(Assemblyman Ed Goedhart) – There’s not only a big difference between Republicans who claim to be conservative but don’t vote that way, but there’s an equally big difference between Republicans who do vote conservative but don’t actively propose and fight for conservative legislation.
High profile exceptions to the rule include U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, and Reps. Michele Bachmann and Mike Pence. Those folks aren’t just going along for the ride on the SS Congress; they regularly “rock the boat.” And conservatives need a lot more boat rockers, especially in the Nevada Legislature.
The problem is a culture in Carson City that believes you’re a “failure” unless you get a bill passed. Any bill. It doesn’t matter if it’s substantive or relevant to the problems at hand. “Don’t just stand there; pass something!”
As such, in the middle of The Great Recession in 2009, we had Republicans sponsoring or co-sponsoring frivolous bills to designate an official state bug, to officially change the term “manicurist” to “nail technologist,” and to designate the month of September as Toxic Mold Awareness Month.
All as Nevada’s economy was crashing down around us; with our communities suffering the highest unemployment in the nation, leading the country in foreclosures and bankruptcies, and while too many of our kids are getting, at best, a mediocre public school education.
But at least the vivid dancer damselfly is our new, official state insect!
One of the reasons legislators strive so mightily to pass a bill, any bill, is to avoid the kinds of attacks we’ve seen against conservative former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle this year in the U.S. Senate race. They say she was ineffective. They say she wasn’t a team player. They say she was a failure in representing the voters of her district.
Angle, without question, was a boat rocker. She decidedly did not go along to get along. And she proposed and supported conservative legislation which didn’t have a prayer of passing in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. Because Sharron didn’t believe that just being in the minority was an excuse for not trying or for selling out your principles in order to pass something, anything, no matter how silly.
Well, like Sharron, I’d rather go down swinging for something worthwhile than roll over and have my tummy rubbed by Democrat leaders over something trivial. With that in mind, here are some of the legislative proposals I intend to pursue in next year’s legislative session:
• A bill requiring a 2/3 super-majority vote of the people to pass any tax hikes proposed as ballot initiatives
• A bill requiring that all bills be posted online for the public to review at least 72 hours before either legislative house votes on it
• A bill prohibiting former legislators from professionally lobbying the Legislature for a “cooling off” period of four years
• A bill providing universal school choice to all of Nevada’s parents through Education Tax Rebates (vouchers)
• A bill to allow firearms in state parks
• A bill to eliminate the “prevailing wage” and any preferences for unions in state contracts
• A bill similar to the Missouri initiative outlawing any requirement that Nevadans buy health insurance
• A bill similar to one in Utah allowing Nevada to file eminent domain proceeding against the federal government to gain access and control of land needed for renewable green energy and transmission projects
• A bill abolishing collective bargaining for all government employees at both the state and local level
It will certainly be tough to pass any of these common-sense conservative measures if the Legislature stays in super-majority control of the Democrats (with a little aid-and-comfort from some moderate Republicans). But the answer isn’t to give up and roll over; it’s to elect more conservatives.
As Sen. DeMint said recently, “I’d rather lose fighting for the right cause then win fighting for the wrong cause.” Similarly, I’d also rather serve with 12 Janine Hansens (conservative independent running for Assembly 33) than 22 Bill Raggios (member of “Republicans for Reid”).
And before anyone tries painting me with the “ineffective” brush, let me respond the same way Barry Goldwater did some 50 years ago: “If I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”
(Assemblyman Goedhart represents Assembly District 36, a rural district generally covering southern and middle Nevada.)