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November 18, 2018

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Election Guide:

Candidates for federal offices share their stances on the issues

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Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., talk before a Memorial Day ceremony in Boulder City, Monday, May 28, 2018. They will now battle for Heller’s Senate seat in the general election.

Nevada residents are nearing the end of an election cycle that has repeatedly been called one of the most consequential in a generation and will deliver a message of support or condemnation to President Donald Trump.

Democrats saw the Silver State as a bright spot in 2016, when Republicans came out on top nationally. This year, Nevada is the home of a competitive Senate race as well as two House seats. With a high number of women candidates, the state could also elect the country's first female-majority Legislature. Early voting runs until November 2, with Election Day on November 6.

Nationally, the GOP has a narrow lead in the Senate and 42 more seats than Democrats in the House.

U.S. SENATE

Jacky Rosen vs. Dean Heller (incumbent)

Rep. Rosen, D-Nev., is seeking Heller's Senate seat after her first term in Congress. The former synagogue president opened up the 3rd Congressional District race by deciding to run against Heller. Heller, the incumbent, was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval in 2011 and won the seat in 2012. Heller and Trump have been at odds on health care, and Trump recently said at a Las Vegas campaign rally that he and Heller weren’t always friends, but have “started to love each other.” Heller’s campaign has not provided stances on policies or made Heller available for an interview despite multiple requests. Here are their stances on several key issues:

On repealing and replacing Obamacare:

Rosen says: “Congress needs to work in a bipartisan way to fix the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it. ... We should start by ending the politically motivated sabotage, stabilizing the health care marketplaces and funding the cost-sharing reduction payments that will help lower premiums for working families. I also support efforts to reduce prescription drug costs by capping out-of-pocket costs, address Nevada’s doctor shortages by increasing the number of Medicare-supported residency positions, and creating a Medicaid buy-in option for health insurance.

Heller voted against one of the GOP's efforts to toss Obamacare but ultimately voted with Republicans, though repeal efforts were later blocked.

On coverage and care for patients with pre-existing conditions:

Rosen says: “I’ve introduced a resolution to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions against a Republican lawsuit trying to overturn those protections in federal court.

Heller introduced a bill that seeks to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Experts say the bill provides the illusion of protection, where, for example, insurers can sell a plan to a patient with a brain tumor but not cover the care required for that condition.

On Medicare for All:

Rosen says: “I believe the best path forward is working together to build on and improve the Affordable Care Act. One of the biggest ways I want to improve the ACA and expand access to affordable health care is creating a public health insurance option. That’s why I helped introduce a bill that would empower people to have the option of buying into the Medicaid program. The State Public Option Act would allow states to offer individuals of any income level the option of opting in to Medicaid and paying for their coverage with premiums, and Medicaid would be offered as an option alongside private health insurance plans in the ACA marketplace.

No Senate Republican has signed onto the bill.

On bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines:

Rosen says: “I’m supporting plans in Congress to fully ban bump stock devices and prohibit the sale of high-capacity magazines.

Heller said: “I applaud the Department of Justice for issuing a proposed rule that will ban bump stocks,” Heller said in a March 23 statement. No Senate Republican has signed onto a ban on semiautomatic weapons that also includes a ban on large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices.

On expanded background checks for all private gun sales:

Rosen says: “I supported Question 1 in 2016 to expand background checks and close the gun show loophole in Nevada, and I still want to see the will of our state’s voters enforced. ... I’m co-sponsoring bills in Congress that would expand background checks to all commercial gun sales and establish a Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention to investigate and report on the causes of mass shootings, ways to improve the background checks system and solutions for closing dangerous loopholes.”

Heller's stance is unclear.

On concealed carry reciprocity:

Rosen says: “I voted against the Republicans’ concealed carry ‘reciprocity’ plan last year. ... I think Nevadans should decide on the standards to obtain these licenses, not other states.”

Heller is an original cosponsor on the Senate's Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would require all states to recognize permits issued by other states. The bill stalled this year.

