Carson City GOP leaders unhappy with local Republicans

P.K. O'Neill

P.K. O'Neill

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Local Republican party leaders here challenge the new state tax program, want to recall their state senator and find an opponent for Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill.

O’Neill and state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who lives in Reno but whose district includes Carson City, are registered Republicans. But the Republican party organization leaders here have thrown down a gauntlet over 2015 Legislature and Sandoval administration handiwork. Gov. Brian Sandoval also is a Republican.

“It might be unusual, but we think it’s appropriate,” said Roger Haynes, listed as the local GOP organization chairman. He said many Republicans are disappointed. “People really feel betrayed.”

He said Carol Howell, another local Republican, is heading up the Carson City GOP organizational hierarchy’s efforts to coordinate with others in the state in creating a referendum aimed at overturning Sandoval’s tax program and budget. It’s part of a three-pronged program here. The organization’s website lists the trio of initiatives to:

Support and circulate a referendum to submit the governor’s budget to a vote of the people “so we may repeal that tax increase;” endorse and circulate the recall petition for “our state senator, Ben Kieckhefer;” and to seek a candidate “who will uphold Republican principles and our platform, to replace our current assemblyman, P. K. O’Neill.”

The Carson City assemblyman voiced concern his own party organization wants him ousted, “particularly when I feel that we had a very good (legislative) session.” He said his disappointment stemmed from some in his own party viewing the entire session work product “through one item only.”

He defended legislative and administration action by saying there are differences between the Sandoval tax hikes and the business margins tax previously spurned by Nevada voters. He also said revenues were needed to rectify various matters, among them educational programs that carry with them controls via audits and required performance levels. When you factor in inflation, he said, state spending still is at 2009 levels.

O’Neill said though he’s bothered by the opposition, it’s the right of people in a democracy to espouse their views and he respects that. He alluded to the recent Independence Day celebration as exemplary of such a guarantee. He added, however, he had pledged to make the tough choices when he ran, not the easiest or cheapest necessarily.

Kieckhefer couldn’t be reached for comment.

Haynes, meanwhile, said people need to understand party principles are important, there’s a distinction between those principles and what happened earlier this year, and so the three-point program is meant to “send a message to the governor that the ‘R’ behind the name means something.”


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