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May 4, 2015

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Nevada Wonk


Shelley Berkley accuses Dean Heller of being out of touch with Nevadans

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Shelley Berkley

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Dean Heller

Rep. Shelley Berkley's first campaign appearance in the race for U.S. Senate provided an early look at the talking points she'll push heading into the 2012 election.

Berkley, along with several speakers invited by her campaign, stressed repeatedly that Heller is out of touch with Nevadans, favors rich executives over the middle class and promotes a job-killing agenda.

"I don't think that my opponent has his priorities straight," Berkley said Thursday during the news conference at UNLV.

Berkley visited her alma mater to promote the clean energy technologies students there are developing. But the event was more about the upcoming election than green energy.

"The choice for 2012 could not be more clear," Berkley said.

Berkley, a Democrat, criticized Heller, a Republican, for two recent votes. She wanted to highlight the differences in their records.

Heller voted to end Department of Energy loan guarantees for clean energy projects and voted in favor of tax breaks for big oil companies. Berkley supported the loan guarantees and opposed the incentives.

Without loan guarantees, renewable energy projects such as a solar-thermal plant being built in Tonopah would be shuttered, Berkley said. The Tonopah project will create 600 jobs.

Berkley said Heller instead sided with oil companies to approve lucrative tax breaks and incentives for the industry.

"Do big oil companies need more tax subsidies?" Berkley asked. "I don't think so. What we need to be doing is putting our resources into creating a whole economy based on green jobs."

Heller's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Four speakers, all in renewable energy fields, echoed Berkley in saying Heller's votes would leave them unemployed or kill projects they are developing.

"Dean Heller chose who he stands with. He doesn't stand with middle-class Nevadans," electrician Mark Williams said.

"Clean energy is not so much about the environment but (about) property owners saving money and creating jobs," energy efficiency contractor Chris Cadwell added.

As for the politics of the race, Berkley said Gov. Brian Sandoval's decision to appoint Heller to fill the vacancy left by Sen. John Ensign's resignation is not a game changer. She downplayed any incumbency advantage Heller might receive.

"Nothing has changed for me," she said. "It doesn't matter what title my opponent has, he's still the same person with the same voting record."

Berkley questioned Sandoval's choice to spend "up to $1 million" on a special election in the 2nd Congressional District (particularly when schools and social services are facing cuts) but admitted she couldn't say that she wouldn't accept a similar appointment if the tables were turned and it had been offered to her.

Berkley will continue her campaign tour Friday. She is scheduled to make a similar presentation in Reno.

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  1. Hearing these words spill out of Shelley's mouth after knowing who she used to work for and what she has said in her career is well....unfathomable. Someone who used to work for one of the largest casino operators in the world and flat out told him to "donate money to judges to obtain favorable rulings" is pretty much the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black.

  2. At least she thinks about the issues as opposed to blindly following party ideology.

  3. Why was the Heller family race car at the house of a BIG pot grower and right wing radio station ranter? Why was it seized by the Government?

  4. Hilarious.

  5. Dean Heller's voting record:

  6. How many of you are veterans and know Shelly Berkley is responsible for the new VA hospital? Republicans in general over look the help vets need when returning home. Take a peek at McCain's voting record on veteran affairs, go figure.

  7. She's right. Heller's thoughts are controled by the Koch brothers & Frank Lutz. Heller mimics the same old lines whenever a microphone is put near any republicant's.

  8. As a 69-year-old senior citizen, who planned carefully for retirement, I never thought I would have to be concerned about having my Medicare taken way. Senator Ryan's Budget wants to gut Medicare as we know it and we would have to pay insurance premiums of at least $6,000 per years, not to mention that there would be no more filling of the donut hole on our prescriptions. I would not be able to afford these outrageous premiums or raises in prescriptions. Dean Heller voted for Ryan's Budget plan. He doesn't care about the middle class seniors. He just follows along like a puppy and does as he is told. Shelly Berkley has always watched out for the senior citizens and she will continue to care for us. When Bush wanted to do away with Social Security she fought for us. She has years of excellent experience and cares about her constituents. The choice is clear to me Shelly Berkley has my vote! I would not trust Dean Heller.