On building a wall along the Mexican border:

Rosen says: “I support reasonable border security measures, but I believe building a wall is ineffective in terms of actually securing the U.S.-Mexico border and is a waste of taxpayer money. ... I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to full and equal citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are playing by the rules, staying out of trouble and contributing to our economy. I also support plans to provide permanent relief and a path to citizenship for the thousands of hardworking Dreamers and TPS recipients who call Nevada home.

Heller told NBC News that he’s “always supported the border wall.” He sponsored a bill that provides a path to a “provisional protected presence.”

On Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump:

Rosen says: “I’ve been working tirelessly in the House to help ensure Nevada does not become a dumping ground for the rest of the nation’s nuclear waste, and I will continue that fight in the Senate.

Heller said: “Whether it’s the threat that Yucca Mountain poses to the people of Southern Nevada or its potentially catastrophic effect on our tourism economy, I’ve made it clear why Nevada does not want to turn into the nation’s nuclear waste dump,” Heller said in a February statement. “I’m going to continue to fight to make sure that this project doesn’t see the light of day.”

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1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

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Congresswoman Dina Titus, D-Nev, speaks during a RiseNVote rally at the Las Vegas Academy Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.

Rep. Dina Titus (incumbent) vs. Joyce Bentley

The district is heavily Democratic, with more than 142,000 active registered voters in September compared with nearly 64,000 Republicans. Nonpartisans outnumber the GOP in the district as well, at nearly 70,000 active registered voters in September, according to the Secretary of State Office's most recent data. Here are the two major candidates' stances on key issues:

On repealing and replacing Obamacare:

Titus says: “I supported the original Obamacare legislation and have consistently opposed repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act because repeal would leave thousands of Nevadans without health insurance.”

Bentley says: “Yes, absolutely. ... You can’t force people to buy something if you’re talking about a free market in the United States. Basically, you’re telling someone that you have to buy something that you don’t want,, and that’s absolutely unconstitutional.”

On coverage and care for patients with pre-existing conditions:

Titus says: “I firmly believe in providing coverage and care for patients with pre-existing conditions because these are the people most often in the greatest need of care.”

Bentley says: “The medical device tax that is in the Affordable Care Act, it prohibits these new innovative medical measures ... With the pre-existing conditions, these new, innovative medical procedures will be nothing.”

On bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines:

Titus says: “Within a month after the October 1 mass shooting in my Las Vegas district, I introduced bipartisan legislation to close the bump stock loophole.

Bentley says: “I believe wholeheartedly in the Second Amendment. To me, it’s what the people want. If there’s a referendum or amendment that the people vote on, I could see getting rid of any kind of firearm. Outside of that, I can’t see getting rid of the Second Amendment.”

On expanded background checks for all private gun sales:

Titus says: “In 2016, I was a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill to strengthen background checks nationwide.... In 2017, I co-sponsored the Fix NICS Act to update the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by ensuring federal and state authorities accurately report criminal history records to the system’s database.”

Bentley says: “I believe in laws already on the books.”

On concealed carry reciprocity:

Titus says: “I am strongly opposed to concealed carry reciprocity legislation.”

Bentley says: “I believe 100 percent on that.”

On building a wall along the Mexican border:

Titus says: “I strongly oppose spending $70 billion of taxpayers’ money to build an ineffective wall along the Mexican border. ... Not only is this a waste of money, it fails to address the real issues of immigration reform. It also would pull funding away from critical national needs such as infrastructure improvements that create jobs, improve education and expand health care.”

Bentley says: “One hundred percent, we need to plug up that hole. We’re talking physical, we’re talking regulational—the wall encompasses a lot of stuff.”

On providing a path to citizenship for any or all immigrants living in the country illegally:

Titus says: “I have supported immigration reform that gives legal status to undocumented immigrants and a pathway to achieving citizenship if they abide by our laws.”

Bentley says: “I understand the plight on both sides, but we are a nation of laws. The laws are already on the books even with the immigration issue. ... There should be some path to citizenship, however, if you came into the country illegally, you must get into the back of the line.”

On Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump:

Titus says: “I have fought every step by the federal government to dump nuclear waste in Nevada.”

Bentley says: “I wholeheartedly don’t want anybody else’s garbage in my backyard. However, to caveat that, I want to have an independent study in regards to the whole idea behind nuclear waste. I have come across a lot of documentation regarding what nuclear waste actually is, and it’s not as scary, and it’s not as damaging and hazardous as we’re being told.”

