Heller protests claim he votes 90 percent with Bush | NevadaAppeal.com
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Heller protests claim he votes 90 percent with Bush

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

Rep. Dean Heller, seeking his second term representing Congressional District 2, says he objects to the claim he has voted more than 90 percent with the Bush administration and the GOP.

“Don’t believe everything you read,” he said in an editorial board discussion at the Appeal.

“When I believe this president is right, I’ll support him. When I don’t, I’ll oppose him. I don’t care who is in. If Obama is right, I’ll support him.”

Heller said his support for Bush is more like 70 percent than 90 percent.

“If they want an independent out in Washington D.C., they’ve got one,” he said.

Republican Heller and former regent Jill Derby are locked in a repeat of their 2006 matchup, which Heller won but by less than the GOP registration advantage at the time. Now Democrat-Republican registration numbers are much closer.

But Heller has a slightly larger lead in the polls than he did two years ago.

He said he voted against the bailout package because it didn’t answer three questions: “Would this piece of legislation go after institutions and the individuals who caused this in the first place? Will it help those innocent people caught in this? How are we going to keep this from happening again in the future?”

“The answer to all three of those questions is no. All we’re doing is asking Main Street to bail out Wall Street.”

Heller predicted the financial industry will be back in three to six months asking for more money.

He rejected suggestions the government will get back a lot of its money as the economy recovers.

“A piece of land with a home on it is going to have value,” he said.

He said the federal government isn’t buying those mortgage-backed elements.

“We’re buying all the derivatives they created to make money, everything they can’t explain,” he said.

“They keep trying to sell to the American people that, down the road, this stuff is going to have value, and it isn’t.”

But, he added, that doesn’t mean he believes the nation’s financial institutions aren’t in “dire financial straits.”

As for the race with Derby, he said he isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I always anticipated this race being close,” he said.

He said he believes his constituents will return him to Washington because he listens to them and helps when they ask.

“They call, send an e-mail, they get a response,” he said. “They have no idea how big an impact their calls make.”

He said during the debate about the bailout package he received numerous calls and e-mails – overwhelmingly opposed to the plan.

He also said he takes care of Nevada issues like the opposition to the proposed wilderness area in Lyon County, which local sportsmen fear would limit their rights to use the land.

As for being effective, Heller said he did better than most freshmen, getting four pieces of legislation through. He said he also helped broker a deal on the Colorado River water allotment that, he said, will have a huge impact on Northern Nevada by reducing the south’s demands for water from Northern Nevada.

He said he, like nearly all Nevada political figures, opposes the Yucca Mountain nuclear dump.

“We work very hard to keep it from landing in this place,” he said.

Heller said he is able to “reach across the aisle” on other issues as well. He said he works hard to maintain good relations with his committee chairmen so he can be effective even though in the minority.