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Women, minorities to shape new Congress and Nevada delegation

Updated November 7, 2018 - 11:21 pm

Nevada’s new congressional delegation mirrors the new face of Congress following the election of an historic number of women and minorities in the House and Senate.

Just two years ago, Nevada elected the first Latina to serve in the Senate.

This week, the state doubled down and voted to promote Jacky Rosen of Las Vegas from the House to join Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., to represent Nevada in the august chamber.

“We will now have not one, but two women representing Nevada in the United States Senate,” Rosen told her supporters following a hard-fought win over Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller of Smith Valley.

“And for the first time in Nevada history, we will now have a majority female congressional delegation,” Rosen said.

Nevada elected Susie Lee, a Democrat, to replace Rosen in the House.

And Las Vegas Democrat Rep. Dina Titus, the dean of the state’s congressional delegation, was re-elected.

Titus moves up the Democratic leadership ladder by about 50 spots, and will likely chair the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on economic development.

Titus said the full committee is important for her Las Vegas district, with authorization over funding for airport expansion and efforts to build Interstate 11 connecting the city to Phoenix and the southern border.

As a member of the Democratic House Steering and Policy Committee, Titus will advise party leaders on legislative and policy positions and tactics.

In addition to the delegation’s four women members, Rep. Mark Amodei, the Carson City Republican, was easily re-elected and will remain on the House Appropriations Committee, which controls all federal spending.

Nevada voters also elected former Rep. Steven Horsford, a Las Vegas Democrat, to an open congressional seat he first was was elected to in 2012. The district represents North Las Vegas, Pahrump and Mesquite.

Horsford will give the delegation a voice in the Congressional Black Caucus.

The diverse Nevada delegation mirrors the national results that saw historic firsts of women and minorities elected to Congress.

More than 100 women, overwhelmingly Democrat, were elected, including two Muslim-American women and the first openly transgender and Native American woman to serve in the House.

“Women led the way to victory,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told a Capitol Hill news conference.

She said the record number of women serving in the House would lead a bipartisan charge to address issues important to America’s working class families and seniors, like lower prescription drug prices and health care protections that Republicans have sought to repeal.

Those issues prompted the record number of women to run for office and to vote for Democrats to take control of the House and serve as a check and balance on the Trump administration.

“Health care was on the ballot yesterday, and health care won,” Pelosi said.

Lee, the new congressional freshman from Henderson, said her election was a clear message from Southern Nevada voters.

“They want leaders in Washington who will work to find common ground and bring people together,” Lee said, adding that “now is the time to come together, Democrats and Republicans, and move forward as one country.”

President Donald Trump, in a White House news conference, congratulated Pelosi on the win and said he, too, would like to work in a bipartisan manner on legislative priorities that both parties agree on.

But the midterm election was a referendum on Trump, and many of the candidates were energized to stop administration priorities on health care and tax cuts.

A slate of 20 candidates who won Tuesday were backed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and touted Medicare for all, or a Medicare option for all.

Democrats in the liberal wing of the party also have called for impeachment proceedings on Trump over the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election — a proposal that many centrist Democratic leaders say is premature until a special counsel concludes an investigation into the matter.

But a slew of subpoenas are expected for White House aides and Cabinet secretaries when Democrats take control over powerful committees with oversight authority rarely used in the Republican-controlled House.

Conservatives have already warned of a Democratic overreach in the House that would lead to GOP gains in the 2020 presidential election.

Jenny Beth Martin with the Tea Party Patriots said Trump and the GOP majority in the Senate “will hold the Democrats in check, and we expect a decisive backlash to the House Democrats’ extremism two years from now.”

Pelosi, though, said she would allow House committees to conduct proper oversight of the administration, but noted clearly that Democrats would not push for impeachment of the president without bipartisan support, or without evidence to take such a step.

Titus agreed, and said Democrats should not do anything that would disrupt or undercut the current special counsel investigation into Russian meddling.

Still, Titus is one of several Democrats on the Transportation Committee who have questioned Trump’s involvement in an FBI decision not to move its headquarters in Washington to a suburban area and allow the property near the Trump International Hotel to be sold to private developers.

“We will be asking some questions,” Titus said.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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