2020 Primary election: U.S. Representative in Congress District 2: Democrats

Steven Mitchell Schiffman

Steven Mitchell Schiffman

Candidates Reynaldo Hernandez and Ian Luetkehans didn’t respond to Nevada News Group’s request to participate.

Patricia Ackerman

Occupation: Retired small business owner and actor.

Age: 62

Contact: info@ackerman4congress.us; ackerman4congress.com

Record of service:

I have over 14 years of public service between the Long Beach Mounted Police, Altadena Posse, FBI (as an independent contractor), and Douglas County Search and Rescue.


Growing up in a home plagued by domestic violence, I left home at the age of 15. Because I was technically homeless and did not have a fixed, permanent address, no school district in Pennsylvania would allow me to enroll. So, I enrolled in community college and received my GED before my graduating class received their high school diploma. By the age of 21 I had started my first successful business in interior landscape design. In my adult life, among other things, I became a certified search and rescue tracker.


I am the product of my parents’ will to live free of oppression. My father nearly starved to death in a Nazi concentration camp. My mother was forced slave labor at a farm where she peeled potatoes. After World War II, my parents met at a displaced persons camp before immigrating as refugees to the United States.

I was born in Ambridge, Penn., as a Ukrainian-American, because this country welcomed refugees like my parents. My father worked as a dishwasher before owning his own electronics store. But life was far from perfect. As survivors of war my parents suffered trauma, and our home was plagued by domestic violence. At 15 years old, I left home. By 21, I started my first successful business.

I never backed down from a challenge after that. I became an award-winning stage actress. As an FBI independent contractor, I defended our nation’s interests abroad. As a high-altitude mountaineer, I gave back to mountain communities through humanitarian missions.

I have lived in Minden for 18 years. I met my husband here. Northern Nevada is home. Now, I am not backing down from my next challenge: unseating incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei.

In 2007, I became my mother’s caregiver for 7 years. Toward the end of her life, we could not find a doctor within driving distance who would accept a new Medicare patient. Finally, I convinced my doctor to see her, but it would be 3 weeks until her appointment.

The doctor’s office called the day before her appointment to confirm. I told them “she won’t be coming. She died last night.”

Access to quality, affordable health care should not be dependent on your zip code. I want to work toward a universal health care system that is accessible to all Northern Nevadans. That means creating a public option. But it also means expanding rural health care clinics, fully funding the Indian Health Service, and improving telemedicine.

Besides health care, one of the most pressing issues in Nevada is housing. We need to align housing and climate goals. I will push for high density housing, making climate resiliency part of new developments, creating transit-oriented development, and incentivize planning that lowers commute times, diminishes reliance on personal vehicles, and lowers carbon emissions. Additionally, I want to fully fund the Indian Housing Block Grant program, the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program, and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant, to assist our tribal communities.

Related to housing is the need to protect our public lands. In the middle of a pandemic, Mark Amodei introduced legislation to sell off tens of thousands of acres of rural public land for development. This is shortsighted. While I support smart development, selling public lands for development with no provisions for transit-oriented development, or planning to reduce carbon emissions is 20th century thinking for 21st century problems.

Lastly, we must address the greatest economic inequality since the Great Depression. I support raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and strengthening unions.

Ed Cohen

Occupation: Director of Marketing/Communications for a national nonprofit and nonpartisan organized based in Reno that provides education to the judiciary; former award-winning journalist.

Age: 61

Contact: Friends of Ed Cohen and America, P.O. Box 13227, Reno, NV 89507



Phone: (775) 386-2591

Record of Service: After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, I worked for several years as a business and general assignment reporter and editor on mid- to large-circulation newspapers in Virginia and Delaware. I also worked as a Life section reporter for USA Today. I won awards for my reporting on agribusiness. I later became a nationally recognized writer and editor of serious magazines published by colleges and universities, including more than 10 years with Notre Dame Magazine. I currently direct communication and marketing for a national nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in Reno that provides education to the judiciary. In late 2018 I was named the employee who best exemplifies all five of the organization’s core values: integrity, leadership, justice, excellence and innovation.

My reporting and editing have been recognized regionally and nationally by organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, Hearst Foundation, International Association of Business Communicators, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and Gannett Company Inc.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University (’81) and master’s from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (‘08).


Our campaign’s motto is Truth Matters.

