Ensign, Heller urged to support stimulus

Three local Democrats lent their voices Friday to a campaign promoting the massive stimulus bill being prepared in advance of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, and they urged two Nevada Republicans in Congress to get on board.

State Senate Majority Leaders Steven Horsford, Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins and North Las Vegas Councilwoman Stephanie Smith spoke at an event organized by Americans United for Change, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group, and pegged their pitch to new unemployment data.

“It is a very sobering day,” said Smith. “These are affecting individual families, individual lives. We’re not just talking about workers. We’re talking about children.”

The campaign hopes to pressure Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to support the legislation. Both have said they’re wary of a large spending bill and additional deficit spending.

Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said that all of Nevada’s congressional representatives should support the plan when it emerges.

Transportation, infrastructure and energy projects are expected to be part of the bill, along with tax cuts. Horsford said the state will also seek money for Medicaid and early childhood education programs hurt by the decline in state revenues.

Collins mentioned programs hurt by cuts at the state level and said stimulus money could be used to restore those services.

“Congress can send some of those monies out here to fund those programs, including special education,” he said.

Smith mentioned a planned light rail line on North Fifth Street in her city that would be part of a proposed system stretching south, eventually, to Henderson.

“If we’re looking at things down the road, not just for today … that would be something we could take a look at,” she said.

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

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