Stop the presses! State Senator Bill Raggio and his era are dead!


RENO, Nev. – Senator Bill Raggio has been an influential Republican for the last four decades and he’s endorsing a Democrat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid for reelection to the US Senate.

A noted politician died this week in Nevada, former state senator, Bill Raggio.  When he resigned his senate seat in 2011 he was the longest serving legislator in the state’s history.  Raggio resigned because of his health, saying he was no longer capable of giving the amount of time and effort to the process of making laws that his constituents expected and deserved from him.  However, it is said that he resigned because his party chose not to reelect him as the majority leader in the senate.  Raggio and the party had fought over the 2010 congressional election; a Republican,  Raggio broke ranks with his party to publicly support the Democrat Harry Reid – majority leader in the United States Senate. Raggio said at the time he was making a choice for the state’s best interest, one he felt was best served by reelecting a man who was the majority leader.  Reid’s opponent was Sharon Engle, a tea party candidate; Raggio thought she was too right-winged and would be very infective in congress in stark contrast to Reid’s power and influence.  Raggio said at that time the Republican party, to which he had belonged his entire adult life, was drifting too far to the right and that was endangering the party’s future. Regardless of his squabbles with the Republican party or his health, Raggio would have left office this year because of term limits.

In death, Raggio is being universally celebrated as a great statesman.  He is being characterized as a man capable of compromising and of helping others reach an agreement; although I am sure that Joe Confrote, a former Nevada brothel owner against whom Raggio campaigned tirelessly, would probably call Raggio a bulldog would that never gives up or wears out.  Raggio is being praised for his long service to the state of Nevada, for his integrity, for the depth of his understanding of the state, its issues and the process of government.  A man above party politics when the fate of the state was at stake, a characteristic he demonstrated over and over again in the acrimonious budget debates in the state senate. Raggio was a statesman and a politician, the likes of which will never again be seen in this state or any other state with term limits.

Raggio represents the exact opposite of the citizen legislator who puts down his tools for a season or two and goes to the state capital to transact the business of government – the kind of lawmaking the founders of the country imaged.  His life-long employment in government and therefore on the public payroll – you know, you and have to work until April just to pay our taxes that then go to pay salaries of politicians and bureaucrats – is not what the citizens who wrote the constitution envisioned.  That is the position taken by the people who favor term limits; limit the time a person can serve and you limit the amount they can take from the public coffers and you limit the amount of corruption that is sure to accrue to a long-term office older.

I am not making an argument for either side, just pointing out Bill Raggio represents both sides of the issue, everything he accomplished after about 1980 would not have happened because he would not have been in office.  All of the wisdom and experience he brought to lawmaking in Nevada over the last thirty years is a thing of the past.  Now our laws will be made by temporary politicians, who unless they simply keep running for different offices, will not stay around long enough to be corrupt, to have that kind of dangerous political power we all fear and not long enough to become rich on our dime.  We will never know which is best, there will be no way to compare, so as it always has been, the quality of our laws and lawmakers will be just a matter of personal opinion.  But I am offering my thanks to Bill for taking time to help protect my rights and lifestyle.  That is what we elected them to do, isn’t it?


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February 2012
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