Heck receives solid support at Fernley stop
For three days U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Joe Heck visited both small and large communities in western Nevada to discuss his plans for the office if elected on Nov. 8.
The Las Vegas Republican is in a dogfight with Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, the two-term attorney general who served from 2009-2015. Most major polls either show Heck or Masto in the lead but within the margin of error.
In his first day of campaign stops, Heck and his team visited Goldfield, Hawthorne and Fernley to discuss rural issues and offer an overview of the status of his campaign. At the Fernley Republican Headquarters, Heck discussed his first and only debate with Masto that was conducted two weeks ago in Las Vegas. He said according to a focus group conducted by a Las Vegas television station, 70 percent of the 14 independent voters said he won the debate.
Originally, Heck had hoped for two more debates, one in Elko and the other in Reno.
“She would never engage or negotiate for a debate up north,” he said.
Heck first discussed public lands and said Masto does not know anything about water rights or land use. Heck said the League of Conservation Voters, however, endorsed Masto. The league has been described as a liberal political advocacy organization to assist political candidates who support a pro-environment agenda. That prompted Heck to say his opponent is out of tune with rural Nevada, an area she hasn’t visited as much as Heck during the past two months.
Heck said Masto has no idea what people in the rural counties encounter such as being small-business owners or trying to obtain health care.
Heck, along with fellow Congressmen Mark Amodei and Cresent Hardy, recently introduced legislation for Nevadans not to receive an unfair tax under the Affordable Care Act. Large insurers are leaving the ACA exchanges, thus reducing coverage options.
Heck said residents of 10 counties — Esmeralda, Mineral, Humboldt, Pershing, Churchill, Lincoln, White Pine, Eureka, Lander and Elko — will have only one insurance carrier from which to choose.
“It’s only one plan, and there’s no choice,” he said.
Heck reiterated several times the race for Harry Reid’s senate seat will be won in the rural counties. Reid, though, has touted Masto as his handpicked successor for his Senate seat.
“No Harry. It’s not your Senate seat. It’s the seat of the people of Nevada,” Heck said. “For the first time in 20 years, we’ll actually have someone who will represent them (the voters).”
Heck said he won’t win the race unless voters in the rural counties support him. He then asked for questions, and the first two centered on him withdrawing support for the Republican nominee for the presidency, Donald Trump.
Robert Johnson of Fallon questioned Heck why he’s not supporting the people’s choice for president, a decision Heck made after a leaked 2005 interview of Trump’s remarks on groping women came out.
“I didn’t engage in the presidential selection process,” Heck said. “I wanted to see who the nominee was, and I did support Trump.”
Heck said his decision has nothing to do with politics but as a personal viewpoint from an emergency room physician who has seen women as the victims of assault.
“I am not voting for Hillary Clinton,” he stressed.
Heck assured the standing-room only crowd that he will still support Trump as his president if both men are elected to office in order for them to accomplish things for the country and Nevada.
“I have to be at peace with myself based on my personal experiences,” Heck said, adding he has lost more votes by doing this.
“You have not lost mine,” Johnson quickly shot back.
Navy veteran David Warren of Fallon wondered if Heck would ignore his constituents because of his Trump decision.
“Of course not,” Heck said. “Look at my six years in Congress.”
Heck said he represented his district well and listened to his constituents just like he did when he served in the Nevada Legislature.
The Army Reserve brigadier general said he has spent more than 26 years in the military and lives by the military Code of Conduct.
“I got to put my head on my pillow and sleep. I live up to a Code of Honor and set an example to my kids,” Heck said
Warren said he does not want Heck’s opponent in the Senate. Attendees said both Trump and Heck must be leaders in the Republican Party. Others in the audience including veterans and their spouses or families shook their heads in agreement.
“We need him (Trump) to support the Supreme Court (with nominees) as we need you in the Senate so you guys can confirm,” said another veteran. “You are a damn great guy — a warrior first, doctor second and congressman third. We need you to show us you’ll be a fighter for us. We want you there, we want you to be in that seat.”