Bob Thomas
For the Appeal

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September 12, 2012
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Bob Thomas: Taking a look at three congressional candidates

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Being a registered independent voter I am being bombarded with election propaganda from major party candidates and independents as well. No doubt many of you are getting the same treatment. Of course, not knowing some of these candidates and many with no track record it's difficult to make sound judgments. And listening to canned answers to obvious questions from the League of Women Voters doesn't help much, either.

However, in this day of party ideology it's probably safer to vote for or against a candidate's political party affiliation than by listening to or reading biographical palaver. How many different ways can a candidate say that he or she is in favor of more jobs, better education, Social Security and Medicare? What most candidates fail to explain is whether they think public sector (tax-taking) jobs are as important as private sector (tax-paying) jobs.

Looking briefly at the three best known candidates I must say that none of them meet my conservative specifications as well as quite possibly some Libertarians. But Libertarians are little more than spoilers, that is, if they choose to play that game like they did with Ross Perrot, which gave us Bill Clinton. If they were smart, they would work toward what is achievable, a little at a time.

Libertarians could take over the atrophied Republican Party if they'd patiently work toward that end. But being militant, they delight in stealing votes from Republicans, enabling Democrat victories. A vote for anyone other than Romney is a vote for Obama. Libertarians remind me of the captain of the Titanic: "By God, we showed that iceberg a thing or two ..."

Let's look at Mark Amodei, who is running for re-election to the House of Representatives. He is far and away more qualified than any opponent. Mark was never my favorite Nevada state senator. To my taste he was too much like Sen. Bill Raggio, playing everything close to his vest. Moreover, his conservative credentials are open to question. But he understands the game and he will not be voting with Obama. I believe he will do everything he can to help reduce our national debt by cutting spending as opposed to raising taxes. Mark understands that the tax-paying private sector, not the tax-taking public sector, is where taxpaying jobs come from. Taxes must not be used as punishment for success. Vote for Mark.

Now looking at Dean Heller, who was a House representative and is running for his first elected term as a U.S. senator, Dean has never done anything really wrong. Dean understands what must be done to get our country out of trouble and he has and will continue to do everything he can to help the cause. Dean has had a remarkably untarnished private life and career as a Nevada assemblyman and secretary of state, which has given him more executive experience than most of his senate colleagues. And the best news is: He isn't a lawyer!

Dean's opponent is Shelley Berkley, a perennial politician for the past 29 years. Shelley and I were freshmen legislators in 1983, she from Las Vegas and I from Carson City. We were quite friendly and in those days she wasn't the liberal opportunist that she is now. Shelley and my wife and I have had dinner together in our home. Her son, Max, used to sit on my lap. She is very likable. However, she didn't stay long in the Assembly, moving on to university regent. For the past few years she has been in the House of Representatives and a staunch supporter of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. She has never authored any noteworthy legislation, and the worst news: She's a lawyer.

It's going to be an interesting contest. Anyway, vote for Dean Heller. As we say in Nevada: That's a good bet.

• Bob Thomas is a retired high-tech industrialist who later served on the Carson City School Board, the state welfare board, the airport authority and as a state assemblyman. His website is

Article Topics: Legislature


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Sep 12, 2012 07:23PM Published Sep 12, 2012 05:26PM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.