These days, there’s no question whom Rose McKinney-James supports for president. On a recent afternoon she stood flanked by "Obama ’08” signs and banners in the Democratic Party’s campaign office on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

McKinney-James, a member of Sen. Barack Obama’s Nevada steering committee, recalled how her support for the presumptive Democratic nominee began a year ago with a phone call.

"I got this call, and it was from somebody in Chicago. It was a woman on (Obama’s) communities team," said the managing principal of renewable resources firm Energy Works Consulting. McKinney-James, a former Democratic candidate for Nevada lieutenant governor, was recruited by the Obama campaign to be part of the Illinois senator’s efforts in the Silver State.

She had briefly met Obama’s wife, Michelle, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. But the Las Vegan was still not quite prepared for the next call from the Windy City.

"Then he called, which was really quite remarkable," she said of Obama. "He thought it would be helpful for me to get involved, so I agreed to do so."

McKinney-James became one of the first two members of Obama’s local steering committee. Other local elites are among them: political consultant Billy Vassiliadis; Elaine Wynn; state Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas; and Jenna Morton, co-owner of the N9ne steakhouse and Playboy Club at the Palms.

"I’ve been on the steering committee and been consulting for his national team," said Vassiliadis, who is providing his services as a volunteer.

Nevada is a battleground state, and business leaders are taking sides in what might become one of the most hotly contested presidential campaigns in generations. Groups are also coming together to back the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain. Among McCain’s all-star lineup are Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn, MGM Mirage CEO Terry Lanni, and Sig Rogich, a political and business consultant.

Agendas that help industries, cut or raise taxes, and spur the sagging economy seem to carry equal weight with plans to create a stronger foreign policy and the candidates’ credentials and charisma.

Energy Works Consulting, McKinney-James’ company, will benefit from Obama’s plan to increase the use of renewable resources, and from the investment and access-to-capital programs the presumptive nominee has proposed for women- and minority-owned businesses, she said.

The business owner has already "maxed out" on personal contributions to his campaign, helped with debates, appearances and fundraising, and tries to drum up support for Obama at every opportunity.

"The production tax credits are crucial for making the financing for major (renewable) projects feasible," she said.

Across the valley, at a Republican campaign office on Pecos Road in Henderson, Steve Commander expressed skepticism about Obama’s energy plans. The owner of the virtual mall company Quixtar said McCain is the only presidential candidate offering a timely answer to rising energy and gasoline prices.

"I think the American public is saying, ‘We have more gasoline in the United States than Saudi Arabia has. Let’s drill and drill now.’ That will bring down the price by increasing supply," he said.

Commander scoffed at Obama’s energy proposals, saying they are unrealistic and too far off.

"Mr. Obama is saying that it will take at least five years to do that, and it may be true, but wind power, solar power isn’t going to power my car in five years," he said.

More than Obama’s energy plan concerns Commander. He disagrees with what he considers a hard-line approach that President Obama would take with Canada and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement. The 64-year-old also worries about the Illinois senator’s proposal to increase the capital gains tax and how it would affect the economy and workers with 401(k) plans.

Obama has proposed increasing the capital gains tax above 15 percent for high-income investors. The candidate has said the increase would be more than 20 percent but less than 28 percent.

"When we get ready to retire, Senator Obama will say, ‘Here, give me 28 percent of that.’ That is not hurting the rich. That is hurting you and me, the lower class. They are the ones getting penalized," Commander said. "I don’t think he knows what he is doing, economically."

Commander sends out e-mails and spreads the word to associates about the differences in the candidates. He gathered at the office used by the McCain campaign and other Republicans, with a group of local small-business people who have thrown their support behind the Arizona senator’s "jobs for America economic plan."

Fely Quitevis, owner of Pahrump-based Precious Properties, is part of the local McCain business coalition. The Filipino immigrant thinks the economy could be strengthened by allowing skilled Filipino workers to come to the United States from the Middle East to take positions such as nurses and teachers. Quitevis, also 64, shares Commander’s concerns about Obama’s plan to raise the capital gains tax.

Not all businesspeople will say whom they’ll vote for in November. Attorney David LeGrand is keeping his vote confidential, but said candidly that the Nevada business community’s support for Obama’s capital gains tax increase — and the candidate himself — may be hard to come by.

"Most business leaders believe Barack Obama is going to raise taxes across the board," he said, "and most business leaders believe John McCain will keep taxes low, which resonates."

LeGrand said tax fears could scare off Obama support.

"I think most larger companies and small- to medium-sized businesses are very tax sensitive," he said.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of businesspeople throwing their support behind Obama. Morton is one of them. Like McKinney-James, she received a call from Obama a year ago, asking for her support. She said she doesn’t mind paying more taxes for education if it improves the community, and wishes more business leaders would look at it as an investment in the future.

"As a businessperson, I am educating future employees," she said. "I don’t want to look six months down the road, but 15 or 20 years. This is my employee and my future patron. Without them, I wouldn’t have a business to talk about."

