Political Eye: Rubio recalls time in Las Vegas

When he was growing up in Las Vegas, few people thought Marco Rubio would become a big-time politician and prospective vice presidential candidate. More likely they saw a gridiron future for the enthusiasm he showed Pop Warner football.

Rubio, a Republican U.S. senator from Florida who is being mentioned as a possible Mitt Romney running mate, lived with his family in Las Vegas from 1979 to 1985. They moved from Miami when he was 8, as his parents sought a new life in the desert boomtown where his mother’s sisters already had settled.

"Las Vegas is not often the first place that comes to mind for people looking to raise their children in a wholesome environment. Yet in many respects it would prove to be the family-friendly community my family hoped it would be," Rubio writes in "An American Son," a memoir published last week.

Rubio’s father, Mario, struck out for Las Vegas after losing his job as an apartment manager in Hialeah and as a Miami tourist industry in decline offered few opportunities for someone with his bartending skills.

Yet it was hard for Mario to break in. "Unlike in Miami, hotels were flourishing in Vegas and jobs were abundant," Rubio writes. "But it was a heavily unionized industry that didn’t welcome outsiders for work in anything but entry-level positions."

Mario Rubio, 52, finally caught on as a bar back at the newly opened Sam’s Town. After a few months he was made a room service bartender. When Marco and younger sister Veronica were big enough to be home alone after school, his mother, Oria, worked as a maid at the Imperial Palace.

The Rubios lived at 3104 E. Lava Ave. in North Las Vegas, on a cul de sac in a working-class neighborhood, and Marco began third grade at Ronnow Elementary School.

That fall Rubio played quarterback for the Caesars Palace Gladiators in Pop Warner football; the next year he played on the defensive line for the Sooners, sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He shared quarterback duties his third year on the Young Electric Sign Company Cavaliers. While he enjoyed Sunday services, "I would complain about having to spend the entire morning in church because televised East Coast NFL games would have already started before we got home."

It was on the cul de sac where Marco became friends with the five boys of the Thiriot family who lived across the street. The Thiriots were a close-knit Mormon family whose "safe respectable family life my parents wanted for us."

Rubio, his sister and mother were baptized into the Mormon Church, but left the faith a few years later to return to the Catholic Church.

In sixth grade, Rubio attended McCall Elementary School. He began his junior high year at St. Christopher Catholic School but rebelled at the uniforms and demanding schoolwork and persuaded his parents to pull him out and enroll him at J.D. Smith, the public school across the street.

The beginning of the end for the Rubios in Las Vegas came in April 1984, when the Culinary union went on strike. Sam’s Town, unlike many of the other hotels, refused to settle and remains nonunion to this day.

"Eventually our small savings were gone and the union checks stopped coming," Rubio writes. His father returned to work for a smaller salary and fewer benefits. "He had no choice."

After his grandfather died that August, Rubio took it hard.

"I was miserably unhappy and stopped caring about things that had been important to me," he writes. "I quit Pop Warner. What little interest I had shown in schoolwork disappeared. I failed my exams and I didn’t care."

His parents grew weary of Las Vegas for that and other reasons.

"They wanted us to go to college, but most of my cousins had gone to work at the hotels right out of high school. It was hard to convince them that college was necessary when they could make $40,000 in their first year of employment."

The next summer, "almost six years to the day since we arrived in Vegas, my mother, Veronica and I boarded a flight to Miami while my father and Uncle Manolito drove a U-Haul truck across the country with all our belongings and our two dogs…. towing our ’73 Chevy Impala behind them."

-Steve Tetreault

CANCEL MY MEETING, PLEASE

You could tell a lot of legislators had caught summer fever by the makeup of the Interim Finance Committee on Thursday.

Ten of the 21 legislators were replacements. The legislators assigned to the committee, which holds horrendously long meetings every two months, were absent. All had found other legislators to substitute. Most of the substitutes, with the exception of Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno, said little or nothing.

