Nevada Congress District 2: Amodei proud of accomplishments; Evans, ‘he’s out of touch’
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., says after just five years in Congress he’s managed to get a surprising amount accomplished for Nevada.
“Despite the dysfunction at the national level we’ve been able to get through to do something for Nevada,” he said.
Amodei said this is also the fourth time he’s been on the ballot in that period, which, for voters in Congressional District 2, “means a pretty high level of accountability.”
Amodei is seeking a third full term representing the district that covers northern and western Nevada.
He pointed to the package of five lands bills to help communities from Yerington to McDermitt and Elko by transferring federal property to state or local control. In Yerington, that deal is enabling a major mining project, Pumpkin Hollow, that will provide a huge number of high paying jobs in that community. He cited the Fish Springs-Pyramid Lake Settlement Act that he says augmented water supplies for the Truckee Meadows and the Native Nations legislation giving six different tribal governments more control over their own destiny.
He said he was able to help the Reno Tahoe Airport get authority to hire more customs agents to handle flights now coming in from Mexico and get some problems with the Army Corps of Engineers resolved for the southeast transportation corridor in the Truckee Meadows.
Another issue was helping the sheep herding industry get visas processed for the herders they bring in from Peru.
He said sage grouse issues are “still in play,” and there are multiple lands bills coming in the next Congress. That includes a measure releasing another 300,000 acres in Pershing County. He said he is also working on transportation issues for Nevada including on the proposed Interstate 15 corridor.
“Despite the general culture in DC, those are examples of success stories,” Amodei said.
In addition, he pointed out he is vice chairman of policy for the House western caucus and sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
He said those accomplishments are pretty good for just five years in the House.
As a result, Amodei said he has been rated by two independent groups as among the top 10 percent of House members for legislative productivity.
He said there is still work to be done on the proposed 600,000-acre expansion of the Naval Air Station Fallon and on the plan to pump more federal dollars into Tahoe Basin preservation efforts.
On the subject of Yucca Mountain, Amodei has ruffled feathers of other members of Nevada’s congressional delegation by saying that, if Congress forces the project on the state, Nevada should at least get something in return — like dedication of the I-15 corridor all the way from Las Vegas to Reno.
That Yucca project was considered dead for a at least eight years but, with the impending retirement of Harry Reid, had been raised again by members in states with nuclear plants.
“The big thing there is what will the Senate do now that Harry Reid is gone,” he said. “Do we just fold our arms and say we’re going to sulk?”
Evans says Amodei’s record drove him to run
Democrat Chip Evans says Amodei’s record in Congress drove him to run for the congressional seat.
“For five years now he surprised a lot of people in that his voting record is among the most conservative in the entire House which indicates to me he’s out of touch with Nevada’s population,” Evans said.
He said Amodei also has one of the worst attendance and voting records in the House and has said he doesn’t really like it in Washington, D.C.
Evans said if elected, his focus would be “putting people first and not handing our government over to the super wealthy, multi-national corporations and hyper partisan politics.”
He said priority one is bringing good paying jobs to northern Nevada including expanding sustainable energy — wind, solar and geothermal. He said developing a high-speed data highway would not only attract technology businesses but help existing businesses be more competitive.
Evans said he also wants to “remove big money and dark money from our political process.” He said there must be a way to counter balance Citizens United which he described as “this ridiculous notion that corporations are people and money is speech.”
“If all else fails, I would support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United,” he said.
He said Nevada’s public land must remain public: “I absolutely oppose this notion the state of Nevada is in any position to take ownership of public lands.”
He also said he would fight to protect and strengthen Social Security, not privatize it or convert it to a 401K system.
“My votes in Congress will look very different than the votes Mr. Amodei has cast,” he said. “It turns out he has ridden the Republican party line in Congress.”
As a result, Evans said Amodei gets very bad or zero scores from groups representing seniors, women’s rights, the ACLU and Latinos as well as the National education Association and Sierra Club.
“In politics, character absolutely counts,” said Evans. “I find Mr. Amodei’s decision to be the campaign chairman for Mr. Trump to be very troubling.”
“Mr. Amodei has chosen the partisan path,” he said. “He puts party and his own self-interest first and everything else second.”
Evans grew up in Virginia and went to college in California before moving to Nevada in 2002. He built a real estate investment and development company before ending up in bankruptcy during the recession. Since then, he and his wife of 41 years have built a business advising start-up companies and counseling job seekers. He is the former chairman of the Washoe Democratic Party.