 

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2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

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Mark Amodei speaks at a victory party in Reno, Nev., Sept. 13, 2011, after defeating Democrat Kate Marshall in a special election for Nevada's 2nd Congressional District.

Clint Koble vs. Rep. Mark Amodei (incumbent)

A Northern Nevada Democrat, Koble is a retiree who used to work for UNR’s college of business. He said he decided to run because of concerns about the Trump administration, especially when it comes to women’s rights. He said he supports funding for Planned Parenthood, which many Republicans have attempted to cut off in Congress. Amodei won his seat in a 2011 special election. His Northern Nevada district is the only Nevada congressional district where Republicans have the advantage in active voter registrations. Here are their stances on key issues:

On repealing and replacing Obamacare:

Koble says: “I was disappointed to see it dismantled. I’m all for restoring the ACA and fixing it. ... A good place to start would have been Medicare Part D, allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs. That would have helped lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Amodei says: “While there are plenty of arguments on how to fix this—regardless of your political views—it’s clear the status quo isn’t working and is in need of serious repair. The aforementioned problems are just a few of the most broken parts of our health care system that Congress attempted to fix last year with the introduction of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), legislation that would have protected Nevada’s health care interests while increasing people’s access to quality and affordable care—from a doctor of their choice.

On coverage and care for patients with pre-existing conditions:

Koble says: “I firmly believe that all of our health care should cover all of our preexisting conditions, and it just takes the political will to do it.

Amodei says: “No one is in support of taking protection away from patients living with pre-existing conditions—period.

On Medicare for All

Koble says: “I am in favor of universal health care, but that’s not going to happen during this administration. My goal in Congress would be to help lower the cost of health care as much as possible.

No Republican has signed onto the House's Medicare for All bill.

On bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines:

Koble says: “I do support the Second Amendment—I’m not in favor of taking everybody’s guns away. But that being said, I oppose assault weapons, bump stocks, silencers, magazines that hold a hundred bullets and things like that.

Amodei says: “I encourage the ATF to expeditiously revisit its past actions in approving devices where the primary purpose appears to be the transformation of legal firearms into illegal fully automatic firearms.

On expanded background checks for all private gun sales:

Koble says: “I do support the Second Amendment—I’m not in favor of taking everybody’s guns away. But that being said, I oppose assault weapons, bump stocks, silencers, magazines that hold a hundred bullets and things like that.

Amodei says: “The Fix NICS Act was signed into law in March. ... However, there is still more work that needs to be done, as it is evident there are many factors at play. So before categorizing this solely as a gun violence issue, I would suggest reviewing the other facts surrounding this debate, such as mental health, gaps in our current system and the responsibilities of our law enforcement officials and academic institutions.

On concealed carry reciprocity:

Koble says: “I was not in favor of concealed carry reciprocity. ... I think states should be able to make their own laws on that.

Amodei voted in favor of this legislation.

On building a wall along the Mexican border:

Koble says: “Show me a 50-foot wall, I’ll show you a 52-foot ladder. I’m totally opposed to building a wall. It’s a terrible waste of resources; it’ll be ineffective.

Amodei says: “The omnibus appropriations bill Congress passed in April allocates $47.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. … This funding will provide more than 90 miles of border wall systems, going beyond the administration’s request for 74 miles.”

On providing a path to citizenship for any or all immigrants living in the country illegally:

Koble says: “Providing that they’re law-abiding residents and that they’re already here, I think we should provide a pathway. I’m against sending them back and then having them return. That makes no sense. We wouldn’t have the resources to do that, and it would be a huge interruption. In many, many communities, it’d be an interruption in business, so I think we need to find a pathway.”

Amodei says: “The status quo with respect to border security and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unacceptable. This is why I supported ... legislation that would have increased border security, prevented further illegal immigration, kept families together and offered a legislative solution for the DACA program.

On Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump:

Koble says: “All the science I’ve read says it’s not a good idea, but more importantly, an overwhelming percentage of Nevadans are against it, including the governor.

