(Ryan Hamilton) – Few people in Nevada are working harder to put the state at the top of the political deck than the next interviewee, Ali-jae Asselstine. For several months, she has been putting together the Western Republican Leadership Conference, to be held October 18th – 21st, opening with a Presidential debate between GOP contenders set at the Venetian in Las Vegas. I sat down with Asselstine to see what she had to say about her pop culture tastes and how Nevada will influence the nominating contest. You can find out more about the conference by visiting their website: www.westernrepublican.com.
NNV: Do you play any sports?
Asselstine: I happen to be on an all-star, competitive kickball team here in Nevada. We practice. It’s intense.
NNV: If Nevada had a Darth Vader, who would it be?
Asselstine: Harry Reid
NNV: What do you think Nevada adds to the early caucus states – what values do we have that either off-sets or contributes what goes into the Iowa caucuses?
Asselstine: More than Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada’s population and issues are representative of the entire scope of the nation. Our spot as third in the nation and first in West, also affords the opportunity to prioritize Western concerns.
NNV: What is the first pop song you can remember listening to on repeat for hours?
Asselstine: I went through a fairly obsessive Michael Jackson phase.
NNV: Bob Seger or John Mellencamp?
Asselstine: Mellencamp IF he keeps the “Cougar”
NNV: Is there a song, or maybe a Youtube video, you listen to or watch that cures your blues? If so, what is it?
Asselstine: Auto-tune videos.
NNV: What is the number one reason people should attend the WRLC?
Asselstine: This is our opportunity to assert Nevada’s relevance. The RNC selected Nevada to host the 2012 Republican Presidential candidates, Western and National leaders, and entire RNC delegation. This is our chance to highlight not only our state, but the entire Western region as well. Who better to entertain and lead this fantastic event than Nevadans?
NNV: I’m told you speak Italian. If this rumor is indeed true, what is your favorite Italian word and what does it mean?
Asselstine: It is true. The word I probably use the most is “ecco.” It means everything and nothing.. “Ecco” as in “here,” “yes,” “correct,” “there,” “look,” “I understand.” Ecco.
NNV: What is the one take away you hope the Presidential candidates and the eventual nominee learn from Nevada?
Asselstine: Win us to win it.
“Pop Quiz” is a regular feature of Nevada News and Views, providing a more personal look at political figures, public policy officials and other movers-and-shakers. We’ll be asking the tough questions about music, art, pop culture, and life. After all, when they’re done with casting the important votes and organizing support, our leaders are still people.