As Nevada’s former attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto ensured she visited every Nevada county during her eight years in office so residents and government agencies could find solutions for the challenges facing the Silver State.
Now, as a the Democratic candidate running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Harry Reid, Masto said it is time Congress begins working in a bipartisan manner to solve and pass legislation.
Masto delivered the keynote address Thursday art the annual Sawyer-Bryan Democrat Dinner at the Fallon Convention Center. Formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, local Democrats changed the annual dinner’s name to reflect more on Nevada’s values.
Since she announced her candidacy, Masto has been visiting communities around the state meeting people and discussing issues. Her stop in Fallon was no different.
“I am running to become your next U.S senator,” she said to thunderous applause.
Masto, who grew up in Las Vegas, said she was tired of seeing Washington, D.C. politicians fail to stop the partisan bickering.
“It’s time for the politicians in Washington to start solving problems instead of creating them,” she added.
During her eight years as attorney general, Masto said she worked for Nevadans as they faced a foreclosure crisis and the big banks taking advantage of the state’s residents. At one time during the crisis, Masto said 77,000 homeowners risked losing their homes.
While she faced the problems head on, she also kept in touch with local communities.
“I made it a point to get to the rural counties and talk about the issues and how we would work them, address them and solve them,” Masto pointed out.
She visited Fallon several times to discuss domestic violence prevention, substance abuse and abuses senior citizens faced. She also met with representatives from the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe to learn more about their law enforcement and justice system, and how law enforcement could crack down on the substance abuse.
Masto, though, said her proudest moment as attorney general came during her second term.
“One of the proudest moments for me as attorney general was watching Brian Sandoval, our governor, sign into law legislation that I sponsored to address sex trafficking in Nevada,” she said, adding victims could come forward and stand up to the sex traffickers.
The legislation called for increased prison terms for pimps, predators and sex offenders, expanded the sex offender registry and gave victims the right to sue their captors.
“It put them (the victims) on a new pathway to a new beginning,” she said.
Masto also touted the bipartisan spirit of the Nevada Legislature that passed many bills she supported.
“The Democrats and Republicans worked together to get things done,” she said.
Masto would also like to see additional attention paid to rural communities, especially more attention into investing, building and funding roads and schools, increasing the access to high-speed broadband and improving medical and treatment services through telemedicine.
Furthermore, Masto said she favors more policemen on the beat and favors the passage of comprehensive immigration reform. The daughter of a Mexican father and Italian mother, Masto said she and her sister were the first from their family to graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Although Masto preached that bipartisan was needed in the nation’s capital, she assailed her Republican opponents, Congressman Joe Heck and former 2010 Republican senate candidate Sharron Angle. Masto said Heck votes with the right-wing/Tea Party component 90 percent of theme, and along with Angle, they both oppose comprehensive immigration refund, support defunding Planned Parenthood, abolish the Department of Education and refuse to support a hearing for a new justice to the U.S.. Supreme Court.
“We need to protect Social Security, but Heck and Angle want to privatize it,” she said.
Masto said the new president of the United States needs a Democratic majority in the Senate to make “things happen” and as she asked for Churchill County’s support, Masto said her campaign is going to work hard to represent the interests of Nevadans.
As one of the first Attorneys General to sue the Big Banks, I helped secure $1.9 billion in relief to these families. While my opponents, Sharron Angle and Congressman Dr. Joe Heck side with anti-immigrant extremists like Donald J. Trump on the issues that matter most, Nevada Latinos know I am from their community and on their side.