Huckabee makes quick Northern Nevada campaign swing | NevadaAppeal.com

Huckabee makes quick Northern Nevada campaign swing

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, one of a handful of Republicans running for his party's presidential nomination, made a quick two-day campaign swing to Carson City, Fallon and Reno prior to another Republican debate tonight in Las Vegas.

Huckabee, who finished fourth in the 2008 caucus in the Silver State, took on a wide range of subjects at each venue on Sunday and Monday, discussing both state and local topics.

James Smack, Nevada's assistant controller, said the Huckabee campaign came to him not too long ago for possible support in promoting the candidacy.

"I love his answers he gave to me," Smack said. "He spent 10 and a half years as governor of a state about the size of Nevada."

Smack said Huckabee favors cutting taxes and balancing budgets.

"These are things I look for in our next president of the United States," Smack added.

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A familiar topic centered on the federal government's control of land, especially in the western states. Huckabee said at the Fallon Convention Center Congress should transfer much of the land to the states because the federal government is not managing a vast amount of property.

"Twenty-four percent of the land in America is owned by the federal government," Huckabee explained. "There is no reason for the government to own that amount of land."

Later, Huckabee said the government would be more suited to manage the national parks and monuments and military, yet he said state governments should not have to provide the policing and infrastructure for those lands under Washington's jurisdiction.

Huckabee weighed in on the sage-grouse habitat and said states must have more say in the lands for which they are responsible including fire protection and use management. He also said Nevada and its residents must have the final say in whether or not the Yucca Mountain repository is used for nuclear waste.

"So the next president should make sure that whatever concerns Nevada residents have are those that are mediated. They can't be imposed on them," said Huckabee, who is familiar with a U.S. Army installation in Pine Bluff, Ark., that stores nerve gas.

Another topic in which Nevadans are interested is veterans' health care, which Huckabee calls "a moral outrage."

"We breathe free air because of them," Huckabee said of the veterans. "They kept a promise to America to serve. This county has not kept its promises to those who sacrificed the lives and limbs to keep up safe and free."

Huckabee said the only way Washington lawmakers will understand the plight of veterans is for the president, congressmen and their families to receive care from the Veterans Administration.

Huckabee, who has an approval rate placing him in the bottom tier of candidates vying for the Republican nomination, said elections are more than sound bites. He said voters, and especially Nevadans involved with the Feb. 23 caucus, must look at all the candidates and what hear they have to offer, not what the empty words that come out of their mouths.

"A lot of people are falling in love with the candidates giving speeches," he said.

Huckabee, who formerly had a popular weekend television program on the Fox News Channel, said his 10½ years as governor of Arkansas provided him with the executive experience needed to run the Untied States. When he first assumed office, Huckabee had to work with a Democrat majority in the state senate and house, but he touted his ability to work with the opposition to pass legislation.

As he has watched the plight of the country since he last campaigned for presidency in 2008, Huckabee is quick to let others know he doesn't like the country's direction.

"The Republicans really wanted to challenge Obama," Huckabee said, "but nothing has happened. Obama has taken to us a new place … to the bottom."

Ben Carson in Carson City Wednesday

Ben Carson will be in Carson City Wednesday for a rally at the Carson Community Center.

The rally itself is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. but the campaign has moved the door opening time an hour earlier.

Doors for those interested in attending will open at 11 a.m. Wednesday. No tickets are necessary and attendance is first-come-first-served.

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has been campaigning as a Washington outsider. He has called for a balanced budget amendment and bills himself as “unabashedly and entirely pro-life.” He has also urged that the existing tax code be tossed out describing the current code as “an abomination.”

In recent weeks, he gained enough support to challenge the lead held by Donald Trump in several polls. But the latest poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News shows him dropping from 29 percent in late October to just 11 percent.