Politics

The Circus That is The 2012 GOP Presidential Race

When I thought about writing this column, I really didn’t know where I was going to start. So, I figured why not share my own experience with this years Presidential race. First, let me start by saying that as a voter it was amazing that we started out with over 10 candidates–all of which I might say would do a better job than our current President. It was almost like going into Baskin-Robbins and having a hard time choosing which flavor you wanted. I mean one day it was Perry, the next day it was Newt, and then Cain, and so on and so on…

For me I started with liking Governor Perry–I had followed his career in Texas and respected his accomplishments. Then, like many Americans I was disappointed with Gov. Perry’s debate performances. I started to think, could Gov. Perry go head-to-head with the President and succeed? The answer I came to was maybe; maybe not. For me, it wasn’t worth taking that chance–we need someone strong to contrast with the President this fall during the debates!

Now, we all have our favorite candidate now–with only 4 left most of us have made our choice. What’s most interesting and even entertaining is all the different winners in the primaries and caucuses. Who would have thought that Santorum for example would sweep 3 states in one day–not very many folks I talk to. Then most recently, we had Rep. Paul put on an impressive showing in Maine. With each week comes a new twist and turn, and ultimately new polling numbers showing someone else on top.

Most of the folks in the media are more than happy that our primary process is dragging on. I also suspect that the Presidents campaign is loving the back and forth in this GOP contest. When you think about the stark contrasts between the final 4 candidates, it does somewhat amaze me that the Republican Party is still so divided when it comes to who they support. For me, it comes down to leadership, style, and substance. Yes, I’ve made my choice, but I’m not getting into that for the sake of this column.

While we have another debate this month–I believe on Feb. 22nd, I’m not sure it will change anyone’s mind on who they want to see win the GOP nomination. However, I think it will help to solidify ones mind on their respective choice. No matter what happens, I do feel that this race is nearing its end during the next 30 – 45 days. Its been a circus this GOP race, but in the end I hope it helps us make that right choice. My pledge is to get behind our nominee–whoever that is. In the meantime, we’ll all just have to sit back and watch the show that is the 2012 Republican Primary!

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Sunday, February 12th, 2012 Politics No Comments

Decision 2010 Can’t Get Here Soon Enough

During the last week or so I’ve been talking to a lot of my neighbors and friends about the upcoming November 2nd elections. Yes, we talked about some of the candidates and who we would be voting for, but mostly we talked about how sick and tired we are with all these negative ads on television!

As most political commentators will tell you, “the majority of voters had their minds made up weeks ago.” So, like many of you I’ve been asking myself why so many of these candidates are spending all this money on television attacking their opponents with the election almost 1 week away? The answer to this questions seems to be that many of these campaigns are trying to spend the rest of their campaign cash–leaving nothing on the table. In addition, the top tier campaigns like the Reid v. Angle and the Heck v. Titus race are trying to sway any last minute undecided voters. However, I find it very hard to imagine there are very many undecided voters left.

You would think that I wouldn’t be surprised about all the happenings in an election after spending over 15 years of my life involved with politics–that’s not the case! The negative campaigning and lack of discussion on the issues hasn’t been more prevalent than this campaign season. Candidates have chosen personal attacks and examples of “foot in mouth syndrome” to make their points on why we should vote for them. How cynical of me to think that candidates should be talking about the important issues facing out state. How naïve can I be to think that candidates should be presenting to the people of Nevada real solutions and ideas for fixing our job crisis, education crisis, budget crisis, infrastructure crisis, high energy cost crisis, etc., etc.

The reality is that we’re running out of time for any of these candidates to make the case that they have better ideas than their opponent. In fact, they won’t be doing anything over the next week other than trying to demonize their opponents. We’ll get another week of negative ads and character assassinations from bloggers and media outlets. With all this negativity you can understand why decision 2010 can’t get here soon enough!

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Sunday, October 24th, 2010 Politics No Comments

My Thoughts On The Tea Party Movement

During much of the course of this year, I’ve been asked by many friends and acquaintances what my thoughts are regarding the Tea Party movement. At first, I didn’t have much of an opinion because I didn’t know much about it. However, as 2010 has moved on–so has the Tea Party movement.

It is almost daily now that we see some news media outlet doing some kind of story about the Tea Party. Whether it’s a story about a Tea Party candidate or a story about the movement itself, we just can’t get away from its popularity.

It is certainly a curious movement with names like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck having thrust themselves into de-facto leadership roles. The Tea Party movement is passionate, thoughtful, colorful, and often entertaining. While many of us now know so much about the Tea Party, there is still so much we do not know.

