Elect Shelley Berkley

The Reno News & Review's endorsements (so far)

U. S. President: Barack Obama

U. S. Senate: Shelley Berkley

Representative in Congress, District 2: Samuel Koepnick

Nevada Senate District 13: Debbie Smith

Nevada Senate District 15: Sheila Leslie

State Assembly, District 24: David Bobzien

State Assembly, District 25: Pat Hickey

State Assembly, District 26: Rodney Petzak

State Assembly, District 27: Teresa Benitez-Thompson

State Assembly, District 30: Mike Sprinkle

State Assembly, District 31: Skip Daly

State Assembly, District 32: Ira Hansen

State Assembly, District 40: Rich Dunn

Washoe County Commission, District 1: Andrew Diss

Washoe County Commission, District 4: Vaughn Hartung

District Court Judge, Department 9: Cal Dunlap and Scott N. Freeman

State Board of Education, District 2: Donna Clontz

Justice of the Peace Reno/Verdi, Department 1: Patricia Lynch

Justice of the Peace, Reno/Verdi Department 6: Pierre Hascheff

University of Nevada Regent, District 9: Michon Maupin Mackedon

School Trustee, District E: Howard Rosenberg

School Trustee, District E: Diane Nicolet

Reno City Council, Ward 1: Jenny Brekhus

Reno City Council, Ward 3: Oscar Delgado

Reno City Council, Ward 5: Kitty K. Jung

Reno City Council, At-Large: Hillary Schieve

Nevada State Question No. 1: Vote Yes

Washoe County Question WC-1: Skip this one

Washoe County Question WC-2: Skip this one

Reno Question RNO-1: Vote No

We endorse Shelley Berkley for the U. S. Senate.

We hope Nevadans will replace appointed Sen. Dean Heller with Berkley because Heller has been bad for Nevada and for the nation.

Heller had an opportunity when he entered the federal arena with election to the U.S. House in 2006. He was a moderate Republican in the Nevada Legislature, fair and reasonable as secretary of state. He could have shown his party how to serve without being dogmatic, intransigent and contemptuous of his opposition. He could have shown how to work with the Democrats instead of obstructing business. That’s one reason this newspaper endorsed him.

Instead, like so many politicians, when he decided to play the big room, he dashed right where the big campaign money was—money whose givers demand obstruction.

In 2006, he beat Sharron Angle in the Republican primary after the far-right Club for Growth, which specialized in opposing moderate Republicans, intervened in Nevada to support Angle against Heller and fellow moderate Dawn Gibbons. They got 61 percent of the vote to Angle’s 35 percent, but after Heller was elected, he embraced the Club for Growth’s viewpoint. Last year, it gave him a 94 percent approval rating on his House votes. The Club is still far right, but Heller is no longer a moderate.

As a member of the House he became just another polarizing, intransigent Republican. He likes attention-getting issues that accomplish little, like his bill to cut off Congressional pay when no budget has been adopted. He’s a show horse, not a work horse.

Heller voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases, voted to keep subsidies for oil companies, voted against health coverage for abortion, voted against extending job discrimination law to gays, voted against marriage equality, voted for and against lettings stockholders vote on executive bonuses.

On this last item, last month Heller got his reward—an endorsement from Financial Executives International, which reported that Heller was one of 22 senators who have “voted 100 percent pro-FEI priorities.” So Heller got his reward. What did the public get? Screwed.

This is not a race where the choice is clear cut, and we have misgivings about Berkley, who has made some bad judgments. She once attacked Gov. Kenny Guinn for creating a senior prescription drug program because it didn’t initially serve enough people. She’s been far too protective of the casino industry. Her explanations for her activities benefiting her husband’s business, now the subject of an ethics probe, do not wash. That she was helping Nevadans is beside the point. The same can be said for many officials’ conflicts of interest. But there are thousands of issues, from aviation to zoology, where she can aid Nevadans. She needs to stay away from aiding Nevadans if it also engages her husband’s business. She also needs to listen to those who disagree with her.

But this is not a race between perfect and imperfect. Berkley has been less cynical, less intransigent than Heller. She doesn’t let ideology decide all her positions. She is willing to work with her adversaries.

She voted to empower the EPA on greenhouse gases, against subsidizing the oil companies, for including abortion in health coverage, for extending job discrimination law to gays, against a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, and for letting stockholders vote on executive bonuses.

It’s time for Dean Heller to go. We hope you will vote for Shelley Berkley for the U.S. Senate.