The new Congress convenes with three Nevada freshmen
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
A new era began today in Washington with a capitol firmly in GOP control. And when Donald Trump takes the oath on Jan.20, it will be the first time since 2006 that Republicans have controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
In Las Vegas, voter Magnolia Vazquez has a message.
“First of all, I want them to work on world peace,” Vazquez told News 3 as we chatted outside the Clark County Library on Flamingo.
Not a small task, exactly. And when they’re finished with that?
“We need jobs,” Vazquez said.
That’s her Congressional to-do list. Multiply it by millions … who look to the 115th for action.
Among the 535 lawmakers – 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate – Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democrat from Nevada.
She’s the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate … and our first woman senator.
“First of all, it’s just exciting,” Cortez Masto told News 3 from Capitol Hill. “I’ve always talked about the importance of bringing diversity to the United States Senate.”
She arrives in Washington as Republicans rule. Their first act, they say, will be to repeal Obamacare.
Not so fast, says Nevada’s junior senator.
“Repealing health care for millions of Americans across the country is not a starter for me,” said Cortez Masto. “If they want to focus on keeping what’s good and strong about the health care act and Affordable Care Act, and then fixing what’s weak and wasn’t working, that’s where we should be looking for.”
Cortez Masto says her record as Nevada’s Attorney General proves she can reach across the aisle, something she says she’ll do in Washington. However, bipartisanship has limits she says, especially with an incoming President that has talked tough on immigration, including walls with Mexico.
“That’s not where it starts to find common ground,” Cortez Masto said.
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A health care repeal is also a red flag for Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, one of Nevada’s two other Washington freshmen. She defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian to win the seat that had been held by Joe Heck, who lost his race for Senate.
“When we're going to talk about repeal, we have to talk about how they're going to replace it,” Rosen said.
The other freshman joining Rosen is Ruben Kihuen, the first Latino Nevada has sent to Congress.
“It’s my job to continue to fight to make life better for working families and people like my parents so that everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream,” Kihuen said today in a statement.
Half our delegation of six are now freshmen.
“If I’m a new member of Congress from Nevada, I'm worried about Yucca Mountain. Because after all, Harry Reid and 30 years of seniority have left the Senate,” said UNLV Associate Professor of History Michael Green.
That’s the stalled nuke waste dump north of us that some Republicans want to revive.
And there are other Nevada-centric issues … like gaming, mining, land, and water.
For Nevada, much to protect, and for its newest senator, much to do.
“I'm ready to get to work,” said Cortez Masto.