This campaign is driven by a historic imperative: to defend American democracy and defeat the lies, ignorance, hatred, cruelty and appalling lack of human decency of Donald Trump. Congressman Mark Amodei has supported everything Donald Trump has said and done for four years. Every Democrat understands that the 2020 election is a referendum on Trumpism and all of its enablers.

Our No. 1 priority beyond defeating Trumpism, is to make health care available and affordable for all. And here’s the logical way to start.

Build upon the Affordable Care Act and create more competition in the health insurance market by introducing a public option. Allow individuals to enroll in Medicare and Medicare Advantage at 55 instead of having to wait until 65.

I’ll also introduce legislation to bring high-speed internet service to rural Nevada, and all of rural America, the same way the federal government sponsored rural electrification in the 1930s under the New Deal. High-speed internet can help bring telemedicine to remote communities lacking access to health care.

I worked for UNR’s Sanford Center for Aging for several years, and I’ll vote to protect Social Security and Medicare.

I’ll support a worker’s right to organize and to strike without fear of retribution.

I’ll support fair-share tax and trade policies to help rebuild the middle class.

I’ll always fight to protect Nevada’s treasured public lands. I’ll be open to responsible development to create more affordable housing in the Reno area.

Nevada’s public schools remain among the lowest-rated in the country. I’ll support federal matching grants for states like ours that have traditionally neglected education but are now willing to invest more to support teachers and improve school quality.

Every voter can read my 10-point Constituents’ Bill of Rights, which, among other things, promises that your congressman and staff will tell the truth. If you ask a question, you’ll get an answer, not a form letter.

For details on all of my fresh approaches and sensible solutions, visit EdCohenforCongress.com.

The best reason to support me in the Democratic primary is that I have a strategy to win in November, and my opponents don’t.

The Second Congressional District is made up of roughly 40 percent registered Republicans, 30 percent registered Democrats, and 20 percent nonpartisans. If all the nominee can do is win Democratic votes, he or she will lose, guaranteed. To win, our candidate will have to build a coalition of Dems along with the many thousands of Trump-averse nonpartisans and moderate Republicans. I’m the only candidate who even talks about building that coalition.

A Democrat can win this seat in 2020. But it’s going to take fresh perspectives and a new voice with broad appeal.

Clint Koble

Occupation: Substitute Teacher for the Washoe County School District and the Eastern Sierra Job Corps

Age: 69


clint@kobleforcongress.com; www.kobleforcongress.com; (775) 843-4081

Facebook: Koble for Congress 2020; Twitter: @koble4congress; Instagram: @koble4congress; YouTube: Clint Koble for Congress

Record of Service

Presidential Appointee for 7 1/2 years under President Obama as the State Executive Director of the NV Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Responsible for implementing new Farm Bills in 2009 and 2014; write program policy; distribute and be accountable for millions of dollars of disaster assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers; helped craft and maintain annual Congressional budgets, expand our loan servicing to minorities and producers in general; work with other federal and state departments and agencies; assist in conservation programs; promote new and young farmer programs; advocate organics programs along with farmers markets; advocate the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative; update facilities and technologies in all 6 county offices across the state; build new office in Winnemucca; participated in the StrikeForce Initiative to bring a partnership approach to Native American challenges, and brought down Civil Rights complaints in my agency to zero during my entire term; transformed my Agency to one of treating all customers with dignity and respect, stayed within my budget every single year; and led my Agency with training for LGBTQ and Bullying.


High School Diploma from Anamoose Public High, Anamoose, ND. B.A. degrees in Political Science and History from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.


To see where I stand on issues facing Nevada, please go to my website: www.kobleforcongress.com and check out my Platform. Due to the effects of COVID-19 on people, economy, and country, I want to focus on the following three issues when I get to Congress:

1. FIX HEALTHCARE. We need universal healthcare. The loss of 30 million jobs with millions losing their healthcare coverage demands consideration for universal healthcare. Indian Health Services needs to be adequately funded and VA positions need to be filled. We need to lower prescription drug costs through competitive purchasing, patent reform, and regulating Pharma Benefit Managers that make big profits on drug sales.

2. REVIVE THE ECONOMY. We need to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, Unemployment Benefits, Cobra Coverage, and the Universal Basic Income payments indefinitely until the economy starts to turn around. More assistance has to go to the “small” small businesses. Currently, about 90% of the stimulus monies go to the “big” small businesses. The SBA should reconsider several classifications of small businesses for fairness. We need to write tax laws that favor employee-owned businesses and cooperatives that take good care of employees.

