Letters for September 8, 2016

Why the heck is Joe in the Army?

Re “Why is Joe Heck in the army?” (cover story, August 25):

He’s in the army because he’s into the action of the Armed Forces, and it’s a good reference following his name and rank as a legislator. But there’s a sound reason this is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Heck wants to take over Harry Reid’s position but doesn’t think it should take 100 percent of his time. To maintain his military commitment “is very important to me,” he has stated. Like, his position as a senator won’t be that important or time consuming. Should it be?

Yes, it should be. He wishes to specialize in being a Nevada senator, where he can criticize the president in debate. He can’t do that in the Army Reserves. There are other things that are special and exclusive to each branch of service. To specialize in being a senator is not a part-time job. To fulfill the role of separating the duties of membership in each branch is a lame duck endeavor.

Herein it appears that Mr. Heck is trying to superimpose what is most dutiful to the leadership of our land. The job of being a senator is truly never complete. To stop and say, “Ah, let’s worry about all that stuff later. I wanna be in the Army for a little while.” … The more you can accomplish for the people whom you represent and are working for, that’s the mark of viability as a congressman. Do you need stimulating contrast? Isn’t the job of being a senator enough? You must make it that way, and get into it, Mr. Heck.

But are there legal roadblocks to some of the pursuits you deem imperative? What you should be doing is verifying why being a Nevada senator is completely full-time. Can you do this? If not, perhaps you should be looking for something else to occupy your free time.

Steve Smythe


Outstanding article, very comprehensive and very much appreciated. My father was a brigadier general, an appointment which he received Brevit, after a long and storied career in the military. The military was my father’s only full-time career. My uncle, also—full time, regular army, active duty colonel, fought in WWII, two tours in Vietnam—died without ever reaching brigadier general. Both had more decades in the military than Heck, and with plenty of major commands. So, personally, I’m not a fan of Heck, and was actually a bit curious about his advancement from colonel to brigadier general after entering Congreess, when it is almost unheard-of for a reservist to be appointed to general.

I was shocked a couple of years ago, when I read he was being considered, and then I know it was held up for a long time. It really smelled bad to me, and then for him to have a command in Georgia, all the while representing the 3rd district (my home district). What is his intent, if/when he becomes Senator Heck? It’s also so weird, his “I hate the President” as Rep. Heck, but, he can’t denigrate the commander in chief as BG Heck. And, does Heck keep going after the next star, to pad the retirement coffers a bit deeper? If you do any more writing on this subject, could I be notified? Thanks!!!

Nancy Edwards

Las Vegas

Then there’s the licit drugs

The rising prices of prescriptions is a reason we can no longer afford to ignore this election. Drug companies have no accountability or transparency in their pricing methodology, and this will continue to cause healthcare costs to rise. High drug prices put many people at risk of losing everything when loved ones must seek lifesaving treatments that carry an exorbitant price tag.

I have family who use medications with fairly stable prices. Even so, it remains a struggle for them to afford these prescriptions. As we’ve seen with Valeant, Turing and other drug companies, they can raise drug prices without accountability. As someone who will one day help pay for my mother’s healthcare, this hits home. The current arbitrary system of prescription drug prices puts middle-class families in peril; changes in drug prices could have dire consequences. And no one should be put in a situation where they can’t afford their drugs.

If these companies are using tax dollars for their R&D, they should be accountable to the public. I urge Congress to enact common sense legislation including pricing transparency so drug companies can be held accountable when they raise prices exorbitantly overnight.

Scott McFadden