Chip Evans: Consensus builder for Congress
Chip Evans isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and talk issues with voters in either the Reno Sparks area or rural Nevada including Churchill County.
As the Democratic candidate seeking incumbent Mark Amodei’s Congressional District 2 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Evans brings a wide range of experience from both his business and radio career in which he discussed the day’s issues on a daily basis.
As the days tick down to the Nov. 8 election, Evans has crisscrossed the district, discussing how his ideas differ from Amodei’s.
“It’s going pretty well,” Evans said of his campaign. “I have received a lot of encouragement from individuals and the labor community.”
Since the 2010 census, which resulted in the redistricting of congressional seats in Nevada, Evans said the Democrats haven’t run a decent campaign in three cycles. He feels he has changed that during this election year.
First and foremost, Evans said being a congressman is about the relationship of both major parties serving in the House, and the willingness to step across the aisle and work in bipartisan fashion.
“In five years on radio, I talked to a lot of people on the issues,” he said. “My other part of experience was in business where I negotiated contracts around the globe with people of different cultures.
Evans added that in many cases, individuals tend to find the areas they can agree or disagree and then negotiate from there.
As a radio host, Evans’ liberal-based program was aired on a conservative radio station in Reno, which also had a program offering the Republican viewpoint. From time to time, he would have Republicans on his program, and he would also appear on their shows.
One of the things of which he is most proud came in January 2011 when he served as chairman of the Washoe County Democrats. When Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded and others fatally shot by a lone gunman, he met with his Republican counterpart. In less than two hours, both parties released a joint statement condemning the violence.
When discussing the movement to have the federal government turn public land over to the states, Evans said the idea is not practical, an opinion expressed by several members of the Churchill County Commission.
“What’s the logic in turning over land so you can sell it,” he said.
Evans also said the state couldn’t handle the administration of the land because it has difficulty in taking care of its children and overseeing medical care.
“This is a state that cherishes its public lands,” he added.
Evans said Amodei, when he was first elected to the CD2 seat in 2011 and then again for a two-year term in 2012, hasn’t served his constituents well. He said the Latino community gives Amodei 20 points out of 100, while the League of Conservation Voters gave the incumbent a 3 percent approval rating. Evans said the LBGT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community has given Amodei a zero for his voting.
Furthermore, Evans said Amodei has been absent too many times from his duties in Washington D.C. He claims Amodei has missed three times the number of days than his peers and also made it known he would like to return to Nevada in 2018 and run for a statewide office such as governor.
“He already has one foot out the door,” Evans said of Amodei’s stint in Washington.
On current issues, Evans said he supports the Department of Labor’s revised regulations on managers’ pay that take effect on Dec. 1, 2016. The revised overtime pay regulations, which are estimated to affect at least 4.2 million American workers, will increase the salary threshold for the overtime exemption from $455 a week ($23,600 annually) to $913 a week ($47,476 annually).
“Congress should have done this earlier, not the Labor Department,” he said.
He also favors raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. With the minimum wage under $10 per hour in Nevada, Evans said he wonders how a worker can survive without government assistance.
“The economic theory of trickle down has not been working,” Evans said. “If we want the economy to thrive, we need people with money in their pockets to spend.”
Speaking in a military town, Evans said he supports the armed forces but would like to see a re-examination of the budget and expenditures. For example, he finds it incredulous Congress will spend money on what generals and admirals don’t want.
“The defense budget is too high. To much is misspent and misdirected,” he pointed out. “We need to invest heavily in cyber security, and also we need to restore our Air Force and naval capabilities.”
Evans also feels Congress let the American people down by not fulfilling commitments for veterans to receive their just and proper care at Veterans Administration facilities.
Evans said any major program has flaws, and the Affordable Care Act has its share. Instead of appealing Obamacare, he said it needs tweaking.
He also supports the repeal of the Cadillac Tax that imposes an annual 40 percent excise tax on plans with annual premiums exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family starting in 2018, to be paid by insurers.