65°F
weather icon Clear

Bill de Blasio meets with vets during Las Vegas campaign stops

Updated May 25, 2019 - 9:49 pm

New York City Mayor and presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio courted veterans to start a weekend campaign trip in Southern Nevada.

During a morning roundtable discussion at Veterans Village II, near downtown Las Vegas, de Blasio heard stories about the struggles some face when they return home, including the frustration of getting health care from Veterans Affairs.

He said he is puzzled by the lack of federal response to the needs of veterans not just now, but going back decades.

“If anything should have been bipartisan, it would have been that,” he said. “And I will tell you Democrats and Republicans alike have failed to fix the VA.”

He told reporters that if he is elected, he wants to strengthen the department. De Blasio pointed to success in turning around public health care in New York City and said that same focus should be applied to the VA.

During the discussion, he highlighted New York City’s success with its Department of Veterans Services, which addresses housing, health and employment needs. In the past seven years, New York City has reduced the number of homeless veterans by 90 percent, de Blasio said.

The money to improve the lives of veterans and everyday people exists, but it is in the wrong hands, he said.

First lady of New York City Chirlane McCray joined her husband on the campaign trip, telling crowds of the importance of providing mental health resources and reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

“I am appalled that this is not the number one priority for our nation because the most important part of our nation is its people,” she told the group of veterans.

De Blasio also took time to share a personal story of the struggles his father faced after being wounded in World War II.

After a brief tour of Veterans Village, de Blasio participated in a private meet-and-greet at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in the northeast valley.

He spent more than an hour Saturday afternoon with Clark County Democrats at La Cabana on Sahara Avenue, sharing his vision for supporting working people. He distanced himself from Washington, D.C., opting to tout his record as an executive in a diverse city.

De Blasio highlighted progressive policy pushes in New York, including guaranteed health care for residents.

“And I argue you need a president who knows how to get these things done,” he said. “(I’d be) the first to say the presidency is not the place for on-the-job training.”

He also told the group he supports a $15 an hour minimum wage and wants to create a platform to relieve student loan debt in the U.S.

“If we can bail out big banks, we can bail out everyday people,” he said.

Despite attacking President Donald Trump as a “con,” de Blasio said he does not disparage Trump voters, whom he claims the Democrats lost by becoming too elitist.

He also pushed back on concerns about division in the country, saying he believes there is more that unites people.

De Blasio told reporters after the event that he does not support the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository without local consent. The waste, he said, should stay in the sites where it was generated until leaders can determine a long-term solution.

After de Blasio left the event with Clark County Democrats, a heckler shouted at him in the parking lot.

The mayor this month joined a field of more than 20 Democratic candidates vying to take on Trump next year.

He rounded out his first day of campaigning in Las Vegas this weekend by visiting immigrant families at Los Molcajetes on Eastern Avenue.

On Sunday, de Blasio is scheduled to talk to Nevada State Education Association members and attend the Puerto Rican Memorial Day Festival outside the Clark County Government Center.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
THE LATEST
Pence urges Congress to approve trade deal

Vice President Mike Pence used a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation on Tuesday to argue for Congress to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade.

UK Supreme Court hears Brexit challenge case arguments

Government lawyer Richard Keen said judges in a lower court had “nakedly entered the political arena” by ruling on the matter.