Sadly for Nevada, Harry Reid is Leaving Washington

On March 27th, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced his retirement. Reid has been a lightning rod for the Republican Party for most of his tenure in congress. His critics have demonized him and expressed the opinion that the senior senator from Nevada should have been ridden out of town on a rail years ago. Lead by Rush Limbaugh, the nation’s conservative talk show hosts love to hate him. Even in Nevada he is a frequent media target. Harry Reid has been an easy man to hate and a hard one to like. I have acquaintances that question the sanity of Nevada voters and by inference, mine. “How,” they ask, “could anyone ever vote for Harry Reid? He is a clown and probably a crook!” Indeed, that is a good question. How could anyone vote for a crooked politician, one that Hollywood has characterized as a bad guy in the movie Casino? In his book and later the movie, Nicholas Pileggi hinted that Harry was “Clean face” – the corrupt head of Nevada’s gaming regulation who took the mob’s money to do its bidding. Harry was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Commission and a state senator and lieutenant governor before he moved to Washington, D. C. He has been in Washington a long time. In fact, public office is the only career he has ever had; he is a professional politician.

Again, you might ask, why did Nevadans vote for him over and over again? The answer is really simple. Harry Reid gets things done for Nevadans. Nevada is a small state and we always find it difficult to persuade the federal government to listen to our point of view. So, anytime a Nevadan achieves a position of power in Congress, we are pleased and we take advantage of the opportunity. For example, in the 1990’s, Reno was fighting the railroads, trying to get the tracks moved out of its downtown. The trains ran through the middle of the downtown business district and stopped traffic frequently. Because of some changes in the Port of Oakland, train traffic in Reno was predicted to triple or quadruple. The trains already disrupted and endangered our lives; we could not afford to have the situation get worse. We put together a committee that met and met and met and nothing happened. Nobody in the railroad hierarchy in the nation’s capital cared about Reno. The railroad lobby was much, much stronger and Congress could not hear our voice – or feel the impact of our money. Then someone had an idea – call Harry.

As I said, Nevada is a small state, so when a local committee, city mayor or even an individual citizen has an issue we naively think our representatives should take our call. Harry did take our call. Senator Reid helped us with the railroads, Tesla, university and highway funds and many other things. Sometimes, outsiders see Harry Reid’s help differently than Nevadans do. Recently, the Homeland Security Department discovered that Senator Reid had helped SLS casino in Las Vegas by fast-tracking visas for investors. They were shocked – clearly it was an act of corruption by a sneaky senator who was probably just feathering his own nest.

A top Department of Homeland Security official improperly intervened to fast-track visas for foreign investors in the $415 million SLS Las Vegas renovation after being pressured by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, according to an inspector general’s report released Tuesday…Reid, D-Nev., made no apologies …“This is just one in many examples of Senator Reid’s commitment to ensuring Nevada’s tourism industry continues to thrive,” Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said in a statement. “In short, Senator Reid will always put Nevada first and fight for Nevada jobs.” Laura Myers, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3-25-15

Senator Reid’s office was nonplussed – yep, Harry did it. And according to Harry he would do it again. Senator Reid thinks helping Nevadans is his job. Well, for my part I can tell you I don’t think much of Harry Reid’s congressional leadership most of the time. But I voted for him and might have voted for him again, if he had not decided to retire. I voted for him because he gives me a vote in Washington that I would not otherwise have and he takes my call when I have a problem regardless of my party affiliation or the size of my political donations.


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