Still the meeting dragged on for eight hours, and many members left before the end. The committee chairwoman, Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, was having trouble keeping the quorum needed to conduct votes.

Clearly frustrated, Smith said committee members need to commit to attend the meetings, no matter how long they last. She then chuckled in telling members that the August meeting will be held in Las Vegas. That drew moans from Northern Nevada legislators, who clearly didn’t relish the thought of 110-degree temperatures.

– Ed Vogel

LET’S START THIS, WHATEVER THIS IS

Sometimes you cannot fault a legislator for not remembering what committee she chairs. Last week Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, called to order a meeting by saying, "I don’t remember the name of this committee."

For the record, her committee is formally titled the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Study the Allocation of Money Distributed From the Local Governments Tax Distribution Account (Assembly Bill 71, 2011 Legislature). No joke. One gets tired just trying to type it out.

Legislators obviously spend little time thinking up catchy names for the interim committees they create to study issues between legislative sessions.

Media members generally make up shorter names. This one becomes the Local Government Tax Distribution Committee.

But, gee, Nevada legislators, get with it, or you might find yourself, like Kirkpatrick, searching futilely for the name of your committee.

– Ed Vogel

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

ad-high_impact_4
News
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Bicyclist suffers major head trauma in hit-and-run
A bicyclist was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Thursday morning hit-and-run crash near the school formerly known as Agassi Prep. Police said the bicyclist was hit by a white SUV, which fled the scene. The injured man suffered multiple injuries including major head trauma. As of 9 a.m., Lake Mead remained closed between Martin Luther King and Revere Street while police investigate.
Las Vegas artist Dave Dave dies at 42
Dave Dave talks about his art and his life in 2016. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dave Dave, whose dad set him on fire in 1983, dies
Dave Dave, a respected Las Vegas artist who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death in Southern California, died at Sunrise Hospital on July 15. He was 42. When he was 6, Dave's father tried to kill him by setting him on fire. He was given a sleeping pill and his bed at a Buena Park, California, motel was doused with kerosene. “I remembered being in a lot of pain,” Dave told the Review-Journal in 2016. “When stuff happens to you at that young of an age, you tend to block it out, but I remember the pain was excruciating.” Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, became close friends with Michael Jackson, who met him after the attack, which burned more than 90 percent of his body. “I wanted to meet him, and he wanted to meet me, and that just turned into a lifelong relationship that never ended,” Dave said. “It was amazing being friends with Michael Jackson. He was an amazing person.” Dave attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and collaborated with various artists around Las Vegas, eventually selling his art to private collectors. Despite his challenges, he continued to live, thrive and create. Dave Dave
Homicide detectives investigate woman's death
Las Vegas police were called to Tahiti Village Resort early Wednesday after calls that someone had been shot. Police found a woman’s body between a parking garage and boiler room on the resort's property. A guest first reported hearing gunfire. There are no witnesses, but police will examine surveillance videos and look for clues. The woman was not identified, but a purse was found near the body. She did not appear to be a guest at the resort.
LVMPD Discusses Ross Dress for Less Shooting
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank discussed the 15th officer-involved shooting of the year at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The active-shooter incident took place at the Ross Dress for Less store at the 4000 block Blue Diamond Road in the south Las Vegas Valley. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
Cybersecurity Professionals Flock to Las Vegas for Black Hat
Black Hat USA, the largest annual cybersecurity conference, is expecting a record 17,000 attendees during its six-day run at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week. One thing attendees have in mind is making sure they don't get hacked while they're there. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police chase ends with suspects captured in east Las Vegas
An early Tuesday morning chase ended with a car crash in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. Police were pursuing the vehicle, which they say was involved in robberies in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, when the driver crashed at Owens and Statz Street. A man was taken into custody. A woman was ejected from a vehicle and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The intersection at Mojave Road and Owens Avenue was shut down while police officers searched for the suspect and investigated. The intersection will remain closed for most of the morning.