In particular, we have seen the effectiveness of this movement across the nation in many of the Republican Primary Elections. Sarah Palin backed Tea Party Candidates have won a great number of primary elections across America, and Tea Party backed candidates have also shown the ability to oust the establishment. However, what we still do not know is how these Tea Party Candidates will fare in the November elections.

General Elections are nothing like primaries–folks on both sides often run toward the center on ideological issues. Having said that, the Independent vote will be crucial this year and if a candidate is unable to court this constituency they’ll be in a lot of trouble! With all the important issues facing Americans right now, speaking about real solutions and presenting a plan may be the difference between winning and losing. In addition, a lot of the races across the country will be decided by overall turn-out. If Democrats can rally their base in some of the close races they’ll pull off some wins–if Republicans can energize their supporters and put a great get-out-the-vote effort on; they have a chance.

As a Republican, I can tell you that much of what the Tea Party stands for I support. As an American I love seeing a new breed of citizen become involved in our political process. As a realist however, I wonder if this movement will in the end accomplish what’s its set out to do…whatever that may be? If you read the many Tea Party websites you’ll see things like…“uphold the Constitution, speak out, stop excessive government spending, return government to the people, etc.”

What I find interesting about the movement is that it’s  generated a huge number of supporters–into the many millions! What they haven’t done is come even close to equaling the numbers of dedicated Republicans and Democrats in this nation. I know Republicans and Democrats that both believe in protecting the Constitution of the United States and making government more efficient. Many of these folks are not members of the Tea Party movement, but still serve to make America a better place to live, work, and raise their families.

In Nevada, we have over 16 independent Tea Party organizations. Many of which have no direct communication with each other–in fact, some of these groups are backing different candidates in legislative and judicial races. If not for websites and social media, you wouldn’t even know some of these groups were linked to the Tea Party. In my opinion what’s most disturbing about the movement is that it lacks a leader. Often we are hearing from multiple individuals that speak in conflict with each other on issues linked to the Tea Party cause.

There are some who argue that the Tea Party represents the little guy, the disenfranchised citizen who just wants the old guard out. It’s true that this grassroots organization has brought some new folks into the political mold–people who have never been involved in politics before. However, what I fear as a Republican is a high jacking of our party! I’m one of those Republicans who believes that we as a party can represent all Americans. I believe that we need to be the party of Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I believe that we must have a big tent and welcome all Americans regardless of race, religion, or gender into the Republican Party.

Only time will tell how effective this Tea Party movement will be. In November we’ll have an answer and history will be made one way or the other. I can only hope as an American and citizen who cares deeply about this nation that folks make the right decision when they go into the ballot box. The status quo isn’t getting the job done anymore, and we face too many challenges to not put the right individuals into public office.

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Monday, September 20th, 2010 Politics No Comments

“Redistricting” What Nevadans Need To Be Talking About!

Before I get into my commentary on this, I’d like to provide you with the definition of “Gerrymandering” as defined on Wikipedia. This word best describes the process following the U.S. Census work; conducted every 10 years

Gerrymandering:

“is a form of boundary delimitation (redistricting) in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are deliberately modified for electoral purposes, thereby producing a contorted or unusual shape. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander; however, that word can also refer to the process.

Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular group of constituents, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.

When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, notably in US federal voting district boundaries which produce a proportion of constituencies with an African-American or other minority in the majority (these are thus called “minority-majority districts”).”

Lets rewind to the year 2001, when I participated and worked on the redistricting efforts at the Nevada State Legislature. What many folks may not know is that “Districts” including, but not limited to Legislative Districts, Congressional Districts, City Council Districts, School Board Districts, County Commission Districts, and others are decided by State Lawmakers. This means that your State Senate and State Assembly ultimately decide how each district will look for the next 10 years. Let me tell you that this process is not only complex, cumbersome, and insanely tedious, but it’s VERY political.

Having said that, if you’re a Republican in Nevada right now and you care about where the state is heading–you may want to be looking into how you can help with redistricting efforts next year. In the interim you should be worried about the fact that Republicans will most likely not control the Nevada State Assembly, and though we’ve got an outside shot at taking back the Nevada State Senate and if trends remain the same we’ll have another GOP Governor–our big problem is that Democrats in the State Assembly can do a lot of damage to our redistricting prospects.

Not to bring you doom and gloom, but having been involved in this process 10 years ago I know it’s tough! Having a “balance of power” in Nevada is very important to the citizens of the state. Even if we win the Governor’s race and Brian Sandoval becomes the next Chief Executive of our state–Sandoval may be facing a veto-proof majority of Democrats in the State Assembly. So, if history tells us anything the Democrats may do what they did 10 years ago and “Gerrymander” district boundaries so folks like Shelley Berkley can forever hold onto her Congressional seats, and draw the State Assembly lines as such to not allow a Republican to get elected in much of the Greater Las Vegas area; we’re in trouble!

