Choices at the end of an unpleasant campaign

I’m an election day voter most years, but not because I wait to the last minute to make up my mind. I like to visit my neighborhood polling place on Election Day and take part in the rituals of voting, helping the elderly poll workers find my name on the list, chatting with my neighbors, observing the mood of the room.

But this year I’ll be voting early, knowing that those votes are tallied first and announced all at once at the beginning of election night. I want to be in that first batch of votes that repudiates Donald Trump and his alt-right movement, choosing instead to protect our constitution and the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities, and support rational public policy through a vote for Hillary Clinton.

I’ll gladly cast my ballot for U.S. senator for Catherine Cortez Masto. She’s an intelligent, thoughtful person who will represent Nevada well. Don’t believe the grossly misleading television ads about her. She’ll stand out in Congress for her integrity, work ethic and ability to get things done.

Our U.S. House member, Mark Amodei, who has transformed from an amiable moderate Republican into a coarse right-wing Trump leader should be ousted from office and replaced with Democrat Chip Evans, who has campaigned tirelessly.

Republicans should read Mark’s recent comments about Trump to a Republican women’s gathering in Gardnerville and then consider whether rejecting Amodei might be the best way to send their party a message about civility, leadership and public service.

The recent special session at the Nevada Legislature provided an ugly tableau of power politics in Nevada, but Washoe County can be proud of its Democratic representatives who spoke truth to the powerful forces of multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Sen. Julia Ratti and Assemblymembers Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Amber Joiner and Mike Sprinkle all deserve to be re-elected for their leadership and courage in resisting threats from lobbyists and pressure from the gambling industry and the Chamber of Commerce to waste $750 million in our taxes on a new football stadium for the Raiders. They know Nevada must prioritize funding for education and human services, and can create the same construction jobs by investing in infrastructure improvements.

In the competitive Senate District 15 race, progressives should choose Democrat Devon Reese over former legislator Heidi Gansert who says she would have supported the stadium deal over fixing our schools. Reese is an articulate advocate for education and health care, and has been steadily gaining support with his warm personality and passion for public service.

I hope this is the last year that Reno and Sparks will be out of compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Legislature will direct the cities to allow neighborhoods to elect their own representatives in the general election. In the Ward 1 race, Jenny Brekhus is the clear choice. Brekhus has demonstrated she can be trusted to ask difficult questions and ferret out solutions. She deserves to be reelected. In the other competitive race, voters should return David Bobzien to his council seat where he can continue to support reasoned city policies.

In Sparks, voters have a chance to elect a new progressive candidate in Ward 1 in Denise Lopez. She will bring youth, enthusiasm and diversity to the City Council.

Finally, the Washoe County School Board will be greatly strengthened by electing three strong women to fill open seats: Katy Simon Holland, Malena Raymond and Debbie Feemster.

I’ve known all of them for decades and am grateful they stepped up to serve on a political body that has had more than its share of controversy in recent years.

These candidates have done their part by agreeing to serve. The least we can do is take the time to vote for them.