Amodei says: “I have always said I do not believe Yucca Mountain should be a simple dumping site for our nation’s nuclear waste. Additionally, I have always been cognizant that policy makers should not consider Yucca Mountain to be a ‘dead’ issue, meaning Nevada’s congressional delegation should use legislation as an opportunity to dictate the terms of the repository under the best conditions for our state.

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3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

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Danny Tarkanian reacts as Sen. Lindsey Graham's, R-S.C., speaks during a campaign office event, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

Susie Lee vs. Danny Tarkanian

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Susie Lee, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, speaks during a gun violence roundtable with Capt. Mark Kelly, his wife former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords, gun violence survivors, student activists, and community leaders at UNLV Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

Lee is a founding director of an education nonprofit organization and is a supporter of public education. She's running to replace Senate candidate and current Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. The seat is key for Democrats as they look to not just maintain their numbers, but take control of the House this year. Tarkanian, whose father coached UNLV basketball to a national championship, has run for Congress twice before, briefly ran for a Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents seat, U.S. and state Senate seats, and secretary of state. Here are their stances on key issues:

On repealing and replacing Obamacare:

Lee says: “I do not support repealing the Affordable Care Act, which led to a dramatic expansion in the number of Nevadans receiving health insurance. Instead, I’d like to see common sense, bipartisan measures to stabilize the individual insurance market, take on Big Pharma and fight for transparency in pharmaceutical pricing, and allow Medicare to negotiate and bring down the costs of prescription drugs.

Tarkanian says: “The problem with the Affordable Care Act, it’s not affordable for the hardworking, middle-class Americans who are paying for their own health insurance. Because of that, it needs to be replaced. There are some good aspects to Obamacare. ... But the problem with Obamacare, and the reason why the cost has gone up, is it’s eliminating virtually all competition in the health insurance industry.”

On coverage and care for patients with pre-existing conditions:

Lee says: “I have unequivocally supported requirements for insurance companies to cover patients with pre-existing conditions.

Tarkanian says: “People with pre-existing conditions should be provided health insurance at a reasonable cost. ... The better approach, instead of forcing the middle-class Americans who are paying their own health insurance to pay four or five times their premiums, and six times their copay, is to have high-risk pools that the federal government subsidizes.

On bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines:

Lee says: “I support some common sense measures to make our communities safer, while also respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. These include universal background checks for all gun sales, a bump stock ban and limiting the size of magazines.

Tarkanian says: “There should be a ban on bump stocks. Bump stocks were a way to get around the automatic weapon restrictions. ... I don’t believe eliminating the number of magazines is going to decrease the mass murders that are here in the United States.”

On concealed carry reciprocity:

Lee says: “I do not believe that Nevadans should be forced to have our own gun safety laws overridden by other states.

Tarkanian says: “There needs to be some minimal standards that all states have to follow for the concealed weapon carry so that some states aren’t just giving it out to everybody without having them go through the training and so forth. ... And then it only makes sense in today’s mobile society that people that have gone through the training to have concealed should be able to take it with them when they travel across one border to the next.

On building a wall along the Mexican border:

Lee says: “Border security is an integral part of immigration reform. That said, I do not support spending tens of billions of dollars on a wall, when we could make smarter, more cost-effective border security decisions. We need to better secure ports of entry, ensure funding for Customs and Border Protection, and utilize smart technology along the border to keep our country safe.

Tarkanian says: “We need to secure borders with the best means possible, taking into account the cost of what it’s going to be to build whatever needs to be done to protect the borders. ... We need to have mechanisms in place across the border to protect us and secure our country’s borders, and a border wall should be part of that in whatever areas it’s most efficient.

On providing a path to citizenship for any or all immigrants living in the country illegally:

Lee says: “I support comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, protects Dreamers, reforms our visa system and provides an opportunity for hard-working immigrants to play by the rules and earn citizenship.

Tarkanian says: “I don’t believe we should be providing a path to citizenship to people who came to the country illegally. We should provide a path to legal residency for the people who have come here illegally that have proven to be law-abiding, American-loving, productive residents of our country.

On Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump:

Lee says: “I believe dumping nuclear waste so close to Las Vegas is fundamentally dangerous both to our families’ safety and to our economic growth. Nevada leaders in both parties have stood up to the federal government’s efforts to force this dangerous project on Nevadans for decades, and I will join the bipartisan opposition to Yucca mountain.

Tarkanian says: “My approach is the common sense, responsible approach, and that is to turn Yucca Mountain into a recycling facility for nuclear spent fuel. They do it all around the world. ... We have over 100 above-ground sites that are storing nuclear spent fuel right now next to major metropolitan areas. That’s a high risk. Something needs to be done to eliminate that risk.

 

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4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

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Steven Horsford, Democratic candidate for Nevada's Fourth Congressional District, speaks during a RiseNVote rally at the Las Vegas Academy Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.

Steve Horsford vs. Cresent Hardy

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Cresent Hardy, Republican candidate for Congress in Nevada's 4th congressional district, speaks during a criminal justice reform roundtable at the Hope For Prisoners offices Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. Hope For Prisoners is a nonprofit organization that helps ex-offenders reenter the workforce.

Horsford moved his family to the East Coast after he was elected to the House in 2012, and his wife continued to live there to pursue her career after he lost his seat in 2014. Horsford runs a consulting business in Nevada. A Northern Nevadan and small-business owner, Hardy is in a rematch against the incumbent he won the seat from, Steven Horsford, before losing it to Ruben Kihuen in 2016. Hardy's campaign did not provide policy positions on several issues.

On repealing and replacing Obamacare:

Horsford says: “I believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. No one should go bankrupt trying to pay their medical bills.

Hardy said: “The federal government should not be forcing unfunded mandates such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) upon the states,” Hardy says on his campaign website. “This sort of top-down legislation from the federal government comes with many unintended consequences, and places tremendous burden upon the businesses and employers that drive our economy.”

On coverage and care for patients with pre-existing conditions:

Horsford says: “We cannot go back to a system where insurance companies charge older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions even more.

Hardy voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act while he was in Congress.

On bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines:

Horsford says: “We need common sense gun safety legislation that includes universal background checks, reinstating the assault weapons ban and banning bump stocks.”

Hardy said: “I have no problem getting rid of a bump stock, but an assault rifle is nothing more than an automatic weapon that I use also for hunting,” Hardy told reporter Daria Sokolova. “This is nothing more than a step to try to take away my Second Amendment right, in my opinion.”

On expanded background checks for all private gun sales:

Horsford says: “I believe in universal background checks because they will make our communities more safe.

Hardy “opposes the Obama/Clinton/Bloomberg ‘universal’ background check system that would criminalize the private transfer of firearms which, according to the Justice Department, is only enforceable through federal firearms registration,” according to the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.

On concealed carry reciprocity:

Horsford says: “The last thing we need is new legislation that unwinds the minimal protections we have in law that protect our communities from gun violence.

Hardy's stance: “Cosponsored right-to-carry reciprocity legislation, which would ensure that law-abiding Americans with the legal right to carry concealed would be able to carry their firearm for self-defense in any other state,” according to the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.

On building a wall along the Mexican border:

Horsford says: "I understand the need to put together a bipartisan coalition to fix our broken immigration system. We need to strengthen and protect our borders, but wasting money on a wall is not the answer. Border security is not the same as building a wall.

Hardy's stance is unclear. “Our borders must remain secure, and we must at all times be cognizant of the rising threat from those who wish to do us harm, both foreign and domestic,” Hardy says on his website.

On providing a path to citizenship for any or all immigrants living in the country illegally:

Horsford says: “We need an earned pathway to citizenship, certainty for Dreamers who know this country as home, and to stop tearing families apart.

Hardy's stance is unclear. In Congress in 2015, Hardy voted against defunding a move by President Barack Obama to protect some young immigrants from deportation, and then later voted against an expansion for the program, the Las Vegas Sun reported at the time.

On Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump:

Horsford says: “I adamantly oppose storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Years and years of research have taught us that it is unsafe and not scientifically sound. We should not abandon the facility, but put it to better use to create jobs in Nye County.

In the past, Hardy has voiced support for allowing Yucca to move forward if it can be done safely.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.