Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Two Southern Nevadans are running for re-election to Congress and both have shown themselves to be strong and able lawmakers.
In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Las Vegas Democrat, is running for re-election on a strong record forged over the past 12 years. She has proved to be a tireless and diligent worker for her constituents over the years. Berkley has been a champion of seniors and veterans. A former Nevada System of Higher Education regent, she has been an advocate for education. She has consistently provided support for Nevada’s businesses and industry, and she has been firm in her stance against making Nevada a nuclear waste dump.
A respected lawmaker, Berkley has worked well with her colleagues and worked with Nevada’s other members of Congress to bring federal support to the state. Four years ago, Berkley was rewarded for her hard work by being appointed to the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, becoming only the third Nevadan to take a seat on the committee. That has given her a greater voice in deliberations on key legislation.
Berkley has done an excellent job representing Nevada and her district. The Sun endorses Shelley Berkley.
Rep. Dina Titus, a Las Vegas Democrat, was elected in 2008 in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District after serving two decades in the state Legislature. The former minority leader in the state Senate, she has quickly made a name for herself in Congress. Titus has been much more active and visible than the typical freshman. She has been involved in molding legislation and has spoken for her caucus on education issues.
Titus is being challenged in her re-election bid by Republican Joe Heck, a physician and former state senator. Heck has criticized Titus’ votes for many crucial bills, including the health care and Wall Street reforms, despite saying he agreed with some of the key provisions of the legislation.
Heck has tried to paint Titus as a tax-and-spend liberal, but that isn’t the case. A National Journal review of lawmakers’ votes determined Titus to be a centrist. Titus has split with her party on several key issues, including additional funding for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. She initially opposed the health care bill, objecting to provisions that she said would hurt families and small business. She voted for it after getting those provisions changed.
Titus has been an outspoken advocate for her constituents, particularly homeowners hit hard by the economic crisis. She has worked diligently to marshal federal support.
One of the most notable differences between Titus and Heck is their stances on Yucca Mountain, the proposed high-level nuclear waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Nevada’s opposition to Yucca Mountain over the years has been bipartisan and nearly unanimous among the state’s leaders. However, this year many GOP candidates in Nevada have softened their opposition as Republican leaders in Congress have disregarded safety and scientific problems with the plans. They have made clear their desire to dump at least 77,000 tons of deadly radioactive material in the state.
In an interview with the Sun’s editorial board, Heck refused to rule out Yucca Mountain as a waste dump, saying the process to approve it should “go to completion,” a view that puts him at odds with the rest of Nevada’s congressional delegation.
Meanwhile, Titus has taken a stand for Nevadans’ safety, steadfastly opposing Yucca Mountain.
The bottom line: Titus has worked hard for her constituents and been a great advocate for her district and Nevada. She is experienced, knowledgeable and has a track record of success. The Sun endorses Dina Titus.