Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 | 2 a.m.
- Reluctantly sharing bad news, Gibbons leaves some out
- Jon Ralston on cutting education’s nose to spite Rogers’ face
- Education, state workers hit in bare-bones budget
- Governor proposes salary cuts to avoid some layoffs
- Democratic response: Legislature will overhaul tax structure
- College students to rally against Gibbons’ budget cuts
Nevada’s Democratic lawmakers will be listening to the inaugural speech today for what they said they didn’t hear last week from the governor — a path out of the economic abyss.
“The No. 1 issue in Nevada is certainly the economy, so I’m going to be listening for how we get people back to work,” Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie of Reno said. She said the governor’s economic plan is “going backward.”
Leslie was among the Nevada state legislators who stopped at an event hosted Monday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The party, at a posh steakhouse across from the Capitol, drew celebrities including boxing promoter Don King, who stole the show. King swooped in all bluster and hair and patriotism, sporting sartorial bling and a few American flags. Economic stimulus could wait.
“Only in America!” he said, an apparent reference to the history that was about to be made with Barack Obama’s presidency.
The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart also stopped in, as did restaurateur Wolfgang Puck. Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, the Interior secretary nominee, praised Reid’s “spine of steel” and rallied support for Reid’s reelection in 2010. (Funds were also being raised.)
Nevada state legislators will begin the 2009 session in Carson City in two weeks, facing budget cuts exceeding 30 percent. They are looking to Washington for help.
Gov. Jim Gibbons last week delivered a State of the State address that previewed steep higher education budget cuts, as well as salary reductions for teachers and state workers.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, also among the earliest Obama backers, has been here meeting with representatives on the Hill “to really reinforce the stimulus package for the state. We believe that will be important legislation.”
North Las Vegas-area Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson said he will be listening to Obama for the big ask — a request to the American people to get involved in solving the nation’s problems. “Everyone is going to have to participate,” he said. “We don’t get out of this thing by stealing from Peter to pay Paul.”
Reid had no advice for Obama today, relaying instead a story from the national press that quoted the president-elect’s eldest daughter, 10-year-old Malia, telling her dad as they visited the Lincoln Memorial last week that as the first black president, his inaugural address had better be good.
“It’s an exciting time for the country and the world,” Reid said. “The bar is very high. It’s been set high for him lots times, and he always meets it. I’m sure he will.”