(Walt Nowosad) – The following is a point-by-point response to a recent column published by Assemblyman Pat Hickey (R-Reno).
The Founding Fathers didn’t have partisan caucuses when they gathered in Philadelphia in 1776. Neither did Nevada’s first lawmakers when they met in Carson City 150 years ago and started the Silver State.
In fact, the founders didn’t even want political parties, and purposely excluded them from the U.S. Constitution. George Washington, in his farewell address, pleaded with Americans to set aside their differences–warning that political parties would fracture the nation and “render alien to each other those who ought to be bound by fraternal affection.”
Mr. Hickey, you show your lack of knowledge of the history of our country. Political division existed from the founding of the first colony in 1620 when those people found that they were more able to survive by individual work rather than being communal. During the meetings in 1787 that yielded our Constitution, the delegates were loosely divided into two camps: federalist and anti-federalist. So saying that, collectively, the founders didn’t want political parties is a conclusion you reached that only serves your basis for this press release.
Fast-forward to the about-to-begin 2015 Legislative Session-“fraternal affection” is not only out the door–there’s downright chaos in the proverbial backroom of one political clan. Leadership struggles have caused the press to dub Republican Assembly members, the “Clown Caucus.”
What a hypocrite! You have been part and parcel of the Caucus process for all the years you have been in the Assembly. It was quite alright for you to have the power of the purse strings as the minority leader during the last primary season and deny monetary support to those who oppose your liberal, anti-Republican philosophy. YOU were the root of that dissention when you departed the first RAC after the first day of the caucus meeting to, in your words, “re-evaluate your options”. Certainly not an action that shows an attitude of unity.
Badly behaving “elephants” are one thing in a three-ring circus-like atmosphere, but lawmakers are fast approaching the start of a new legislative session with crucial issues facing many Nevadans.
Given your record in the Assembly proceedings in the last session (51.26% conservative rating by the NPRI) you are not the one who should be held up as the standard of leadership for Assembly Republicans and the tenets of the Republican Party. The very fact that you characterize fellow Republicans as “badly behaving elephants” attests to your disdain for those tenets.
When Gov. Brian Sandoval steps to the Assembly podium for his State of the State speech on Jan. 15th, he’s certain to address Nevada’s need to reform and fund education, and continue the State’s trajectory toward greater economic diversification. A host of pro-taxpayer measures–uniquely possible with historic Republican majorities in both houses, also await Nevada lawmakers when they come for work on Feb. 2nd.
It is especially interesting that in a press release that you allude to “a host of pro-taxpayer measures” without explaining what that means. Just more typical non-substantive political babble. You say that education needs to be reformed and funded. Well, Mr. Hickey, the government of the State of Nevada’s solution to reformation is to throw more money at the education problem and expecting that “solution” to solve the problem. We are still at the bottom of the heap that rates the success of educational systems in the U.S.
What those lawmakers and the Nevadans they represent don’t need is for Assembly Republicans to continue behaving like a second-rate Vegas lounge act, impersonating Abbott and Costello’s, “Who’s on First?”
During the last session, you personally held our party up as a bargaining chip in dealing with the opposition across the aisle in order to present the appearance of cooperation. In doing so, you used your leadership (I use that word advisedly) position to advance you own personal views rather than those of our party. By your actions, YOU are identified as the organizer of an “Abbot and Costello lounge act”.
Nevadans expect legislators to act like we did during the recent Special Session, when the Tesla project was approved. Members from both parties and both houses, worked with Gov. Sandoval to craft enabling legislation that improved Nevada’s future business prospects.
In that special session, all members of the Legislature acted in the best interests of the people of Nevada. Bringing in a big business entity into Nevada was a no-brainer, but at the same time, do you think that Tesla would have turned Nevada down if we didn’t give them what we did? In evaluating what the other four locales had to offer, it was obvious that Nevada was the only choice for Tesla. Yet, we gave them a financial package that ended up being just more icing on the cake that was already well iced.
Inter-party squabbling, like we’re seeing with Assembly Republicans–doesn’t score points with constituents, nor does it leave a lasting legislative legacy. Most Nevadans don’t care if the person who represents them is a “Liberty” Republican or a “progressive” Democrat. Voters from all sides of the political spectrum-simply expect legislators to get good things done on their behalf.
Our constituents are more sophisticated than you give them credit for. Of course that don’t want inter-party contention. But if you really believe that, then I suggest to get to the root of that contention. It started with your transparent behavior in the first RAC meeting in Las Vegas. You fully expected to be elected as the speaker-designate. When that failed you picked up your ball and went home. Good example for a “leader”? I think not. If you are really interested in eliminating the division of the caucus, then exercise what would be considered a gold-plated leadership trait and publically advise Mr. Hambrick to step down in the interest of cohesiveness of the caucus. But I suspect that you, Mr. Hickey, are more interested in self-aggrandizement than the good of the State and the Party.
That’s why partisan caucuses, meeting secretly behind closed doors, may one day become an endangered political species. Good governance and good legislation happens when both sides find common ground; and work through their differences.
Now you are really being self-serving in light of your recent actions. Yes, negotiations with those of the opposition party is the right thing to do but only if neither side has to negotiate away the basic tenets of their party. You have successfully accomplished giving away big chips for very little in return. That, sir, is not negotiating; that is surrender.
Earlier Nevada lawmakers did their work out in the open: in committee meetings, on the Floor of the Assembly–and if necessary, over at Jack’s Bar. Given Americans growing displeasure with the current gridlock and political infighting in Washington, D.C., current legislators would be wise to take a page from our own past.
Okay, let’s face facts. The so-called gridlock has its roots in Republican’s conceding Republican basics to achieve little in return. We have reached a point at which Republicans have drawn the line in the sand and have said, “No more.” The time has come for us to put some steel in our backs and take the stand that should have been taken decades ago: adhere to our basic Republican beliefs.
Before many us became Republicans or Democrats, we were Nevadans. We would do well to put Nevada’s interests first. First-before either political party or any of the special interest-driven factions…that so easily divide us.
After all, legislators are elected to be state lawmakers–not partisan politicians.
Really? Then why is it that you consistently vote for more taxes, more regulation, and less individualism, all basic tenets of the Democrat Party? It’s time for you to do what you said you were going to do, “re-evaluate your options”, and perhaps change your party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
Happy New Year. As always, I appreciate your thoughts.