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October 24, 2014

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In Henderson, Heck draws a crowd eager for answers

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Steve Marcus

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., responds to a question during a town hall meeting with constituents at Pacific Pines Senior Apartments in Henderson, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

Heck Hosts Town-Hall Meeting in Henderson

Congressman Joe Heck, R-Nev., smiles as someone's ringtone plays George Thorogood's Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas Valley residents packed the Pacific Pines Senior Center community room Tuesday in Henderson to participate in an open forum discussion with Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.

Red raffle tickets from many of the 95-plus people in the room filled a fishbowl; each one represented a person with a question or concern they wanted the Republican to address. For more than an hour, tickets were selected as Heck fielded questions from the corresponding ticket-holder.

At the forefront of their concerns were gun control, the looming sequester and immigration. The event allowed people a chance to understand where their representative stood on their most pressing issues.

“I’m glad he did this,” Ava Overstreet said about the event. “I just purchased a house in Nevada … so I’m very glad because he’s my representative, and I want to make sure I know his positions.”

Before taking questions, Heck opened up the discussion by explaining his seemingly controversial interview with talk show host Alan Stock on KDWN 720-AM earlier Tuesday. During the interview Heck had said, “I agree,” after Stock finished a complaint that President Barack Obama had used former Rep. Gabby Giffords as a “prop” to push his gun control message in the State of the Union address.

“Contrary to what’s being said, I did not agree to that statement. We were talking about gun control in general,” Heck said. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for Gabby (Giffords) as a colleague.”

Heck proceeded to calmly listen and answer emotional rants, curious inquiries and impassioned pleas about some of the most heated topics debated in Congress. At various times people booed, cheered or nodded to each other’s statements and his responses.

Heck remained consistent in his answers, taking the time to explain his stance or why some issues were out of his control to do anything about.

When asked about immigration, Heck said he would not support amnesty, but wanted to remain open-minded about reform. He also added that he believed the current legal immigration system was broken.

“I said very clearly I do not support amnesty, but said I would not close the door on reviewing proposals for citizenship,” Heck said. “I will continue in that position until I see what those proposals are.”

Several people brought up pleas for more gun control, while others worried about infringements on their Second Amendment rights. Heck said he supported stricter background checks to ensure weapons stay out of the hands of people intent on causing harm. He refused to support bans on assault weapons or high volume cartridges, citing studies that showed they were ineffective.

Brian Fadie said he attended the meeting because he felt Heck had been unclear on his stance on gun control. Heck’s responses left him with a better understanding of where he stood in the debate.

“I was encouraged by his seeming support on universal background checks,” Fadie said. “I heard a lot of good things about expanding background checks, but I think he needs to do more research on the assault weapon ban.”

Still, Heck did not have an answer for everything. Many constituents were concerned about the impending sequester and the consequences the spending cuts would have on them. David Cox Elementary special education teacher Adam Berg worried about it causing even more harm to education in Clark County.

Heck could only assure them that Congress was working on a solution.

“For as many people who don’t want (sequestration) to go through, no one has come up with something to not let it come through,” Heck said. “I don’t want to see sequestration go through. I only hope to be able to vote on something that would allow us to be deliberate with cuts to go through.”

Not all questions were answered in the forum, which was hosted by Nevada HAND, a housing and community development nonprofit group. Even after extending the meeting an extra 30 minutes to field questions, about 20 red tickets remained. Some people were unhappy with Heck’s responses, while others were pleased.

At the end, attendees left with a better understanding of where their representative stood.

“He’s willing to have a conversation with the other side because that’s the only way you can reach an agreement,” Berg said. “I didn’t vote for him, but I support him because I’m a constituent in his district.”

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  1. From what is reported, there was no need for a meeting to know where he stood. Just read his website and contact him from there.

  2. "'Contrary to what's being said, I did not agree to that statement. We were talking about gun control in general,' Heck said. 'I have nothing but the utmost respect for Gabby (Giffords) as a colleague.'"

    I think it's hilarious that Heck goes on Stock's show, which is pretty much the only news media he will appear on, probably because he feels the ultra-right wing slant is a friendly environment for him, says things, nods his head at everything Stock says, but then when called out for his despicable uncaring stance regarding a fellow politician who was shot, he tries to convince everyone he said something else. Can't walk it back, Heck. You did it and you're being held accountable for your words.

    Regarding immigration and any legislation, Heck says, "I will continue in that position until I see what those proposals are."

    That basically means he doesn't want to take a position. Because he knows it's toxic and it will lose him votes. Heck is a political animal only without a single thought in his head that is original. He does what the others in his Tea/Republican Party do. Nothing. He'll vote any sensible legislation down regarding this problem. The Tea/Republicans find it's always better to demonize/dehumanze Hispanic Americans. That's their schtick and they won't abandon it.

    "Heck could only assure them that Congress was working on a solution." (Regarding sequester.)

    What this is short for is the fact that the Tea/Republican Party is committed to do nothing and let it happen. Then later, they are going to try to introduce legislation to give money back to the military and the industry that supports them. As far as all the other things that are cut? No. More jobs will be lost and we will sink into a recession. The only ones who benefit will be the rich and the filthy rich. Everyone else can strangle on their own vomit.

    Heck is committed to strangling this government to death, then drowning the rest of it in the bathtub. All while he participates in government.

    He will never do anything for Nevada. Only when it fits his Tea/Republican Party's mentality. Look at his voting record. Nothing for Nevada, only for his political party on the national level. If Speaker Boehner were to abruptly turn around, he'd break Congressman Heck's nose.

    I'm so glad I no longer have Heck as my Congressman (after re-districting, moved to CD1 with Congresswoman Titus). The guy is a bum that will say anything anytime without any fear of its consequences. He did this before with his statement that "Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme." He only cares for himself. He spends three quarters of his time collecting campaign money. This is one of the rare town hall meetings he shows up at. The only reason he showed up was to do damage control after saying stupid heartless things on a right wing radio show.

    Get smart, CD3. You need to move on. And Heck is not going to serve any of your interests except for his own.

  3. Town Hall meetings don't tell the story about Joe Heck. The real story is Joe Heck's actions and words when in Washington.

    This is how you measure an elected official. The measurement on Joe Heck tells us he is part of the problem in Washington. He is part of the problem in causing harm to America, a part of gridlock in Washington. A Town Hall meeting will not cover or hide the Joe Heck.

    Joe Heck is part of the problem. Joe Heck's record in Washington tell us this much. That's a fact. Why should we believe anything he says?