Nancy Price, the manager of the Donald Pliner store, is backing Obama. Like Morton, she is a longtime Democrat. She has held fundraising events and mock caucuses at her home. She is in a lottery for the opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Price favors Obama’s plan to make health care affordable for Americans if he is elected president.

"The price of health care here is outrageous," she said. "I would like to see an end to the war in Iraq and universal health care."

David Stone is mum on whom he is backing, but the president of the Nevada Association Services said that getting the federal deficit under control is crucial. Nonbusiness causes also drive Stone: He often visits Washington, D.C., to lobby for more support for Israel and sanctions against Iran.

Who the best candidate is for small business triggers debate between Obama and McCain supporters. Re/Max real estate agent and nonprofit group president José "Angel" Ortiz said it is McCain who will do better by small-business owners. The naturalized U.S. citizen was born in Mexico, and said he is breaking with many of his fellow immigrants by supporting the Republican candidate.

"One of his plans is to offer tax cuts to small businesses," said Ortiz, who is a member of the McCain small-business coalition. McCain, Ortiz believes, will make the paperwork requirements easier for those starting a small business and will strengthen the economy by promoting free trade.

Ortiz, who is president of the Las Vegas branch of the charitable nonprofit Federación de Clubs Unidos Zacatecanos, said that after every meeting adjourns, he discusses his support for McCain. He sends e-mails to associates hoping they will join him in voting Republican in November.

The Illinois senator’s tax plans will help small businesses, countered McKinney-James. She said Obama will eliminate the "double taxation" faced by small-business owners who pay personal income tax and payroll tax.

McCain’s regional communications director, Rick Gorka, said the Republican candidate is the one companies need when facing tough times.

"It’s his pro-business stance," Gorka said. "(McCain) understands in tough economic time you don’t tax small businesses."

McKinney-James, who was an Obama delegate for the state and county conventions, sees Obama as a friend to small firms.

"Big business gets all the attention, which I can appreciate because it drives the economy, but especially here, small business drives the economy, too," she said.

Contact reporter Valerie Miller at vmiller or 702-387-5286.

Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design Get your thinking caps on because the company is looking for a new cup that's easier to recycle. The $10 million grant challenge sees Starbucks partnering with investor group Closed Loop Partners for the project. According to CNN Money, Aside from the new cup design challenge, Starbucks stated it will test a cup with an inner lining made from plant fibers to prevent hot liquid from leaking. Will you join the challenge for #Bettercups?
Las Vegas bartenders who worked the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival question what they were paid
Reneé Black, left, and her husband Griffin Black talk to the Review-Journal at their home in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Reneé was a bartender at Route 91, and Griffin was a bar back. They were hired as independent contractors, but received forms months later indicating they were employees. They also were never paid their last day of tips. Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bad-beat jackpot money will finally be awarded
People who thought they had won in Station Casinos’ “bad beat jackpot” poker promotion were unhappy. They waited months to get paid. And now the bad-beat jackpot is gone.
New developments coming to Las Vegas' Craig Road
Gina Gavan, economic and business development director for North Las Vegas, discusses new development projects on Craig Road in North Las Vegas. Art Marroquin/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Dallisa Hocking And A Grandmothers Psychic Gift
Dallisa Hocking’s new “boutique soul center” pays tribute to her late Grandma Ellie. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Can't pay the IRS? You do have options
There's a little more than five weeks until this year’s tax filing deadline of April 17. But many small business owners are wondering, “How am I going to pay my taxes?” When owners haven’t set aside enough money to cover what they owe the government, they have options. — The easiest and cheapest alternative may be to dip into personal savings. — If you have available credit, you may want to borrow from a lender or credit card. — Also, the IRS can work out an installment payment plan.
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients Individuals with a valid Medicaid or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year for up to four years. The reduced Prime membership comes with the same benefits of a standard one, including free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Now. Last year, Amazon also joined a USDA pilot program that allows those receiving government assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy groceries through online markets like Amazon's FreshDirect or Walmart.
Jeff Bezos New Net Worth Revealed, Still Richest Man Alive
At the end of 2017, Bezos was estimated to be worth $112 billion, earning the top spot on Forbes' world's billionaires list. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon founder's net worth is now $127 billion, which the report states is the combined wealth of 2.3 million Americans.
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting The retailer announced the move in an open letter and an appearance by CEO Ed Stack on 'Good Morning America.' Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Dick's is also ending the sale of high-capacity magazines and sales of guns to people under 21 years old. The company ended the sale of assault weapons at Dick's-branded stores after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting in 2012. However, they were still selling them at its 35 Field & Stream locations. Nikolas Cruz, 17, shot and killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14.
Black History Month panel gives Las Vegas entrepreneurs advice
Five people with experience in business and government spoke Friday to the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas Among their advice: line up potential clients before starting a business, attend networking events and seek advice from experts in the industry The chamber, founded in 1980, has hundreds of members and focuses on the welfare of black-owned businesses in Las Vegas
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like