Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2019

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Nevadans can make a difference, if they vote


John Locher / AP

A woman walks out of a polling place after voting in the Nevada primary election, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Las Vegas.

It’s the child who was taken from her family and locked in a cage, with no idea when or if she’d see her parents again.

It’s the woman who can’t get a cancer screening because there’s only one specialized women’s health care center left in her state, and it’s hours away.

It’s the LGBTQ couple who were turned away from adoption offices because of new laws allowing faith-based groups working in the child welfare system to deny them based on those groups’ religious beliefs.

They are the reasons to vote this year — they and the many, many others whose lives have been damaged amid the rise of right-wing extremism in our nation.

Elections have consequences, including defining who we are as a people. And now we have a chance to show the world that we, as a people, are reasonable, civil and focused on solving problems.

We face an array of serious issues, and we need serious people working on them: fixing education, rebuilding the middle class, ensuring health care is available to everyone, building strong alliances with friends and strong defenses from enemies, encouraging trade, unifying a divided population, ferreting out government corruption, safeguarding our elections, fixing the crushing student load debt problem, propelling sensible businesses growth in Nevada, and many, many more.

If you care about any of these, you must vote.

Nevadans can help make a difference. In recent years, our state has shown what good can come when we elect moderate leaders whose mission is to enact good policy as opposed to advancing an ugly ideological political agenda.

For one, none of what is described above happened here. Our leaders didn’t welcome in the hateful immigration policies of the Trump administration, didn’t close Planned Parenthood clinics, didn’t adopt voting restrictions making it difficult for low-income voters and Americans of color to participate in elections and didn’t eliminate the rights of followers of certain religions, the LGBTQ community and other groups.

We have remained a centrist state where, for the most part, people work together to pick the best ideas from across the political spectrum.

For that, no small amount of credit goes to our moderate Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, who routinely prioritized the best interests of Nevadans over party policy. Whether he was being an early adopter of Medicaid expansion, spearheading a tax increase for public schools or rejecting a proposal by President Donald Trump to use state National Guard forces to round up and deport immigrants, Sandoval stood as a pragmatic yet compassionate public leader.

State legislators largely followed the same model, an exception coming in 2015 when Republicans gained control of both the Assembly and Senate and passed such outrageous laws as a restriction on local governments from passing gun measures that were more strict than state statutes. That law came back to haunt Las Vegas after the Oct. 1 shooting, when local officials learned it was impossible for them to ban bump stocks.

Still, compared to legislatures that were imposing voter restrictions and spending hours on ridiculous measures like bathroom bills, Nevada’s lawmakers have been largely responsible and reasonable.

Our state has thrived. We attracted such businesses as Tesla and Amazon, saw our tourism economy roar back from the recession, invested in our schools and cheered as Las Vegas became a major-league city, among other successes.

Now, to establish a check on Trump and keep Nevada’s congressional delegation from shifting right, we must cast our ballots this year, either during early voting or on Election Day.

So much is at stake — our rights, our unity, our safety, our environment, our vibrant immigrant communities, our American values, our very democracy.

What’s happening elsewhere must stop. Nevada has already shown how much progress can happen when rational, service-oriented leaders are in place. Now, we must continue to lead the way.

Today, the Sun presents a special edition offering our endorsements. We urge readers to give it a look and make plans to vote.

For the future of our state and our nation, there has never been a greater need for us to get involved.