sidebar – Jan 2019


Nevada Delegation:  New Faces and Some Familiar Ones in New Roles
By Frank X. Mullen

Nevada’s delegation in the 116th Congress is the most diverse in the state’s history except when it comes to political affiliation.

Rep. Mark Amodei is now the only GOP member in the federal contingent, but as a whole the delegation includes an African American and four women, including – for the first time — two female senators, one of whom is a Latina.

Here’s a look at the state’s delegation in the current Congress and some of the issues they ran on:

Rep. Dina Titus, who has served in the House from 2009 to 2011 for the state’s 3rd congressional district, has represented the 1st congressional district since 2013. She is the ranking member of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will chair the committee this year. She also is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Democratic House Steering and Policy Committee. Titus spent 20 years in the Nevada Legislature prior to her first run for Congress in 2008. From 1979 to 2011 she taught American and Nevada government classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During her 2018 campaign she stressed her opposition to using Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste dump and supported consideration of a “Medicare for all” universal health insurance system. Titus also wants protection for “Dreamers,” undocumented people who were brought into the U.S, as children, and supports a ban on bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to be fired like machine guns. She has said she’s in favor of House investigations of President Trump, but told the Nevada Current in November: “We can’t just investigate; we’ve also got to legislate. And even if they don’t have a chance in the Senate, I think you have to put them out there, because the base that elected us is demanding that. And if we don’t respond to it, there’s no reason for us to be (in Congress) either.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, who has held Nevada’s District 2 House seat since 2011, coasted to re-election last year. He is now the lone GOP member of the state’s congressional delegation. He sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which controls the nation’s purse strings. Amodei also opposes Yucca Mountain, but has said that if the plan to store nuclear waste at the Southern Nevada site does go forward, Nevada should be ready to make the best deal. He voted for the measures to repeal and replace Obamacare, but when those failed Amodei said the Affordable Care Act is here to stay and should be modified. His website now says that he favors “a replacement for Obamacare which will increase access to health care across the board.” Such a plan, he says, “must not offer empty promises of insurance which no providers will accept and which bankrupt our hospitals and community health professionals.” He says he is in favor of a plan that drives down the cost of health care across the system, including for prescription drugs. He also supports measures to transfer federal lands to state and local control as a spur to economic development, particularly in Nevada communities that are enclaves surrounded by federal land.

Rep. Susie Lee defeated Danny Tarkanian in the 3rd District in November. A Las Vegas philanthropist, she is known for her work with Clark County nonprofits and hasn’t held elected office before. She was campaign policy advisor to former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones and was a candidate for the 4th District House seat in 2016. In her 2018 campaign, Lee pledged to work for bipartisan solutions to improve the Affordable Care Act, and to “fight back against efforts to sabotage it.” She says she wants to decrease health care costs and is in favor of allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. In September, she told Nevada Public Radio that she was running for Congress because she is “tired of the divisiveness and dysfunction of Washington and I don’t think it is working for working families. I think the (Mueller) investigation should run its course but honestly, I want to get there and get to work for Nevada and working families.” She says her issues include investing in infrastructure, supporting greater skills training, and helping small businesses.

Rep. Steven Horsford, who became the first African-American to represent Nevada in Congress in 2012, lost his House seat to Cresent Hardy in 2014 but defeated Hardy in a rematch in November. Incumbent Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who beat Hardy in 2016, decided against seeking re-election after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in 2017. Horsford supports gun control measures and says that health care is “a human right” and not a privilege reserved for those who can pay high prices. Horsford supports bipartisan immigration reform and protection for the “Dreamers.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen, after one term in the House, takes her Senate seat after defeating Sen. Dean Heller, who held the position since 2011. Rosen is the second female senator (after Catherine Cortez Masto) in the state’s history. Nevada is now the eighth state in history to have had two female senators at the same time. In the 117th Congress, six states, Nevada , Arizona , Washington , New Hampshire , Minnesota and California are represented in the Senate by two women. Prior to her service in the House, Rosen was a software designer and president of a synagogue. At a media conference in Las Vegas after her victory in November, Rosen pledged to fight the Yucca Mountain repository plan “every which way we can” and will introduce a bill to repurpose the site near Las Vegas as a data storage center. She says she is in favor of gun control measures that won’t erode the Second Amendment, such as background checks for all gun sales. She says she supports helping the “Dreamers,” but at the same time favors greater border security. Rosen says she supports a Medicaid buy-in public option and that people with pre-existing conditions must be protected against high insurance costs. “That’s the number one request I have from every single person that I’ve talked to,” she said at the press event.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, now three years into a six-year term, is Nevada’s senior senator and former state attorney general. She is the chairperson of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and is a member of six Senate Committees, including Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Her issues include fighting for higher wages for workers, promoting innovation and small business entrepreneurship, and making Nevada even more enticing for new sectors and companies to move to the state, according to her web sites. She says she’s also committed to fixing the broken immigration system and helping the “Dreamers. She wants to improve, not repeal, Obamacare.