Candidates continue war of words | NevadaAppeal.com

Candidates continue war of words

Barry Ginter
Nevada Appeal editor

How nasty has this political season been?

According to Dawn Gibbons, a GOP candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat, it’s the worst that she and her husband, Jim Gibbons, have ever seen.

Dawn Gibbons was at The Appeal on Thursday. Her next stop was at a studio to record a radio ad responding to an ad by the Dean Heller campaign. Heller’s ad charged she took $70,000 from her husband’s campaign for governor. Gibbons, in hers, will refute that claim and put out a counter claim against Heller.

Such is the state of the 2006 election season and there’s no sign it will end, as candidates levy accusations and respond to attacks by their opponents and by out-of-state groups pouring cash into campaigns here.

Gibbons, whose entourage Thursday consisted of a single campaign volunteer, a recent high school graduate, said she’s trying to stay above it all, but was clearly riled by the Heller ad.

“I’ve had enough of him,” she said. “He just went over the line this time.”

Heller’s camp is no happier with the tenor of the campaign season, specifically the ads accusing him of supporting higher taxes and calling him a liberal. They were sponsored by Club for Growth based in Washington, D.C., and the Heller campaign maintains they are just plain wrong.

As for Gibbons, she said she’s not one to hold grudges, even though the campaign season has brought its indignities. Among them are Gov. Kenny Guinn’s endorsement of Heller. She has considered Guinn a personal friend and worked with him on passing key legislation.

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During her brief visit, among the things Gibbons mentioned was the federal program that allows employers to make a phone call to immediately determine if a job applicant is an illegal alien and whether the documents they are presenting are counterfeit.

She noted that many employers and media outlets aren’t even aware the program exists.

The Appeal reported on that program early in the current immigration debate as one of the simplest ways to cut into the problem, and featured the only local employer that was using it.

The program continues to be lightly used, even though an estimated 10 percent of Nevada’s work force consisted of illegal immigrants in 2004. Gibbons said the irony is that she’s been told that if more employers started using the lightly staffed program it would soon be overwhelmed and ineffective.

For me, that just raises more questions about how taxpayer dollars are being spent to curb illegal immigration. This is one program that should be promoted and funded until every employer is using it. For that matter, why not make it mandatory? It works, and removes any excuses that employers might have about the difficulty of determining who is an illegal alien. It would also eventually remove any incentive people would have to cross the border illegally.

But the program apparently remains a secret. Either that, or the government and employers don’t want to remove the excuses used for hiring illegals.

Instead, we’re spending money sending the already overused National Guard to the border to put up fences, a task that might be handled just as well by contractors.

The candidates purport to have tough stances on immigration. All three oppose amnesty. Sharron Angle supports using the military at the border in addition to more border patrol agents. Heller supports a documented guest worker program in places where there’s not enough home-grown labor, which includes Nevada. That would allow aliens to be picked up by employers at the border and taken back after their job is finished. Dawn Gibbons also wants to beef up the number of border patrol agents, and use unmanned aerial vehicles and high technology sensors and monitors at the border.

The candidates’ Web sites are at http://www.dawngibbons.com; http://www.deanheller.com; and http://www.sharronangle.com.

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A caller this week had a suggestion for a political cartoon. Since I can barely draw a legible stick figure, I promised I’d pass the idea on anyhow. So here goes: On one side, picture former President Clinton uttering his infamous phrase that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky. On the other, picture Bush vowing to fire anyone he finds has revealed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Of course, the similarities are in that Clinton did have sex with that woman, and Karl Rove has not been fired.