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Political newcomer’s plan: Evict fellow Democrat Horsford from House

Updated February 28, 2024 - 1:23 pm

A political newcomer hopes to tackle Nevada’s housing crisis and rid Washington of what he calls corrupt campaign finance practices. But first he must overcome the odds and defeat Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in the June primary.

Deshan Levy Shultz, a 32-year old Las Vegas resident, said he pays $1,555 a month for his studio apartment in the Arts District. And after years of watching his mother struggle with affordable housing in Vegas, Shultz decided to enter politics.

“The American people should not have to rent the American dream. We should be able to buy it,” said Shultz, who goes by Levy Shultz.

Originally from California, Shultz said he grew up near Nellis Air Force Base living in weekly budget suites with his mom. They dealt with domestic violence, evictions and workers compensation issues. At certain points, they were almost homeless, Shultz said.

Shultz later served for eight years in the Navy, doing three tours in the Persian Gulf, before working in aviation for Blue Air Training Corp., which provides close air support training for the military, he said.

He said he decided to run for Congress after noticing the disparities in housing and seeing his mother struggle to get her landlord to fix her air conditioning in the summer.

“I kind of felt powerless in that situation,” he said. “And I’ve watched my mom struggle with these same issues over and over again.”

Shultz said he is particularly interested in the housing crisis and was struck to see how many politicians accept donations from corporate landlords and large housing corporations.

He did research into his mother’s landlord, Invitation Homes, and saw the company had once been owned in part by Blackstone Group. He saw Horsford received $33,000 in campaign contributions from Blackstone Group this year, according to OpenSecrets.

“How is he invested in fixing this housing crisis?” Shultz said.

Blackstone, a New York real estate and financial management company, had launched Invitation in 2012 and owned nearly 3,000 homes in the Las Vegas Valley. Blackstone sold its stake in Invitation in 2019 and later invested in Tricon Residential, which owns more than 30,000 single-family rental homes in the U.S. and Canada, according to HousingWire. It has a diverse ownership portfolio, including previous ownership of multiple Las Vegas casinos.

Miguel Ayala, a spokesman for Horsford’s campaign, said in a statement that Horsford is focused on lowering costs for all Nevadans by taking on corporate speculators, big pharma and other corporate interests.

“From housing to health care, he is working for his constituents and delivering results, and that is something he will continue to do,” Ayala said in the statement.

Horsford recently reintroduced the Housing Oversight and Mitigating Exploitation Act of 2023 to create oversight and investigate large corporations that buy homes.

If elected, Shultz wants to work with other representatives in the Sun Belt to pass legislation that will stop hedge funds from purchasing homes. He wants to provide more federal resources for housing assistance grants or homelessness assistance grants, and to eliminate the corporate landlord from the housing market.

Shultz is also passionate about ending corporate donations to political campaigns, and he pledged not to accept corporate donations.

“I truly believe it’s a corrupt system that allows corporations to essentially buy politicians,” he said.

It is difficult not accepting corporate donations, Shultz said, but some politicians have been successful, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who also caused an upset when she defeated a longtime Democratic incumbent in a 2018 primary.

Shultz also wants to see streamlined pathways for citizenship. His husband is from Mexico and has a master’s degree, yet it has been difficult for him to obtain citizenship, Shultz said. He can only imagine what the process is like for someone working below minimum wage, he said.

And as a veteran, he wants to see veteran homelessness be appropriately combatted. Money allocated to the country’s defense budget does not sufficiently take care of veterans who struggle to make ends meet, he said.

“When I talk to people in my generation, my contemporaries, they have no hope,” Shultz said. “They have no hope for a better future, and they’re tired of incremental half steps to get to change. They want sweeping measures that will help them now.”

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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