Reno mayor defends Reid, criticizes extremism in GOP
Nevada News Bureau
CARSON CITY – Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said this week he expects to see Harry Reid continue to help northern Nevada in a variety of ways now that he has won re-election in a bitterly contested Senate race.
Cashell, interviewed Wednesday on the Nevada NewsMakers television program, is a Republican who supported Reid, D-Nev., in his bid for another term over GOP rival Sharron Angle.
“He’s done an outstanding job,” Cashell said. “Do I like everything going on in Washington, DC, no I don’t. But I didn’t like the alternative.”
Reid helped with Reno’s efforts to build a trench for the railroad to improve downtown and helped craft a water-sharing agreement with California over the use of Truckee River water, he said.
Cashell, elected as mayor for a final term, said Reid can help Nevada in a number of ways, including finding potential new uses for Yucca Mountain rather than the proposed nuclear waste dump. One alternative being discussed is a research center, including ways to reprocess nuclear waste, that could bring much-needed jobs to the state, he said.
Cashell said he switched to the Republican Party after a conversation with President Ronald Reagan who said the GOP can accommodate multiple points of view. He called the extreme right element of the current GOP party the RINOs, not himself or Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, who also endorsed Reid over Angle.
RINO is a term meaning “Republican In Name Only.”
The extreme element of the GOP is excluding moderates and as a result is hurting the party, he said.
Cashell also defended Raggio, who lost his job as state Senate minority leader after lending his support to Reid’s re-election bid. Cashell said Raggio’s leadership will be missed in the upcoming 2011 session where redistricting, the budget and taxes will all be critical issues for the state.
Cashell called Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, who took over the minority leadership position in the state Senate from Raggio, a “good guy.” But he said Raggio’s replacement was “petty and vindictive.”
“To call Bill Raggio a RINO is probably the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard with what he’s done for the party and how he’s helped,” Cashell said. “He’s been a great Republican.”
Raggio was blamed for supporting a tax increase in the 2009 session of the Legislature, but without him the increase would not have come with a sunset clause, he said. The tax increase will expire next June 30 without an extension by lawmakers.
“I think they are going to miss his leadership,” Cashell said.