Sunday, June 23, 2013 | 2 a.m.
If you travel around the new 1st Congressional District, you can see signs of economic recovery everywhere. Just as redistricting altered the borders of the district this year, the economic progress and ongoing revitalization of our community are also ushering in changes for it. Although we still have a long way to go to fully recover from the recession and housing crisis, our entrepreneurial spirit has re-emerged, bringing with it a bright outlook for the “New, New District 1.”
The development of Resorts World Las Vegas marks the Strip’s first large-scale project since the Great Recession. Remodeling of the Sahara into a new SLS Vegas boutique hotel is well underway, and construction of Caesars’ observation wheel is nearly complete. From attracting new foreign investments to creating good-paying jobs for our construction and hospitality workforce, these projects on the Strip will usher in economic benefits for Las Vegas.
Downtown Las Vegas is also undergoing an incredible revitalization that epitomizes the best of public-private partnerships. Community leaders such as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Mayor Carolyn Goodman are turning downtown into a hip new area that is attracting small businesses, high-tech companies and real estate investors. The Smith Center, museums and art galleries further enliven the downtown area.
From the Hispanic Eastside to the Asian strip along Spring Mountain Road, there are many new ethnic restaurants, markets and shops popping up across the district — such as Viva Las Arepas, World of Feng Shui and Maurel XV Boutique. These new family-owned and -operated businesses enrich our community, enhance our economy, and reflect the different cultural heritages and traditions that contribute to the district. The most diverse in the state, our district is also home to Greek and Armenian churches, African markets and Irish pubs. This exciting global community highlights the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
I like to say, “If it’s happening in Nevada, it’s very likely happening in District 1.” But, in order to continue making progress and fulfill this promising outlook, we must strengthen our travel and tourism industries and make smart investments in our future.
I am proud to once again serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee because Nevada’s economy depends on moving people and products in ways that are quicker, friendlier, easier and cheaper. From tourists to lobsters, we import almost everything from around the world. It is crucial that we have 21st-century infrastructure to make it all work.
That’s why developing new transportation projects is a challenge we must take on, including the construction of a high-speed train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and the Interstate 11 project that will connect Las Vegas to Phoenix. I am also working with the state’s economic development offices to make Las Vegas and Reno multimodal inland ports to facilitate the flow of people and goods from the Pacific and Latin America.
The development of effective and efficient transportation is just one step to strengthening Southern Nevada’s economic lifeblood; attracting travelers is another. As part of my efforts to promote tourism, I have worked to increase competition in the airline industry to help drive down costs for travelers. I’ve also supported efforts to expand the Transportation Security Administration Pre-Check program to encourage more travel by reducing wait times at our nation’s airports while simultaneously making the skies more secure.
Similarly, the Protecting Resort Cities from Discrimination Act will prohibit policies that blacklist Las Vegas and other well-known tourist destinations from hosting legitimate federal government business. In the past, such meetings were located so as to avoid any stigma with the “resort” or “casino” name, despite the fact that no place provides greater value and convenience for conventioneers and business travelers than Las Vegas.
To further expand our tourism base, I’ve supported the Travel Promotion Act to attract more international travel to the U.S. and advocated amending the visa program to bring more international tourists from Brazil, Israel, China and India to Las Vegas.
To highlight new and exciting projects and events that epitomize our entrepreneurial spirit, I will use the hashtag #OnlyInDistrict1 on Twitter @RepDinaTitus, and I encourage people to join the conversation. I am excited to be the representative of the “New, New District 1.” We have the opportunity to continue the revitalization and diversification of our economy and community, which will have ripple effects across Nevada. I hope district residents will see me as their advocate and call on me any time.
Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., represents Nevada’s 1st Congressional District.