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Joe Heck for 3rd Congressional District

These are trying times. Small businesses are struggling. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. No one has been hit harder by the Great Recession than residents of Southern Nevada's 3rd Congressional District.

No doubt they'd benefit from having a representative in Washington who's been an entrepreneur, who's run a small business, who has gone without a paycheck, on occasion, to make payroll.

Then again, one huge drag on our economy has been ObamaCare, the ill-considered federal takeover of the health care industry, which the Supreme Court upheld only on the grounds that it constitutes an enormous tax hike. To sort out the health care mess, Nevadans sometimes must wish they could send to Washington someone with decades of experience as a medical doctor.

And then there's foreign policy. This administration's management of the Afghanistan conflict, and its efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon and threatening Israel's existence, have not been successful. Residents of the 3rd District might dream they could send a career Army officer to Washington, an active member of the Reserve who's actually served tours in such trouble spots.

Most of all, though, 3rd District residents need someone in Washington who's smart. Someone who wants to simplify the tax code to the point that we can fill out our returns on a single sheet of paper, who wants to address the government's huge budget problems with substance, not scare tactics. Someone who actually believes public service is enough of a reward that he'd introduce legislation to allow him to opt out of a congressional pension entirely.

Residents of the 3rd Congressional District could go out looking for one or more of those four candidates. But they don't have to. Because Rep. Joe Heck is all of the above. And he doesn't need any freshman orientation.

With Rep. Heck's help, the Republican House alone has been able to prevent the Obama administration from tying even bigger anchors to our fragile economy. On entitlement reform and so many other issues, the Democratic plan is no plan at all - to simply dodge tough questions and kick critical issues down the road until they implode and create a full-blown crisis.

The personification of this approach is Rep. Heck's Democratic challenger, state Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, who failed to respond to multiple requests for an endorsement interview. In television appearances, the underwhelming Mr. Oceguera struggles to articulate his party's lamest talking points, providing scripted non-answers to basic questions of federal policy. If he can't handle a 15-minute interview with a local television host, how in the world does he expect to stand up for the 3rd District when House Leader Nancy Pelosi tells him how to vote?

Mr. Oceguera's claim to fame during an undistinguished career in the Legislature was his proficiency in double-dipping: drawing a legislative salary while simultaneously collecting a paycheck from the North Las Vegas Fire Department - even for hours he didn't work. He helped create a system that allowed him to retire last year with a roughly six-figure, lifetime public pension at the age of 43.

Seldom do Nevada voters have such an easy choice in such a high-profile race. The Review-Journal endorses Rep. Joe Heck for re-election in the 3rd Congressional District.

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