Heller delivers farewell speech in U.S. Senate | NevadaAppeal.com

Heller delivers farewell speech in U.S. Senate

Michelle L. Price
Associated Press

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., makes his concession speech during the NVGOP Election Night Watch Party in Las Vegas on Nov. 6.

LAS VEGAS — Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller is thanking his family and staff and touting the work of his office in a farewell speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Heller in a speech in Washington on Thursday morning cited his work on veterans' issues and the 2017 Republican tax overhaul as among his top accomplishments in his seven years in the Senate.

Heller lost a re-election race in November to Democrat Jacky Rosen. Heller was a former critic of President Donald Trump but became his ally and campaigned with him as he sought another term.

That alliance and Heller's votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act were among Rosen's top criticisms of Heller during the campaign.

The Republican's goodbye speech capped nearly three decades that Heller has spent in public office, serving as a state Assembly member, Secretary of State, U.S. House Representative and senator.

Heller spoke about freedom and opportunity in America, "a country where the son of an auto mechanic and a school cook had the opportunity to deliver the newspaper to then-Gov. Mike O'Callaghan, go to Sunday school with then-Lt. Gov. Harry Reid's sons, get his education at the same public high school as the late Sen. Paul Laxalt, or play basketball with Gov. Brian Sandoval… a place where that same kid could grow up and serve Nevada in the United States Senate."

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The 58-year-old said the tax law helped tens of thousands of Nevadans receive bonuses and raises. He also spoke about the work his office did on behalf of constituents, such as stepping in to stop a home foreclosure for an unemployed Navy veteran.

Heller also spoke about the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip and the way concert goers, bystanders, first-responders and others responded.

"Whether these individuals wore uniforms or not, they stepped up to help others and their actions helped us grieve and start to heal together. This immeasurable pain, suffering and devastation inflicted by one man elicited a profound, innate and immediate human response from Nevadans across the state," he said.

Heller added: "Like many Nevadans I saw firsthand the strong sense of family, faith and strength in the wake of the Oct. 1 shooting. And when I leave here, I will carry those extraordinary moments of unity and generosity with me."

Several other senators, including Nevada's Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, gave short speeches paying tribute to Heller.

Cortez Masto said that when she was elected in 2016, Heller warmly welcomed her and pledged to work across the aisle with her on behalf of the state.

"I know you're not done," she told Heller. "We are all excited to see what is next."