(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Wearing the same military uniform he first put on in June 1944, Las Vegas Democrat and university Regent Jack Schofield announced yesterday his intention to challenge Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., for Congress in District 2.
Schofield said he decided to run for the seat despite the fact he does not live in the district. Part of his district as a regent does encompass the Congressional 2 seat, he said. District 2 encompasses almost the entire state of Nevada except for urban areas of Clark County where Congressional Districts 1 and 3 are located.
Asked if his non-residency would be an issue with the rural and northern Nevada residents who comprise the majority of the district, Schofield said probably so for some voters.
But Schofield said he will try to win over voters in District 2 by being a “champion for their cause, especially water.”
“We are in trouble in Washington, DC,” he said. “We need someone to get in there and fight for our rights.”
Schofield used his participation in Reno’s Veterans Day Parade as a backdrop for his announcement, made on the steps of the U.S. District Court building downtown.
Schofield, 86, said he wants to represent and be a champion for northern and rural Nevada with an eye to protecting the region’s water supply from thirsty Las Vegas. Schofield said he would accomplish this by working in Congress to find money for desalinization plants on the California coast that could satisfy Southern Nevada’s water needs.
Schofield said there are over 2,000 such plants currently operating all over the world.
“But we need some representation back in (Washington) DC to make sure we get some money earmarked so we can build those desalinization plants and bring (water) into Nevada,” he said.
Schofield, who served eight years in the Nevada Legislature from 1970 to 1978, said he does not believe Heller is representing average Nevadans.
“He voted against the health care bill and I support it to the hilt,” he said.
Schofield said his fighter pilot mentality gained in World War II would bring some value to Congress. It isn’t only the issues, but the need for civility that is at issue, he said.
He pointed to Heller’s comments at a Carson City Rotary Club meeting in August where he criticized the Cash for Clunkers program. As reported in the Nevada Appeal, Heller singled out a member of the audience who said he had taken advantage of the program, prompting the reply: “Congratulations. Everybody else in the room paid for your car.”
The man left saying he would never vote for Heller again.
“Can you blame him,” Schofield asked. “For insulting him in front of all those people.”
Schofield is one of two announced Democrats. The other candidate is Paul Reeves of Pahrump.
Schofield is in his second term as regent, having won reelection in 2008 without opposition. He is also a former World War II fighter pilot with the U.S. Army Air Force. Born in Arizona, Schofield has been a Nevada resident since 1937.