Record number participate in Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony
Three hundred sixty-five medical students received their white coats during the Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony at the M Resort in Henderson Monday. The ceremony was developed to honor students in osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy as they accept the professional responsibilities inherent in their relationship with patients. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stop for school buses, urges CCSD
Clark County School District Police Department hold a mock traffic stop at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Work Begins at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden
Crews moved the wooden Remembrance Wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden on South Casino Center Boulevard Monday. Construction on a permanent wall is set to begin within the week. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Man wounded outside Cottages apartment
Las Vegas police don't have a motive after a man was shot early Monday morning outside a northwest valley apartment. The man's mother called police to say her son had been shot. She called police around 1:15 a.m. Other people were inside the apartment but no one else was injured. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Ride new Interstate 11 segment in one minute
Interstate 11 opens to the public Thursday, providing sweeping views of Lake Mead, art deco-style bridges and a mural illustrating the construction of Hoover Dam. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Miss El Tiempo 2019
Miss Teen El Tiempo and Miss El Tiempo 2019 were crowned at Sam's Town Saturday, August 4, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Woman Raises Awareness for Anxiety and Depression
Cassi Davis was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after the birth of her second child. After seeking help and support, she felt that there wasn't enough for support for those living day in and day out for those with mood disorders. She created the Crush Run, set for Sept. 22, to raise money for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and bring together a community of people who live with the same conditions she does. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas marks the opening of Tropical Parkway connector
The City of North Las Vegas, Nevada Department of Transportation and other partners celebrated the opening of the Tropical Parkway connector to Interstate 15 and the Las Vegas Beltway. The stretch of road will make access easier for distribution centers for Amazon, Sephora and other companies moving into an 1,100-acre industrial area rising near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bighorn sheep with West Temple in background at Zion National Park
A bighorn sheep walks through Zion National Park (National Park Service)
Adult Superstore location closes after 45 years
The Adult Superstore on Main Street has closed its doors for good after 45 years. The shop, which offered a multitude of adult toys, novelty items and movies, opened in 1973. Four other locations remain open. A note on the front door tells customers, “We can’t fully express our sorrow.” Adult Superstore was awarded Best of Las Vegas adult store by the Review-Journal in 2016 and 2017 .
Funeral held for Las Vegas corrections officer
Department of Public Safety Correctional Officer Kyle Eng died July 19 after a fight with an inmate at the Las Vegas Jail. A funeral was held for Eng at Canyon Ridge Christian Church Monday, July 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What Back-To-School Shopping Is Like For a CCSD Parent and Teacher
Laura LeBowsky, a CCSD special education teacher and mother of two, set out to shop for her children's supply lists at her local Walmart and Target. She was looking for deals to try to keep the total under $150, while also allowing Chloe, 8, and Brady, 6, some choice in what they wanted. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Businesses struggle to fill food manufacturing jobs
Chelten House is a family-owned food manufacturing company from New Jersey. They created a facility in Vegas five years ago and have struggled to find experienced workers in the area. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LeBron heckler crosses line, altercation erupts
NBA superstar LeBron James, his wife, Savannah, and daughter Zhuri were at Liberty High School to watch Bronny James in action Wednesday night. But an unruly fan wearing a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey heckled the newest Los Angeles Laker. The man screamed at event security with LeBron and his family about 150 feet away. The man had to be restrained, triggering a brief altercation with security. James and his family were escorted out a side door along with Bronny's team, the North Coast Blue Chips. Event officials canceled the game between the Blue Chips and Nike Meanstreets.
Las Vegas Oddities Shop in Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas Oddities shop owner Vanessa VanAlstyne describes what's for sale in one of the weirder and wackier stores in Downtown Las Vegas. The store opened less than a year ago and carries everything from human bones to "rogue" taxidermy to Victorian death photography. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like