Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2019

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Where I Stand:

We must find common ground


Steve Marcus

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., listens to a question during a news conference at the Nevada State Democratic Party headquarters in Las Vegas Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

As he does every August, Brian Greenspun is taking some time off and is turning over his Where I Stand column to others. Today's guest columnist is U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen.

It's no secret that we're living through a time of great political strife and division. Our country and our Congress face many difficult challenges.

However, there is one issue affecting our entire country that is particularly troubling: the polarization and division that prevent us from coming together in pursuit of the public interest and the public good.

This phenomenon has taken hold in wide-ranging aspects of our lives, and is felt by families in Nevada as well as in the halls of Congress. It is badly hurting our nation.

When I chose to run for public office, I pledged to stand with the people of Nevada rather than follow a partisan line. Throughout my time in Congress, I've made it my priority to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to look past partisanship and to help pass commonsense legislation so we can help working families in Nevada and across our country.

In the House, I was named one of the most bipartisan members of Congress, and that's a title I plan on continuing to hold in the Senate. My track record reflects that, and I recently introduced my ninth bipartisan bill in just the few months I’ve been in the Senate. I have also crossed the aisle to co-sponsor or co-lead over 60 pieces of legislation introduced by Republicans, on topics ranging from veterans’ health care to rural broadband access to ending surprise medical billing.

Despite what some may say, it is possible to reach a bipartisan consensus and to make progress on important issues.

As a member of Congress, I’m consistently working across the aisle on issues that matter to the people of Nevada, such as making sure our veterans have the resources to succeed. One of the first bills I introduced in the Senate was the bipartisan Hire Student Veterans Act, which would provide businesses tax credits to hire student veterans. I also recently introduced the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Opportunity Act, which would create a small-business tax credit to help veterans start businesses in underserved communities.

Education is another area where I’m making bipartisan progress. For example, my bicameral, bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act, which recently passed the House, would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives for young children, including research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science. And with hate crimes and anti-Semitism on the rise, I’m working with my Republican colleagues and have introduced the bipartisan Never Again Education Act, legislation that would establish a dedicated federal fund to provide teachers and schools with resources and training necessary to teach our students the important lessons of the Holocaust.

Both parties in Congress recognize that issues like protecting our country against the threat of cyberattacks transcend politics and hyperpartisanship. The Cyber Ready Workforce Act, JROTC Cyber Training Act and U.S.-Israel Cybersecurity Center of Excellence Act are all bipartisan bills I introduced that aim to fortify and protect our country from cyberthreats by creating a well-educated and well-trained cyberworkforce.

Even on often contentious issues like health care, I know that we can take steps toward commonsense solutions. That is why I introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to provide training to increase the number of palliative care providers and helped launch the bipartisan Comprehensive Care Caucus to expand access to palliative care, improve coordinate care and address caregiver issues.

These initiatives will have a real impact on the everyday lives of countless Nevadans and Americans.

Even though there are political divisions in the Silver State, Nevadans can all agree that we do not want our state to become the nation’s dumping ground for nuclear waste. So when it comes to protecting Nevada from the threat of Yucca Mountain, both Democratic and Republican members of the Nevada congressional delegation came out in full force to try to stop it by supporting my Jobs, Not Waste Act. This legislation would prohibit the secretary of energy from taking action relating to the licensing, planning, development, or construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain until the director of the Office of Management and Budget submits a study to Congress on the economic benefits of alternative uses of the site, and Congress holds a hearing on the benefits of alternative uses.

I pledged to be an independent voice for Nevadans, and my colleagues know me as a pragmatic, bipartisan collaborator. I will continue to work across the aisle to support policies that help improve the lives of hardworking Nevadans.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., was elected to the Senate in November after serving one term in the U.S. House representing Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.