Nevada Elections Provide Potential Working Coalition
By Cheryl Blomstrom, Blomstrom Consulting, UTA Nevada Lobbyist
The elections are over and the status quo prevails: Obama is President and Democrats have the Senate, Republicans have the House and we’re staring right down the face of the fiscal cliff.
Dean Heller will continue to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate. The morning after the decision, he and Harry Reid pledged their loyalty to Nevada and willingness to work together in her best interest.
In the House Mark Amodei (CD-2) and Joe Heck (CD-3) easily held on to their seats. Dina Titus (CD-1) will be returning to Congress in a seat that she will likely keep as long as she wants. Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford defeated Danny Tarkanian and will be heading to D.C. representing Nevada’s newest Congressional Seat, CD-4.
In Nevada’s Legislature, the balance of power in the State Senate did not shift; it is still 11 D’s and 10 R’s; all that changes are the personalities. The Democrats in the Senate are more liberal than last session; Sheila Leslie was retired (by only 266 votes and very late in the vote tallying) by State Senator Greg Brower.
Each caucus in the Senate has selected their leader: For the Majority Democrats, Mo Denis and for the Minority Republicans, Michael Roberson. Committee leadership and assignments should follow shortly.
In the Assembly, the Democrats gained one seat and the balance of power is now 27 D’s and 15 R’s. This means the Republicans keep their super minority to block taxes and sustain gubernatorial vetoes. Leadership in that body is up in the air with the defeat of presumptive Speaker Marcus Conklin by newcomer Wes Duncan. Marilyn Kirkpatrick AD-1 has been selected as Majority Leader and Speaker to be. The Speaker confirmation vote is one of the first orders of business of the new session and involves the votes of both parties. Ms. Kirkpatrick is very well respected by both Democrats and Republicans.
Also of note in the Assembly is the AD9 race in which Andrew Martin (winner of the vote) was declared ineligible to serve because he doesn’t actually live in the district...pesky rules! It is unclear whether he will be seated (the Legislature has unique control over seating its members) or a vacancy will be declared. I believe, in that case, the Clark County Commission would be charged with replacing him.
Those of us looking for change did not get the result we wanted, however I remain optimistic… I still think we can cobble together a coalition of democrats and republicans to get our work done. UTA members reached out during the campaign process to key candidates and several were elected. They come into the session with a working knowledge of our industry. As always, it is not easy, but at least we aren’t California where they passed a $6 billion tax hike on corporations and refused to reign in their overly influential public sector unions. I guess municipal bankruptcy isn’t enough to signal changes needed.
As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”