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POLITICAL EYE: Aide says Sandoval courts businesses

Shortly after he was elected governor last November, Gov. Brian Sandoval pledged that he personally would call businesses throughout the country to induce them to move to Nevada and cut the state’s unemployment rate.

According to Dale Erquiaga, his policy adviser, he has kept that promise.

“He does continue to call,” Erquiaga said last week. “I cannot say he calls every day.”

Sandoval receives call lists from his economic advisers, and he attends information meetings when prospective companies visit the state.

The governor has met with officials from Amonix, Linq360, NOW Foods, Rice Lake, Switch Communications, Toys R Us and Urban Outfitters.

During a recent speech, he said 34 businesses have relocated or expanded in Southern Nevada during the past year.

Erquiaga said there generally is a long lead time between when a company makes an inquiry and when it decides whether to locate in Nevada.

He said about 400 companies have requested information about the state in 2011, double the number of 2010.

These companies do not necessarily all locate in Nevada, he added, but are seeking business information about the state.

Nevada’s October unemployment rate still led the nation at 13.4 percent, but it is down from a 14.2 percent rate when Sandoval took office in January.

— Ed Vogel

MUSEUM MAY RECOGNIZE LATINOS

A federal commission that included a number of prominent Hispanics issued recommendations in May for a Smithsonian museum focused on Latino Americans. Bills introduced in Congress this month aim to carry out the plan.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Shelley Berkley, both Democrats, are co-sponsoring creation of a Smithsonian American Latino Museum.

“The story of Latino Americans in the U.S. is the story of our nation and a rich part of the heritage of Nevada and the West,” Berkley said.

The bills would locate the 283,590-square-foot museum on the National Mall in the Arts and Industries Building, which opened in 1881 as the first national museum. An underground annex would be added to provide modern climate controls for collections.

A preliminary budget of $402 million would be reached through a combination of private donations and federal dollars, according to a 23-member commission that included Las Vegas community volunteer Sandy Colon-Peltyn and Carlos J. Ezeta, a counselor and professor at the College of Southern Nevada.

Other members included Texas entrepreneur Henry Munoz, actress Eva Longoria and musician/producer Emelio Estefan Jr., who may be better known as Gloria Estefan’s husband.

Apart from the challenge of obtaining federal funds in a down economy, new museums trigger close scrutiny, particularly ones sited on the Mall. Coming seven years after the National Museum of the American Indian was opened, and as a museum to African-American history is being built, some lawmakers are troubled by the trend of creating museums dedicated to individual ethnic groups.

“I don’t want a situation where whites go to the original museum, African Americans go to the African-American museum, Indians go to the Indian museum, Hispanics go to the Latino American museum. That’s not America,” Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., told The New York Times earlier this year.

But boosters say Latinos don’t see their contributions reflected in the nation’s great museums.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., chief House sponsor, said a museum would “ensure that the contributions of Americans of Latino descent receive respect and recognition earned by a patriotic community of Americans who have served this nation since its inception and now number over 50 million.”

— Steve Tetreault

‘SUPERCOMMITTEE’ WINNERS AND LOSERS

The collapse of the debt reduction “supercommittee” in Congress last week led Washington pundits to speculate who were the winners and losers from the stalemate.

But the political trade press was a bit conflicted over what to call Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader.

On one hand, Politico called him a loser, along with House Speaker John Boehner and all incumbents up for re-election next year.

Despite efforts dating back a year to strike deals to get deficits and government borrowing under control, “the leaders in Congress could never prod the process to fruition,” reporter Jonathan Allen wrote.

As a result, voters now will question whether to keep the same people in charge.

“All incumbents can expect that Washington ‘outsider’ candidates across the country will be ready to hammer them for the failure of the supercommittee to solve the nation’s budgetary problems,” Allen wrote.

On the other hand, The Hill called Reid a winner.

Reid made liberals happy by mocking the Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes and by not agreeing to anything that would water down Medicare or Medicaid, wrote Bob Cusack.

Many Democrats were willing to accept deep automatic budget cuts rather than cave in to GOP demands on entitlements.

“It’s unclear how the supercommittee failure will affect Reid’s chances of remaining majority leader in 2013, but the liberal base is pleased,” Cusack wrote.

— Steve Tetreault

SMALL TOWNS MAKE CAPITAL CITIES

Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a man that reporters can depend on to give a pithy quote about Nevada’s political landscape.

But who would have known that Herzik also is an expert in identifying the most obscure capital cities in the United States. Without hesitation last week Herzik identified Montpelier as the capital of Vermont. He even said he has visited the pretty little capital city of 7,855 people.

Until a growth spurt that started in the 1950s, Carson City had been the smallest capital in the United States. Its population still was only of 5,163 in 1960, but the latest census put it at 55,274 residents.

Herzik said it is common for states to have capitals in smaller towns that aren’t as well known as their state’s bigger cities.

— Ed Vogel

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

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