Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004 | 2:28 a.m.
Six Democrats are running in the Sept. 7 primary to face off against freshman Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev.
The candidates are running in a congressional district that was formed two years ago and has a similar number of Republicans and Democrats.
Former casino executive Tom Gallagher, 59, is considered the front-runner -- he's the only Democrat to have run television ads and he made an appearance at a rally given for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in Las Vegas.
He bills himself as someone who lived the American dream by growing up in a working-class family, putting himself through Harvard Law School and eventually becoming the chief executive of Park Place Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment.
Gallagher supports tax cuts for middle-class families but would work to roll back cuts for families in the upper-income levels.
Gallagher would increase funding for veterans health care and Nevada Check Up, a program that provides health care to more than 25,000 Nevada children. He also said he would work to change the Medicare prescription drug law that prohibits the government from buying drugs in bulk from drug companies to lower prices. He also pledged to work to fully fund No Child Left Behind.
Mark John Budetich Jr., 42, is a merchant mariner. Budetich received 31 percent of the district's Democratic primary vote in 2002, when he lost to Democratic nominee Dario Herrera.
Budetich said his experience traveling around the world has given him insights for the job as a congressman. He wants to increase port security to ensure all international cargo is inspected and tracked.
Rick DeVoe, 47, is a journeyman mechanic. DeVoe has carved himself out as the most ardent anti-war candidate, with a slogan of "Peace Is Patriotic." He is a longtime grass-roots activist.
DeVoe supports universal health care coverage, collective bargaining rights for employees, overtime pay for all workers, stricter campaign finance reform and more government transparency, so that all meetings with lobbying groups are required to be open to the public.
He would fight Yucca Mountain, treaties such as NAFTA and GATT and push to internationalize the effort in Iraq.
Anna Nevenic, 57, is a registered nurse and author. Nevenic, who first ran for Congress in California in 1992, has written several books on social issues and believes that only people without ties to special interests can make a difference in Washington.
Too many people do not have health insurance, and when they do, much of their premiums go to insurance companies instead of to patient care, Nevenic said. She also would fight to ensure children are educated to enter the global economy. Instead of putting people in jail for drug offenses, she said she would provide more money for education and rehabilitation.
Shanna Phillips, 29, is a government teacher. Phillips focuses her campaign on two issues, protecting Social Security and improving education opportunities.
The current state of the economy puts Social Security at risk, said Phillips, who said she thinks the government takes too many chances with the social security money it collects.
She also points out that studies show that students who learn from teachers with post-graduate degrees often outscore other students on standardized tests. She would encourage teacher competency testing and provide more money for extra-curricular activities for students.
Ron Von Felden, 61, is an attorney. A former prosecutor and former public defender, he now is a general practitioner in Henderson.
He would fight Yucca Mountain, put a fast track on research into new technologies to replace gasoline-powered vehicles and cut taxes for middle-class families while increasing taxes for upper-class families. He would also develop affordable child care, federal grants for school districts such as Clark County that are experiencing extreme growth and work for the ability for Medicare to negotiate for senior prescription drugs in bulk.
Libertarian Joseph P. Silvestri and Independent America Richard Wayne O'Dell do not have primaries and will appear on the Nov. 2 general-election ballot.