Republican women love liberty
The Nevada Policy Research Institute recently issued its report card on the 2015 legislative session. It includes a rating system for ranking state legislators on their support for economic liberty. NPRI used the same metrics in evaluation that the National Taxpayers Union uses to grade Congress.
What is striking is the top four supporters of economic liberty in Nevada were all Republican women. In a session that was marked by more than the usual amount of backroom deals and good old boy log rolling, these women consistently worked to keep taxes low, cut regulations, and stand up for the working people of Nevada against arbitrary power.
Anyone who rates at 50 points or higher on this NPU evaluation is better than average on economic liberty issues. Rural doctor and Assemblywoman Robin Titus of Lyon County had the highest score, 93.17 percent. Her fight to pass AB 408, providing that federal agents in unincorporated Nevada had to report to the local sheriff before making an arrest, showed her courage. The Legislative Counsel Bureau issued a dubious analysis of the bill, featuring a shallow interpretation of the Supremacy Clause to warn that it was unconstitutional. Her male colleagues mostly put their tails between their legs and ran, but she fought for the bill until they rewrote it to give federal agents more power. At that point she mercy-killed it because the men in the Assembly had turned it into a zombie bill.
District 10 Las Vegas Assemblywoman Shelley Shelton scored second highest, at 92.86 percent. She supported school choice, gun rights and voted against taxes as well as vigorously supporting AB 408.
Clark County District Four was represented by Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, coming in third with a rating of 92.78 percent. She is no shrinking violet but is an outspoken woman with an activist website where she promotes her Second Amendment 2016 Calendar. She is determined to put Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1.3 billion tax hike to a vote of the people by a statewide referendum. She was attacked personally because her businesses had some IRS problems, but she mixed it up with her male detractors and got things done. Another public lands reform advocate, defender of gun rights, tax foe and education reformer from the more liberal south, Michelle is a vital force for liberty.
Coming in fourth as a defender of economic freedom with a 90.68 percent score was Sparks District 31 Assemblywoman Jill Dickman. Jill and her husband, Tom, have been very active in Northern Nevada Republican politics for some time. Jill, like Titus and Shelton, was a freshman legislator who made an immediate impact, serving as assistant majority whip in her first session.
The lowest Republican score was Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson at a miserable 38.72 percent. Now it is true that the highest scoring Democrat was Sen. Tick Sedgerblom at a measly 17.03 percent, so the argument can be made that the worst Republican was far better than the best Democrat.
However, when the worst Republican is in charge of the Senate, and 15 other Republican legislators had economic liberty scores under 50 percent, the reason the governor could get his massive tax bills enacted becomes apparent. Republicans controlled the entire state government in 2015, and while school choice was their crowning achievement, getting it passed at the cost of massive tax hikes was a mixed blessing.
There is no guarantee that the Republicans will have such an opportunity again. But if these four women are re-elected, the odds for Nevada taxpayers will improve. Who knows, a future Carly Fiorina or Barbara Vucanovich may arise from among them.