3. REBUILD AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE FROM THE GROUND UP. Let’s put some of those 30 million people out of work fixing the bridges that are falling down, rebuilding our roads and highways that need repair, and municipal projects that are long overdue. Broadband has to be part of this, and we should consider implementing Union Apprenticeship Programs to teach skills to our workforce. Another huge part of rebuilding our infrastructure is green jobs. I support legislation to help combat our climate crisis, like the Green New Deal. Part of rebuilding our infrastructure involves considering the environmental impact of new construction, new building, and ways that we can make decisions that protect our planet for generations to come.

Stances on other issues:

EDUCATION: I support Universal Pre-K; tripling Title I School funding for better outcomes; raising teacher’s wages; expanding college debt-forgiveness, tuition-free community colleges and Trade Schools; and debt-free college for every student.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS: I will fight to defend Roe v Wade; pass the Equal Rights Amendment; enforce equal pay; and maintain access to Planned Parenthood.

PUBLIC LANDS: I support keeping public lands safe and preserved, and in public hands.

CLIMATE CHANGE: I support aggressive legislation to combat climate change, such as the Green New Deal and the Blue New Deal and creating a Cabinet Level position focused on the climate crisis.

EQUALITY: I will fight to protect LGBTQ+ Rights; pass the Equality Act; and eliminate for-profit prisons.

VETERANS: We must support the VA; address high rates of suicide and homelessness; and provide more mental health support services.

GUNS: I will fight to ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines. I favor Red-Flag Laws with Due Process, and universal background checks nationwide.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: We need humane and comprehensive immigration reform. I support DACA.

DEMOCRACY: We must repeal Citizens United, eliminate gerrymandering and filibusters, and reinstate the Voting Rights Act fully.

Steven Mitchell Schiffman

Occupation: International ¬attorney (rule of law, human rights, parliamentary adviser)

Age: 71




(702) 562-0123

Skype: SteveSchiffman

Record of service:

My civilian public service started as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Micronesia, advising both national government and at municipal level, and then as a legal advisor with Citizens Democracy Corps, in Eastern Europe (post collapse of the Soviet Union).

Most recently, I was appointed (and served) Country Director with USAID-funded programs in Armenia, focusing on election reform and human rights.

I served as a legal advisor with both the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US Trade Representative’s office, negotiating with Communist China in both Washington, DC and Beijing, relating to unfair trading practices by China, resulting in loss of American jobs, as well as to take measures to stop China’s constant stealing of American intellectual property.

My background including being a former USAID Foreign Service officer (rule of law/access to justice attorney), embedded with U.S. armed forces, Afghanistan.

I also was seconded by the U.S. State Department to work for OSCE Mission in Kosovo as well as on various assignments with both the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and EuropeAid in such countries and territories as: Gaza/West Bank, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Indonesia, East Timor, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, among other venues.

Education: Master of Laws (LL.M), Faculty of Law, London School of Economics, UK

Juris Doctor (J.D.), Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, New York City

Diploma: McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (Summer law program in Europe)

Diploma: Temple University Law School/Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law (Summer law program in Israel)

MA (Incomplete) Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver

BA degree, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fl

Academic Diploma: Edgewater High School, Orlando, FL


Steve is a person who puts aside party labels and focuses on the common sense solutions vis-à-vis some our toughest issues, from lowering taxes, to creating jobs, to fixing our infrastructure, to balancing the budget. It means always standing by our seniors, veterans, and first responders, so our families are safe from crime and terror at home and around the world. Consensus politics passes successful and widely accepted legislation; dogmatic ideologues only generate mistrust and chaos that fail to unite the American people.

CLIMATE CHANGE: If we are truly committed to passing a healthier environment on to our children, then we must treat the challenge posed by global warming as a threat to our national security.

FOOD SAFETY/FARMING: Finding a common sense approach to food safety that can alleviate hunger as well as prevent contamination and the spread of food-borne illnesses is paramount. This includes fighting for strong emergency federal disaster assistance to our farm communities, particularly natural disasters.

MEDICARE REFORM: The federal government must begin to negotiate with drug companies to lower medication prices for people on Medicare. Steve supports phasing out “for-profit” Medicare insurers, replacing them with non-profit providers. Last, Steve supports expanding Medicare to those aged 55-64 over the course of ten years.

