Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004 | 8:55 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- Gov. Kenny Guinn will continue to push for President Bush to return to the White House, but will not work to return Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to Searchlight.
Guinn, in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting, heard speeches in which Bush spoke of issues facing the states and of his re-election campaign.
Though previous meetings like this one had included talk of nuclear waste issues, this year's didn't, Guinn said. The potential transportation of nuclear waste through various cities to the proposed storage site at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is not part of any agenda connected with the governors' meetings.
"I don't think (Yucca) will be the defining issue (among Nevada voters) in the presidential race," Guinn said.
Bush approved the Yucca project in 2002 despite Nevada's strong opposition and Guinn's veto of the project.
Instead, Guinn said, jobs, health care and education are going to be the main issues in the November election.
Guinn said he would "absolutely" campaign just as hard for the president this time around as he did in 2000 and said if Bush visited the state to meet with voters, it could encourage more residents to turn out for him in what has been deemed a swing state.
Guinn pointed to 38,000 jobs gained since last year and the Medicare Prescription Drug plan as two reasons the Bush administration works for Nevada, regardless of the Yucca Mountain support.
"Just because you disagree with someone on one thing doesn't mean you don't vote for them," Guinn said. "I am sure people who voted for me didn't agree with everything."
Guinn also pointed out that the Yucca issue still needs to be decided by the federal court.
The "consistency" of four more years of a Bush White House would also help the state, Guinn said. Guinn said he saw good public programs come out of the second Clinton term and expected the same this time around.
As for Reid, Guinn said he will not work against the senator but will not endorse him either.
"I have a great relationship with Sen. Reid," Guinn said. "For a small state, Harry Reid is in a great position."
Guinn said he did not know Reid's challenger, Richard Ziser.