Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

Four candidates for Congress

The Sun offers its endorsements for the races in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives

Political gridlock in Washington has triggered most of the cynicism expressed by voters as we head into the Nov. 6 election. Congress is supposed to be where action is taken to help move our nation forward, not where progress is stalled.

Nevada needs leaders who can accomplish what needs to be done on behalf of the state and the middle class. Here are our endorsements:

Senate

Republican Sen. Dean Heller is facing Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley for election. Neither are strangers to the political scene. Heller, a Northern Nevadan, has had a long career in public office, serving in the Assembly and as secretary of state before winning a seat in the House of Representatives. He was appointed to the Senate last year. Berkley, a Las Vegan, served in the Assembly and as a university regent before winning a seat in the House, where she has represented Nevada for 14 years.

We have endorsed both Heller and Berkley in past elections. We thought Heller did a good job as the secretary of state, but his performance in Congress has been underwhelming. He holds his party’s ideology above the state’s needs, and he proudly voted twice for the disastrous Ryan budget that would harm seniors and the middle class.

Regarding Heller’s effectiveness, it can be summed up in the Nevada delegation’s push for an online poker bill. His campaign director, Mac Abrams, called Heller “the most relevant person in this process.”

Why? It’s up to him to round up 15 Republican votes, enough to create a filibuster-proof majority to ensure passage of the legislation. Unfortunately, the plan has stalled because he hasn’t been able to secure much beyond his own vote.

On the other hand, Berkley has been a tireless and effective representative for Nevada, and no one has worked harder. Through her work in Congress, she knows the issues facing Nevada — north and south, rural and urban, mining and gaming, small business and large — and she has gotten things done. She has been a driving force in improving care for veterans in Southern Nevada and has been a great champion for tourism, the state’s economic driver. The great complaint against her opponent has lodged against her: She didn’t disclose that her husband is a kidney doctor when she diligently worked with the rest of the delegation to save Nevada’s only kidney transplant center.

Please. She was doing her job, working for the benefit of the state. And that speaks to the kind of representative Shelley Berkley is: dedicated, effective and focused on helping all Nevadans. The Sun endorses Shelley Berkley.

House of Representatives

District 1: Former congresswoman Dina Titus is the clear choice. She is a strong, experienced candidate with a track record of success. Titus served in the state Senate for 20 years and was the minority leader for 15 years. She served a term in Congress before losing a close race two years ago in the Republican wave. Titus is smart, hardworking and understands the issues. Voters should send her back to Washington. The Sun endorses Dina Titus.

District 3: This is a race with two good candidates; we have endorsed them both in the past. Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, a Democrat, has shown himself to be a diligent, hardworking elected official who wants to do what’s right for Nevada.

The same can be said about Republican Rep. Joe Heck. Although we have disagreed with Heck on some issues over the years, we’ve always found him willing to discuss his views, listen to others and, above all, be reasonable. That isn’t an easy thing in a Congress that has been so badly polarized by his party, but Heck has worked to represent his district and put Nevada first. As much as we like Oceguera, we don’t see a need to replace Heck, who has done a solid job in his freshman term. The Sun endorses Joe Heck.

District 4: This has been a tight race between Democratic state Sen. Steven Horsford and Republican Danny Tarkanian, a perennial candidate for office.

The public knows Tarkanian very well — it has turned him down in his three previous attempts for office. Tarkanian has garnered Tea Party support for his positions, which run away from the mainstream to the far right, and the policies he advocates would harm the middle class. The fact that the FDIC won a $17 million judgment against an investment group he led would create a serious conflict for him in the House.

The public also knows Horsford, who has served two terms in the state Senate and has been the Senate majority leader. Horsford has been tempered and tested in public office. However, he has struggled in the polls after a few political missteps, but any mistakes haven’t come in his responsibility to his constituents.

Horsford has been diligent in his efforts to represent Nevadans and help the middle class and those struggling in this economy. The debate in Congress is really about the future of the middle class, and in that respect, the choice is clear. The Sun endorses Steven Horsford.

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  1. Well said, and this is how I voted!

    President Obama wins re-election by 6 to 8 points.