What do we do?

My advise right now would be to work your neighborhoods, talk to your friends, and do what you can to elect some Republicans in Nevada’s State Assembly Districts. If we can pick-up a few seats in the State Assembly it will give us a much better chance at a fair and equitable redistricting process. If Republicans however, decide to remain complacent and fail to get out the vote this November–we’ll be looking at 10 more years of Legislative Democratic rule.

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Sunday, September 12th, 2010 Nevada, Politics No Comments

“The Man In The Arena”, by Theodore Roosevelt

I was talking with a friend the other day about the rigors of politics and government , and the below quote came to mind. The political process is very brutal and those who seek public office sacrifice so much! I know, because I’ve been there and I’ve seen what the battlefield in politics looks like. It is not easy and sometimes it can be very thanks-less. However, I can tell you that I find so many rewards by being involved in our political process. The ability to make a difference in someones life is why I stay so steadfast in my commitment to activism. We must remember that a silent voice is not a voice at all–saying something is better than saying nothing.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt Speech at the Sorbonne Paris, France April 23, 1910

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 Politics No Comments

GOP Assemblyman Goicoechea WRONG On Tax Increase

Let me first say that it truly pains me to have to write a criticism of one of my fellow Republicans. Especially, considering the fact that I respect Mr. Goicoechea’s position as an elected Nevada State Assemblyman.

However, when I read the article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal titled “Republican Legislative Leader Suggests Sales Tax On Food”, I just about fell out of my chair! So, I then started reading and came across the Assemblyman’s quote, “I believe that we should have had a 2 percent sales tax on food on the ballot this fall,” Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said on KRNV-TV’s Nevada Newsmakers. I guess you can see why I would be so shocked–you mean to tell me that we have a Republican in the Assembly that’s proposing one of the most regressive tax increases our citizenry could face!

I called Assemblyman Goicoechea after reading the article and said that I wanted to respectfully disagree with his idea of adding a 2% tax on food. We had a very frank and respectful discussion on this, and we decided that we would just have to agree to disagree on this. I’ll also say that as Republicans and citizens we need to be having more of these types of discussions–I don’t know anyone that has all the answers to our problems, but we need to talk about them and work toward meaningful solutions.

During the discussion with Assemblyman Goicoechea, I made it very clear that this kind of tax would hurt the middle and lower-income families in our state. I also informed him that during a time when we are seeing record unemployment, inflation, and costs of basic services on the rise; a tax like this is destructive. Families throughout the state of Nevada, and more specifically in cities like Las Vegas and Reno are experiencing “Depression” like effects of this current economy–a tax on food would just add to their pain!

Let me say that the Assemblyman listened to my concerns and while we disagreed, I appreciated his time in allowing me to discuss my feelings. Assemblyman Goicoechea is a nice-enough guy, and I don’t have any issues with him personally. All I can say is that we need to be talking about how we are going to diversify our local economy, fix our education system, continue implementing cuts on state services that will NOT impact low-income families, the disabled, and our veterans. It is true that we may not be able to cut $3 billion dollars out of the state budget–however, we need to offer solutions that will not hurt Nevada families. Taxing our food is just a bad idea and I can’t support it.

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 Politics No Comments

My Experience On The Campaign Trail

I thought many of you would enjoy my telling you about my experience this year running for the State Assembly. There are so many folks that just don’t quite know what it’s like to run for office–it’s a lot of hard work!

First, there is the decision to run for office in the first place, which wasn’t an easy decision. I remember like it was yesterday sitting at my campaign managers house talking about the prospect of me running. After much thought and discussion, we thought it best for me to start making phone calls to those in Nevada Politics that I’ve known for the past 15 years. We thought it was really important to discuss my becoming a candidate with some very well-respected and longtime friends.

I made those calls, and after a few coffee meetings and much prayer–I decided to enter the race. At that time, I was the first one to enter the race for Assembly District 13. However, we knew that with the district being an open-seat there would be plenty more candidates entering the race. Indeed, at the end of the day we had a field of 5 candidates.

One of the most difficult tasks was raising money for a campaign during these tough economic times. On top of that, with so many candidates in the race there were a great many that just didn’t want to contribute in such a crowded primary. We were able to raise over $11,000.00 and the majority of our money went to voter outreach efforts. In fact, out of the 5 candidates, we were number 2 in fundraising–something I am very proud of.

