Republican congressional candidate Annette Teijeiro on Thursday made the case for electing her Nov. 4 to an urban Las Vegas district where she grew up the bilingual daughter of immigrant parents. She argued she would bring diversity to Nevada’s delegation in Congress, where she would be the state’s first Hispanic representative.
“I have much more diversity and broader experience (in the community) than the current holder of that seat,” Teijeiro said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board. “Personal experiences mean something.”
Teijeiro faces an uphill battle in her bid to unseat Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who is running for re-election to the 1st Congressional District, where the congresswoman has lived for decades. Democratic voter registration outnumbers GOP registration by a 2-to-1 margin, making it difficult for Republican challengers to overcome the odds.
Teijeiro, however, said she’s not intimidated because she has deep ties to Hispanics, who account for about 44 percent of the district population. A doctor, she has practiced medicine there for two decades, too.
“People understand that I’m committed to this community,” she said.
Last month, Teijeiro won the endorsement of Hispanics in Politics, an influential group in the community, surprising Titus, who has formed strong relationships over the years with Latinos. Titus previously represented another Southern Nevada congressional district, but lost that seat in 2010 to Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev. Titus also served as the Democratic minority leader in the Nevada Senate for 15 years before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2006.
On the issues, Teijeiro and Titus are at near opposite poles except for comprehensive immigration reform, which the Republican supports. Now, she said, the system isn’t equitable nor is it designed for today’s U.S. economic needs.
Teijeiro said she’s alive only because her Cuba father escaped the communist island in 1965, fleeing to Spain, where he met his wife, a Puerto Rican. Teijeiro was born in California and moved to Nevada as a teenager in the mid-1970s.
Teijeiro accused Titus of lying about supporting immigration reform when Democrats controlled both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives from 2008 until 2010. She said Titus and other Democrats put a priority on passing President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, instead of following up on promises to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Asked whether she really thinks Titus, a strong supporter of immigration reform, lied, Teijeiro said, “She wasn’t sincere.”
As a doctor, Teijeiro said the Affordable Care Act has failed patients by mandating certain coverage and by offering them an insurance card without enough access to doctors. She said the law is likely here to stay, but she would like to amend it to cut down on the bureaucracy and put any savings toward patient care and education.
“There’s a 61-year-old woman who died because of them, and there will be more because handing people an insurance card doesn’t guarantee access,” she said, citing a case with which she’s familiar.
She said the numbers of health care workers would need to be increased by 30 percent, including physicians assistants, nurses and doctors, to meet the promise of providing health care under the Affordable Care Act.
“We need to empower our patients, not treat them as children,” she said.
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.