Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2019

Currently: 59° — Complete forecast


For US Senate, Jacky Rosen is our choice


Wade Vandervort

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) speaks with Greenspun Junior High School teachers and students from the schools three winning robotics teams, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. The VEX IQ Robotics teams recently won the State Championship Tournament and have been invited to represent Nevada in the 2018 VEX Robotics Worlds Competition this April in Louisville, Kentucky.

As a calming presence who understands the strength of bipartisanship, Jacky Rosen shines as a reason for hope that the Donald Trump- fueled polarization of U.S. politics can be overcome.

As a congresswoman, Rosen showed herself to be a throwback leader who worked across the aisle to an exceptional degree while others dug in to serve their party over the interests of the people they represent.

With her focus on issues that affect Nevadans most deeply — health care, women’s rights, the environment, gun safety and many more — she’s the kind of leader Nevada should have in Washington. In fact, she’s the kind of leader every state should have.

Although her opponents have characterized Rosen as a puppet of the Democratic leadership, particularly Nancy Pelosi, the attack is groundless.

Rosen joined the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group available only to lawmakers who join with a member of their opposing party.

While it’s true that Rosen and Pelosi aligned on many issues — as did all Democrats — ProPublica reported that Rosen broke ranks on 38 major votes, including on such issues as Veterans Administration whistleblower protection and tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families (both of which Rosen favored). In those and other cases, Rosen voted independently and prioritized Nevadans’ best interests ahead of partisan politics.

She also was ranked No. 5 in bipartisanship among freshman members of the House in a Quorum Magazine analysis based on the number of bills cosponsored by House members. Furthermore, she was among only 13 Democrats who were eligible for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award. Keep in mind, there are 193 Democrats in the House.

Rosen also has been a champion of women’s issues, strongly opposing efforts to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood and supporting the Affordable Care Act. Her experience in the male-dominated profession of computer technology also shows in her work in the House, such as the bipartisan Code Like a Girl Act, which was aimed at encouraging girls under 11 to study computer science.

On gun safety, Rosen’s support of such reasonable legislation as a ban on bump stocks earned her an F grade from the NRA, while the organization gave Sen. Dean Heller an A and its endorsement.

On immigration, Rosen’s leadership includes speaking out against child detention at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling for a permanent solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and pushing back strongly against Trump’s travel ban.

Her initiatives on climate science and renewable energy include bills to repeal Trump’s tariffs on solar panels and extend the electric vehicle tax credit. She also has helped lead opposition to the administration’s efforts to downsize the Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments, two of Nevada’s natural jewels.

Rosen has a deep and wide-ranging understanding of Southern Nevada’s needs. She worked for a time as a food server at Caesars Palace early in her adult life and later served as president of Congregation Ner Tamid, the largest Jewish reform synagogue in the valley.

Rosen has been a consistent defender of the groups who have been targeted by Trump and right-wing extremists — women, immigrants and Muslims among them. Simply put, a vote for her is a vote against the spread of Trump’s brand of authoritarianism and division, and for the return of bipartisanship in Washington.

Nevada needs her. The nation needs her as well.

Sen. Dean Heller is unfit to serve Nevada

Heller has proved to Nevadans that they can no longer trust him to represent their interests. With his flip-flops on the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood, and his full embrace of Trump’s extremist agenda, Heller has demonstrated a visible lack of character.

This is a man who initially made the right call by saying he “vehemently” opposed Trump during the 2016 campaign but then rolled over when Trump threatened his job for holding out on GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare.

Ever since Trump made his threat — telling Heller in July 2017 that “you’re going to be there” on the ACA repeal effort and then remarking, “He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” — Heller has betrayed Nevada. With an empty grin, Heller showed he was willing to throw his state under the bus and become a puppet for Trump. It was stunning to see such sheer cowardice, with Heller buckling instantly.

Heller certainly wasn’t the first senator to betray his state for a president, but his sellout was one of the starkest modern examples of Senate spinelessness. His uncomfortable smile and palpable fear of being subjected to a rage tweet made the moment an unmistakable coda to his tenure in the Senate, which must end now.

His betrayal was on full display just nine days after Trump sweated him, when Heller voted in favor of the so-called “skinny” repeal of Obamacare.

Now, his turnaround is complete. At a Trump rally last month in Las Vegas, Heller told him it had been “an honor to work with you,” and Trump said he and Heller “love each other.”

But such flip-flops are nothing new for Heller. One memorable example came during a town hall in April 2017 when Heller stated, “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood” and “I will protect Planned Parenthood” but then immediately backtracked and said he would “continue to look at the issue.”

A more recent instance came when Heller described sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “hiccup” in the judge’s confirmation process, then had to put out a statement the next day saying he did not believe “sexual assault allegations of any kind are a hiccup.”

Among Heller’s acts of quivering cowardice, his flip-flops on Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act remain the most haunting illustrations of his weak character. At first, he joined Gov. Brian Sandoval, a moderate Republican, in sharply criticizing the Republicans’ initial ACA repeal bill, saying, “I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.” Yet all it took was a harsh glance from Trump for Heller to break with Sandoval and other moderates and vote for the skinny repeal, which according to the Congressional Budget Office would have removed health care coverage for 16 million Americans and boosted health insurance premiums by 20 percent over the next 10 years.

Only the bravery of the late Sen. John McCain from Arizona stopped the skinny repeal madness.

Heller, meanwhile, has abandoned Nevadans in favor of protecting his own career. He is independent only in his TV ads.

You can’t be for immigration reform — a critical issue not only to Las Vegas’ primary industry but also to hundreds of thousands of people living in Nevada — and also be for Trump’s barbaric idea of reform, which is to separate children from their parents at the border and confine them to cages with little hope of reunification.

You can’t be for Planned Parenthood and the thousands of Nevada women who rely on it as their primary health provider and also be for Trump’s view that it should disappear like a rabbit in a magic act on the Strip.

You also can’t accuse Rosen of being a puppet and also be so obviously and thoroughly beholden to Trump.

Just as Trump has shown no interest in being the president for all Americans, Heller’s flip-flopping, cowardice and careerism prove he has no business being in a position where he’s supposed to be serving all Nevadans.

Rosen, conversely, understands that being a senator means representing everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, their religion, their socioeconomic standing, their gender, their sexual identity or their party affiliation.

Rosen is the only choice for the office at this critical juncture for our democracy, with the nation poised to either stand up for our values of fairness and inclusion, or follow Trump further down his path of nationalism and authoritarianism.

In a national climate filled with hate and invective, with a sitting senator who defies Nevada’s needs and values, Rosen is an antidote. She is a candidate not filled with hate. She is a candidate who stands for working together to solve our problems. She is a candidate who keeps Nevada’s issues close to her heart and stands on principle.

Nevada deserves a senator like Rosen who has a firm grip on Nevada’s issues, believes strongly in working with others and who possesses an impeccable character and values. It is time to put the political bankruptcy of Heller’s behavior behind us and look toward a better future with Rosen.

When it comes to vision, character and solutions, Rosen towers over Heller.