Nevada's State Representatives Discuss Politics in Reno
Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dean Heller, and Congressman Mark Amodei are all in the Biggest Little City, now that congress is in recess.
Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dean Heller, and Congressman Mark Amodei are all in the Biggest Little City, now that congress is in recess. Heller and Amodei spoke and took questions at the Chamber in downtown Reno, after receiving the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber. One of the big topics was the gridlock in Washington, and that voters have taken notice.
"It's interesting. I'm at meetings across the state, Trump supporters, and I ask them who their second choice is and it's Bernie Sanders," Heller, R-Nevada said. "So it's not about Republican or a Democrat, they're just so tired of Washington D.C. not getting things done."
Reid says nothing is getting done in congress, and blames the republicans for blocking policies, backed by democrats and President Barack Obama.
"For the first time in the history of the country, they're filibustering in their own way, a Supreme Court Justice," Reid, D-Nevada said. "We haven't funded the government. We need to do that. We have so many things that just haven't been done at all."
Heller says one solution is to offer more ideas, saying that republicans should offer alternatives for things like the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank.
"What are you for? Being against and against and against doesn't move your cause forward," Heller said. "But we should have put our blanks out there. If you're going to vote for the Republican, this is what you're going to get."
Heller and Reid agree that infrastructure is important, building and repairing roads, bridges and dams. Heller says the construction of Interstate 11, from Phoenix to Las Vegas, marks the first new highway in the United States in 35 years, coming off the first highway bill in more than a decade. He says a good transportation will lead to economic prosperity.
"We're talking short term jobs, long term economic growth, and that's what we need," Heller said. "We need a growth in the economy here in this country and in the state of Nevada that we haven't seen for 10 years."
Reid says there is a $2 trillion deficit with infrastructure in America, and more money needs to be spent.
"For every billion dollars spent in infrastructure development, we create 50,000 high paying jobs, and other lower paying jobs spin off that," Reid said.
Amodei says it is important for our representatives in Washington to communicate with local leaders. He says communication will prevent surprise problems when decisions are made on projects, like highway funding.
"Having those answers early on allows people like the Washoe County commission, the Mineral County commission, the folks in Hawthorne, the folks in Fallon, to do some planning, without the wolf at the door," Amodei, R-Nevada said.
All three lawmakers talked about the economic progress in Nevada, saying new businesses like Tesla, SWITCH, and Amazon have created more opportunities. Nevada's unemployment rate was higher than 14 percent, six years ago. Today, it is at 6.5 percent, and housing prices and building are on the rise.
"We're doing better. Can we do better? Of course we can but one reason that we're having trouble keeping up with the numbers is because people are moving here again, like they used to."
While the economy is improving, Amodei says there is still a lack of confidence when it comes to indicators like stocks and unemployment.
"Transitioning into a growth economy and how much people believe in some of those national economic indicators right now, is something that's going to take a little more time," Amodei said. "I think that's a reflection of caution amongst those folks who have lived through 2008-2009 and don't want to get caught overextended again."
When congress reconvenes, after Labor Day, the first plan of business is to pay the bills.
"Obviously, they want candidates back out in the field in October before their election so I think the big issue is going to be how we fund the government through the end of the year," Heller said.
Reid says the issues in Washington will only get worse, with a Trump presidency, while Heller and Amodei are reluctant to support the GOP presidential nominee. Heller says what is more important is Nevada's senate race between Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Joe Heck. The winner will be Reid's successor.
"I think Joe Heck does win this race," Heller said. "He has work to do and he knows he has work to do. But he is by far, by far, the most superior of the two candidates."
"We have a superior candidate with Catherine Cortez Masto" Reid said. "We have a person running against her, who is a fraud. He says one thing in Nevada and another in Washington."