From day one of the campaign, my team decided that we would run an issues based campaign that focused on grassroots and voter contact. The idea was for me to knock on as many doors as possible, and allow voters to hear from me about what I would do for them in Carson City. This strategy proved very effective and was reflected in our garnering almost 20% of the vote on election day. The winner of our primary received 30% of the vote and only beat us by 1,226 votes in the largest Assembly District in the state! To say that I’m proud of our showing and the work we did would be an understatement.

I believe that one of the best decisions my campaign team and I made was to NOT run a negative campaign, but to focus on the issues that are so important to Nevadans. We did just that and all of our mail-pieces discussed my ideas for fixing our state budget, creating jobs, and improving our education system. I still believe that my campaign presented the best ideas for handling much of the states problems, but if anything at least those ideas are out there for others to entertain.

During campaigns, candidates seek endorsements to lend credibility to their election. When there is a crowded primary, those endorsements are that much harder to obtain. It was very important for me to obtain endorsements that were directly from the people and assisted my goal of gaining coalition support. The result was that I was endorsed by The Nevada Conservation League, Northwest Residents For Responsible Growth, Save Red Rock Coalition, and The Nevada Chiropractors Association. I was extremely humbled by those endorsements and appreciated all the support these organizations provided my campaign.

After 15 years of involvement in politics and working on over 40 campaigns, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. One of those things you need to expect is DIRTY CAMPAIGNING and what I call THE POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION. Often these attacks come from those inside your own party and unfortunately only helps Democrats in their efforts during a general election.

One of my primary opponents went as far as having one of his friends and volunteers file and erroneous and frivolous complaint against my campaign with the Nevada Secretary of State‘s Office. The complaint was dismissed immediately once the Secretary of State received it, and in-fact they sent a letter to the complainant telling them they basically needed to read the NRS (Nevada Revised Statues) before alleging violations against a candidate. Those of you that followed my campaign know that we did not discuss this with the voters or the media during the race. It was our decision to not allow these types of attacks to derail our campaign in any manner. We chose to ignore this behavior and move forward with our message to the voters in Assembly District 13.

While we cannot confirm nor deny that one of our opponents was involved in another attack against my person and character, I can confirm that one of my former co-workers was involved in a blatant politically motivated attack against myself and one of my best friends. This is truly the kind of stuff that most of us only see if movies, but this stuff really happened!

So, a former co-worker of mine by the name of Dan Hoffman decided that since I exposed unethical behavior of Clark County Business License employees and mainly himself, he would engage in politically motivated attacks to derail my election. Dan Hoffman filed a TPO (Temporary Protective Order) against one of my best friends–Juan Rivera. In the TPO, Hoffman alleges that Rivera a Marine and decorated Veteran of our Nation is a “dangerous individual”. Let me just clearly say this is the biggest crock of bull…. I’ve ever seen! Rivera is one of the greatest men I’ve ever met in my life! A man who has served his country–however I believe his greatest accomplishment is being an amazing father.

To make this long story short, during the campaign I appeared in court with Mr. Rivera and Dan Hoffman (the complainant). I decided to attend the hearing because I always support my friends and I also wanted to make a request to the Judge. During this hearing, the TPO against Mr. Rivera was dismissed and information contained in the complaint regarding myself was sealed. This was a failed attempt by power-hungry bureaucrats with a vendetta to use the system for their own gain–it didn’t work!

None of the actions by these immature and desperate individuals stopped our campaign. Like I said, we ran our campaign on the issues and focused on meeting as many voters as possible. I’m so very proud of what were able to accomplish and while we didn’t win, I’ve got so much to be thankful for. God has blessed me with some of the greatest friends in the world and without their support, I would have never been able to do this.

Thanks again to all of you who stood behind me in so many ways. Your love, your friendship, and your contributions all meant so much to me. Let me make a promise to you that I’ll keep on fighting the good fight!

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Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 Politics No Comments

Why Republicans Should Be Excited About 2010

As most of you know by know, the GOP pulled out some amazing victories Tuesday night–winning the Gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. These are huge victories for the GOP in the off year elections, and give us some momentum leading into 2010. › Continue reading

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 Politics No Comments

Common Sense Republicans

Often in the political process, you come across people who are very far left, or very far right. Politico’s call them liberals and conservatives–some crazy bloggers and media hacks call them socialists or neo-cons. These are buzz words used in politics, and most often they are used to garner attention. › Continue reading

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Friday, October 16th, 2009 Politics No Comments

GOP…PUT DOWN THE SWORDS!

This has gone on for way too long, and it’s looking like the GOP is going to cannibalize themselves going into the 2010 elections. At least in Nevada right now it is appearing as though the different factions are paving the way to beat each other up for the chance to call themselves king of the mountain. › Continue reading

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 Politics Comments Off on GOP…PUT DOWN THE SWORDS!
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