Study the record

In scrutinizing the actual records of the candidates for governor this year, we were surprised at what we found.

It is astonishing how little Nevadans have gotten from their investment in Jim Gibbons. After three terms in the Nevada Assembly and five in the U.S. House, he has not a single major piece of legislation to his credit—not one.

Poorly informed and unable to work well with his colleagues, he made almost no mark in his legislative career. He didn’t even bother to vote in June on one of the most important measures of this generation—net neutrality, the issue of whether conglomerates control the Internet.

Perhaps it is well that Gibbons has been so ineffective, given what he wanted to do. It often seems that Jim Gibbons gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and asks himself, “What can I do to Nevadans today?”

• In a state whose two big demographic groups are senior citizens and parents with small children, Gibbons supports higher prescription drug prices. He not only supported but cosponsored House Resolution 1598, a classic case of special-interest legislation. It was intended to extend the patent on Claritin and provide for a patent-extension review procedure for other drugs. It was heavily promoted by the drug lobby. Gibbons received $5,000 from Schering Plough, makers of Claritin.

• In a state where the rate of domestic violence is grotesquely high, Gibbons opposes state programs to assist and shelter battery victims, having attacked his opponent for voting to fund such programs. Gibbons also voted for the Real ID program that is bitterly opposed by domestic violence counselors. (It requires that state governments list home addresses instead of post office boxes on driver’s licenses.)

• In a state that was victimized by atomic scientists who cooked the books of scientific data in the 1950s and who have manipulated data on nuclear waste dumping at Yucca Mountain, Gibbons produced an article that cherry-picked and manipulated scientific data to downplay the dangers of toxic mercury at exactly the moment when the federal government was searching for a place to dump more than 4,000 tons of mercury. Guess what state got saddled with the mercury dump? Gibbons’ election would signal clearly to Washington that the door is open to toxic dumping in Nevada.

By contrast, Dina Titus has a record of accomplishment that seems unbounded. In one field after another—crime, health, education—Titus has protected Nevadans, improved the quality of life in the state, removed obstacles to better lives. Governors of both parties have signed dozens of major Titus measures and her colleagues in both parties have praised her accomplishments and leadership.

Titus has even mitigated some of the damage Gibbons has done to Nevada, as when she worked with state environmental officials to provide more rigorous oversight of the mercury dump he helped bring here.

Gibbons has accused Titus of belittling the state by talking about its poor ranking in national quality of life indicators, but in fact, she has also done something about those rankings. In 2001, for instance, she cosponsored a program to discourage early sexual activity, and Nevada’s long record of high teen pregnancy rate is now declining.

Yes, Titus early in her career attacked Washoe County. But over the course of her legislative career, she has also done more for the county than Gibbons ever did.

We have not always approved of Sen. Titus’ actions or words, as these pages over the years have shown, but like a needle that always returns to true, she has at all times been guided by the good of the state and the well-being of Nevadans. She should be governor.