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October 20, 2014

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Sen. John Ensign: The dunce

A national group says our senator is an enemy to the arts in education

The Americans for the Arts Action Fund gave Sen. John Ensign a failing grade for his support of the arts and named him one of the “Dirty Dozen.”

The national organization, which pushes for arts in education, places Ensign among the worst senators for keeping jobs in the arts and supporting public art and museums. On its website, it references Ensign’s voting record and his floor speech on the stimulus bill in 2009: “While Pell Grants, Head Start and the National Endowment for the Arts may be worthwhile projects in their own right, putting billions of dollars into them will not stimulate the economy.”

An Americans for the Arts study released in 2007 surveyed 156 communities and reported that Clark County’s nonprofit arts and cultural groups generated more than $200 million and supported more than 5,800 jobs equivalent to full-time work. The organization says more than 25,000 jobs in Nevada are related to the arts.

The Americans for the Arts Action Fund hopes the report card will inspire voters to consider lawmakers who “realize the value of the arts in fueling creativity and innovation, educating our children, enriching lives and strengthening communities.”

To be fair, Ensign is one of 28 senators who received failing grades, but 12 were picked to geographically cover the map evenly. Joining him on the list are senators John McCain, Tom Coburn, Russ Feingold, George LeMieux, Mike Crapo, Mitch McConnell, David Vitter, Judd Gregg, Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

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