Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Turning The House Democrats In A Progressive Direction-- One District At A Time: NV-04


Yesterday the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME) endorsed Ruben Kihuen for Congress in NV-04, a district that stretches from North Las Vegas up the 15 and 93 freeways to the Utah border to the east and past Ely in the north, and up the 95 freeway past Walk Lake, Schurz and Yerington, although something like 85% of the votes cast in the district come from Clark County in the south. NV-04 is nearly a third Latino and 14% black. Obama beat McCain 130,602 (56%) to 95,777 (41%) and beat Romney 4 years later 136,124 (54%) to 109,329 (44%). The only reason there's a Republican incumbent, Cresent Hardy, is because racist pig Steve Israel refused to help African-American Democratic incumbent Steve Horsford in 2014. Hardy won 49-46%.

There's a spirited primary between Democrats, featuring Kihuen, the progressive state senator backed by Blue America, Susie Lee, a multimillionaire socialite backed by shady casino interests, former conservative Assembly Speaker John Oceguera and former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, like Kihuen, a progressive. Flores and Oceguera haven't been able to raise money and labor has gotten behind Kihuen, AFSCME being his 9th union endorsement.

Lee and Kihuen have been able to raise significant money, Lee from her wealthy friends and Kihuen from the grassroots. According to the Las Vegas Sun, "Lee reported raising $160,000 in net contributions, bringing her total amount of cash in the bank to $647,000. That includes $150,000 in personal loans Lee has made to her campaign... Kihuen raised $152,000 and has $373,000 on hand. Kihuen said in a statement that he was “humbled” by the support, adding, “I am more confidant than ever that we will have the resources to win the primary and defeat Congressman Hardy in November."

Coming in at third, former Assembly Speaker John Oceguera raised $53,000 last quarter, bringing him to $204,000 in cash on hand. His total includes $100,000 in loans he has made to his campaign. Former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores came in last in fundraising numbers, at $51,000 last quarter with $84,000 on hand."

Ironically, Lee claims to understand working families but she is very much a part of the wealthy and elite that controls Congress and that has rigged the system against those working families. She owns 17 homes, worth close to $10 Million spread out not just around Las Vegas but also in Missouri, Connecticut, and Wyoming. This is her main home on Soaring Court in Las Vegas. I suspect she can't really understand the plight and struggle of working class families and that lack of understanding manifested itself pretty clearly in a quote she gave in the Nevada State Bank's High Networth Fall Report last year (while she was a candidate): "I contend that the recession, while it was devastating for many families and still has negative ramifications for many, had a silver lining." That's the kind of cold, dehumanizing quote you can only give if you know you have no fear of losing your job, defaulting on your mortgage, not being able to feed your kids or send them to college. We have more than enough of that in Congress today.

As you could probably guess, she and her husband, Daniel Lee, have contributed thousands of dollars to Republican politicians, particularly to perverted right-wing Senator John Ensign-- over $11,000-- but also to Bob Dole, John McCain, Alfonse D’Amato and New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo.

In contrast, Ruben Kihuen is a working class guy with a record in the state legislature of working to ameliorate the economic inequality for Nevadans. He's the only one in the race who can back his platform promises up with accomplishments. "Since being elected," he told us, "I have fought hard for progressive values. I stood up on the floor of the Senate for marriage equality and presented the bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I am most proud of my bill to create the Silver State Opportunity Plan to provide grants to low-income students who want to go to college... A lot of candidates talk a progressive talk but my record in the legislature shows I get progressive results... [W]e must protect Social Security and Medicare from the near constant attacks from Republicans in Congress. I will stand up every day to protect the promise we made to our seniors. I will fight against any attempt to privatize Social Security, voucherize Medicare or raise the retirement age. Period."

If you'd like to help make sure Nevada replaces right-wing nut Cresent Hardy with a proven progressive leader, please consider a contribution to Ruben Kihuen's campaign on the Blue America ActBlue page.

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