject raising the debt limit and give the gift that American deserves…a responsible federal budget, he said.

Reuters reported that the debt limit increase narrowly passed the House by a vote of 218-214.  The Senate will vote on the bill by the end of the month.

Heller’s speech can also be seen at heller.house.gov or on YouTube.