VETERANS: Steve advocates an increase in federally funded treatment, counseling and support, for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their families, especially those who must serve as caretakers for injured and disabled veterans. Strong GI Bill benefits to ensure every veteran has access to higher education.

GUN SAFETY: Disallow Interstate travel of concealed weapons; prohibit sale of gun suppressors (silencers); ban high-capacity gun magazines; disallow sale/usage of bump-fire stock devices; prohibit private ownership of semi-automatic assault rifles and all military-graded weapons. Gun violence in general, not just mass shootings, needs to be addressed with a holistic approach. Medical, education, law enforcement, non-profit, legal, and other professionals must begin a serious conversation within and between their communities with real follow up.

PUBLIC EDUCATION: Steve supports funding non-profit vocational training, both in Nevada’s high schools and community-sponsored adult continuing educational centers. Steve also advocates the use of Federal contributions towards ensuring that every public-school student has free – at home – access to a laptop computer for educational purposes – as well as free limited home access to the Internet for those families receiving public-funded assistance.

ISRAEL: Israel’s commitment to freedom of expression and religion, and democratic values is unprecedented across the globe, across history, and especially across the Middle East. This is precisely why Israel is, and must remain, our closest ally.

JOBS: Steve supports reducing, where possible, regulatory burdens and create an environment that encourages investment and job creation; cracking down on countries, such as China that cheat and eliminating tax breaks for big businesses that ship jobs overseas. Finally, we need a real infrastructure plan to fix our aging roads, bridges and water systems.

Rick Shepherd

Occupation: Nerd

Age: 48

Contact: https://rickshepherd.com; rick@rickshepherd.com; @RepRickShepherd; 775-303-5646

Record of Service:

NAACP Environment & Climate Justice committee chair

Occupied Wall Street (October 2011, Zuccotti Park)

Exposed institutional racism in Reno Police Department resulting in the termination of the Chief of Police

UBI Caucus endorsee

Education: McQueen High School – UNR Finance/Econ BS


Climate change is an existential threat, healthcare is a human right and this pandemic is all the evidence one should require to appreciate the need for a universal basic income. As your representative I will fight every day to secure as basic human rights, social programs like Medicare for all, free college and student debt forgiveness, criminal justice reform, campaign finance reform, and a green new deal. What that means for Northern Nevada is green power, desalination, and pipelines of fresh water brought into our basin to replenish what we’ve depleted and carry us forward as we grow, a 21st century solution to Yucca mountain and radioactive waste using Thorium instead of 100,000 years of storage.

Water is life and it is in short supply in Nevada. From indigenous people’s rituals and travels and wild horses, to the agriculture and the water tables below. We’ve depleted the reserves, there is nowhere left to drill and yet, we are going to continue to grow and consume. A national infrastructure program will include pipelines of fresh water and desalination, benefiting each state not unlike other national efforts like the railroad, highways, telephony and power. Universal and unfettered access to basic needs, provided as a public good, through progressive taxation improves us all.

Thorium is the power behind the work to be done. Our future economy and life on earth depend on humans being very good at carbon capture and sequestration, indoor farming, and reversing desertification. When earth becomes hostile to human life, all other concerns are demoted. This limitless supply of clean energy changes incentives and cost structures and thereby frees the people of oil-rich nations from the otherwise legitimate fears of unwanted visitation by resource-curios groups. Venezuela, Iran, and other nations rich in hydrocarbon deposits will no longer have to fear the eventual invasion by American interests or weigh the cost/benefit of developing a nuclear deterrent lest they be the next to see Bolton’s “Libyan model” applied.

Universal Basic Income provides a floor, beneath which one cannot fall; a foundation, upon which one can build a future. With UBI people are free to refuse to be a part of something they wish to reject. That can be a job that doesn’t pay well enough for the task required. It can be the financial freedom to get away from an abusive relationship where, previously, financial restrictions were the leash that commanded your restraint, continued residency, or other toxic dependencies. UBI extracts power from Wall Street and its illegitimate hold on your basic financial well-being and future retirement. UBI moves us towards a demand-side economy, a trickle-up economy, and provides direct payment for otherwise uncompensated work like stay-at-home parent or caregiver.

As your Congressman I will approach every concern with the intent to do the most good, for the most people, beginning with the least among us; to lift from the bottom. Are you ready to fight for someone you don’t know? I am ready to fight for you.


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