Koble: This is the year for a Democrat in CD2
Clint Koble said the fact he’s a Democrat doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand and support the needs of the Congressional District 2 that spans Northern Nevada from Washoe to Elko counties.
Koble (it’s pronounced koh’blay) spent more than seven years as state executive director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency under President Obama.
“I’m very familiar with rural issues whether it’s water, public lands, drought,” he said.
He said before the director’s job, he was a rural business adviser: “My job was to help rural Nevadans start businesses.”
In those two positions, he said he traveled extensively in CD2 including working with all the Indian tribes.
He said healthcare is a major challenge in rural Nevada because of the lack of services and providers.
“That hurts rural Nevada communities, makes it harder to live in rural communities,” he said.
He’s aware he’s running against incumbent Mark Amodei in a district that no Democrat has ever won in the 37 years it has existed.
But he said things are different this year.
“With Donald Trump in the presidency, all bets are off everywhere,” he said. “A lot of women voters are going to make their presence known in the general election.”
In addition, he predicted a strong Latino turnout this year because of how Trump and Congress have treated the immigration issue.
While Republicans hold a registration lead in CD2, Koble says the key is always the nonpartisan voters who number some 80,000.
He said healthcare is the No. 1 issue no matter who he talks to in the district and the No. 1 cause is to lower the cost, especially for those in rural areas.
Koble said he believes for the first time, a majority of Americans feel universal health care, “is going to be where we have to go.”
He supports, “the safety net” — Social Security and Medicare as well as Medicaid.
He also believes public lands should remain public.
“I’m not opposed to small transfers of public lands but I’m adamantly opposed to large scale transfers of public lands,” he said.
He said Trump’s tariffs are a bad policy that came at a horrible time for agriculture.
“They came in the middle of the growing season. The result is farmers were harvesting soybeans at a loss. If the president knew anything about agriculture, he would at least have waited until farmers harvested their soybeans and had the money in the bank.”
But he said tariffs are a bad idea in any event.
Koble called for comprehensive immigration reform saying his father was brought to this country at age 3, undocumented, but later became a citizen.
“I believe in firm but compassionate immigration,” he said. “But I’m against the wall. Show me a 50 foot wall and I’ll show you a 52 foot ladder.”
Her said separating children from their parents is offensive: “This is not the country I grew up in.”
He said he believes in strengthening public education, not vouchers for private education.
“Teachers should be allowed to teach,” he said. “There are a lot of demands on teachers to do things other than teach.”
He said education should invest more in people including workforce training.
“I think workforce education should be part of infrastructure,” he said. “We have to invest in our people.”
Koble is also a firm supporter of the Second Amendment who grew up on a farm in North Dakota where, “we either had to raise our food or hunt for it.”
But, he said he opposes assault weapons, bump stocks and high capacity magazines.
“And like 90 percent of Americans are in favor of background checks,” he said.
Congress, he said, simply isn’t doing its job.
“I feel we have a lack of good governance,” he said. “I’m talking about passing bills in the middle of the night, passing bills we don’t read, passing budgets that don’t force us to live within our means. We complain about deficits then vote in some of the biggest tax breaks that just send us more into debt.”
He said he doesn’t like where the Trump administration is taking the country.
“This administration, when it comes to respect, has sunk to levels below the ground,” he said. “It’s unbecoming of a President.”
Koble said, however, you can’t blame it all on the Trump administration, that Congress has failed to act and, “when there’s a failure to act, someone is going to fill that vacuum.”
“Congress has failed to do its job, ceded a lot of its responsibility to the executive branch,” he said.
Koble said Congress needs to learn the lessons he learned growing up on that farm: “Hard work, the value of a dollar — especially when it wasn’t yours — and the importance of working together to get things done,” he said. “I want to take those values to Washington.”