Looking forward to next year’s races
It’s primary time in Nevada, although the election isn’t scheduled until June 14, 2016. Some incumbents, such as Reno Assemblymember Pat Hickey, are retiring, creating open seats. Other candidates hoping to upset an incumbent in the primary are also starting to declare their intentions.
Republican Assemblymember Victoria Seaman from Las Vegas has announced she’ll be a candidate for the state Senate in District 6 where appointed Sen. Mark Lipparelli, a fellow Republican, hasn’t yet revealed whether he will run. Other Republican senators who voted for the Sandoval tax package have also been promised challengers from the right wing of their party.
But we haven’t heard nearly as much about an effort to organize internal challenges from the Republican left. Or middle. Or, for that matter, from Democrats willing to take on the out-of-touch-with-reality set. There are some obvious opportunities, especially in a spirited presidential campaign year.
Case in point: Assembly District 4, a seat currently held by the amazingly awful Michele Fiore, she of the “sit your ass down” sobriquet. The list of embarrassing Fiore quotes and ridiculous attention-grabbing actions is endless, from the arming of “hot” co-eds against would-be rapists to the denial of racism, i.e. “in case you haven’t noticed, the president is black.” No wonder the rest of the nation thinks Nevada is full of ignorant cartoon characters.
But now we have the spectacle of this proud government hater refusing to allow unannounced inspections of her business records as required by state law. Oh, she has excuses—she was too busy at the Legislature the first time the inspectors showed up at her door, and she had to take her mother to the doctor the second time. After receiving notice that her license would be suspended if she continued to refuse inspectors, she laughed and said she’d welcome them with coffee and doughnuts on their next visit.
She apparently believes the mandatory unannounced review doesn’t apply to her. She seems indifferent to the irony that she has taken more than $6 million in federal Medicaid funding over the past five years from a government she abhors or the fact that taxpayer money comes with accountability measures to ensure quality home health care.
Fiore’s business practices have previously been called into question by Internal Revenue, which placed more than a million dollars in liens on her businesses due to non-payment of federal withholding taxes from her employees. When questioned by the media, she laughed off the liens, blamed the troubles on her employees, or insisted she had already paid back the IRS.
Just like Cliven Bundy, the welfare cowboy and scofflaw who grazes his cattle wherever he likes but refuses to pay grazing fees because he doesn’t recognize the existence of the federal government, Fiore’s disdain for government regulations is reckless and self-serving. It’s easy to see why Fiore and Bundy are such allies as they couch their refusal to comply as some sort of righteous rebellion without consequences. But why is she a government official?
Unlike Hickey’s seat, which is heavily Republican and will likely be decided in a primary featuring multiple candidates, Fiore’s Assembly District has a fairly close registration. A Democrat could win there by running a bold and animated campaign using Fiore’s antics against her. A Republican primary challenger could also effectively compete by running aggressively, with the help of many donors who are tired of the constant national ridicule inspired by her actions.
So how about it? Who will save Nevada from more late-night comedy routines and restore dignified, effective representation to District 4? And if you live in another district with a less-than-stellar representative, what’s holding you back? 2016 just might be your year.