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June 30, 2016

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Michele Fiore heading to Oregon to support Bundy’s cause

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Kyle Roerink

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore appears with Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, in her office Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is answering the call of Ammon Bundy, who, in a recording released today, asked elected officials from across the West to come to the aid of his supporters.

Fiore will travel to Oregon Wednesday to meet with legislators from across the West to advocate for Bundy and the 15 others who were indicted last week on counts of conspiracy and threatening officers during their armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton, a Las Vegas Republican, will travel to Oregon as well for a Thursday news conference, along with a possible third Nevada legislator, Fiore said, though she declined to specify which one.

One of Fiore’s demands is that the authorities release any body camera or dash camera footage of the traffic stop that ended in the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, an Arizona man who had acted as a spokesman for the group. The FBI has released video footage of that traffic stop, but the video does not have any sound and is poor quality, shot at a distance.

“The grainy footage with no audio — it looks like an ambush of tactical guys. It looks like it might have been hired out,” Fiore said. “We have questions.”

Fiore, a Las Vegas Republican who is an outspoken gun rights advocate, pointed to the 2014 Bunkerville standoff by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy’s father, as an example of what could’ve happened in Oregon. That armed standoff ended without bloodshed when the Bureau of Land Management decided to give up on its roundup of Bundy’s cattle, which have been grazing on federal lands for years and continue to do so.

“We had a few Assembly members out there, Homeland Security, plus Metro and rangers. We had a bunch of guns out there — American patriots with guns all over — and guess what? One shot was not fired,” Fiore said. “All our Nevadans were safe. The state of Nevada maybe can teach them a few things about not being so trigger happy.”

Fiore also called the Oregon arrests another instance of the country’s problem with incarceration. She called the treatment of those in jail “abusive, not acceptable, not OK,” and “totally ridiculous.” Bundy said he has been in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

“I personally think we incarcerate way too many folks and the penalties do not fit the crime,” Fiore said. “I’m sorry but you destroy families when you take a family and you lock them up.”

This will be Fiore’s first trip to Oregon since the standoff began in early January, though she has had phone and Skype meetings over the last several weeks with standoff participants, she said. She extended the invitation for Cliven Bundy to attend the meeting, but she said it was primarily for legislators.

Bundy has been in jail for about two weeks, but he has communicated with those outside the jail through his lawyers. His latest statement, recorded on Saturday but released by his lawyers today, was calling Western officials to action.

"This is a call to action for any elected representative in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, the state of Washington and Ohio,'' Bundy said. "You have constituents in federal custody. Please visit and contact them to voice your support for free speech, the right to assemble and civil disobedience.''

Fiore said she has no plans to stay in Oregon for an extended period of time.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do here. I’m in the middle of a congressional campaign,” Fiore said. “And Nevada knows no matter what, I defend my folks here in Nevada.”

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