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EDITORIAL: Return Dean Heller to the US Senate

Nevada in recent elections has been a competitive battleground state for the two major parties and 2018 is no different. This cycle, the state’s U.S. Senate race, featuring incumbent Republican Dean Heller and Democratic challenger Rep. Jacky Rosen, is one of the most closely watched in the nation.

The contest offers a clear contrast in political philosophy and experience. Nevadans eager to continue the policies that have put the nation’s economy back on strong footing should vote to return Dean Heller to the Senate for a second term.

When in comes to experience, the two resumes aren’t remotely similar. Sen. Heller, a former financial analyst, has a long history of serving the Silver State. He was elected to the state Assembly for two terms before winning three straight elections to serve as secretary of state. He then ascended to the U.S. House for three terms before winning election to the Senate in 2012. Meanwhile, Rep. Rosen had barely unpacked her bags in Washington, D.C., after earning a House seat in 2016 before she announced she would seek a promotion to the upper chamber at the behest of the retired Harry Reid.

The differences are as stark when it comes to policy. Rep. Rosen voted against the Trump tax cuts that have helped unleash the nation’s current economic boom, and she was a loyal and reliable foot soldier in Nancy Pelosi’s progressive army that favors open borders, growing the oppressive administrative state, promoting sanctuary cities and pushing measures that would hasten a government takeover of health care.

Sen. Heller, by contrast, calls the tax cut vote his greatest accomplishment. He is an avid defender of the president’s efforts to attack regulatory excesses and trumpets the results. “America is looking forward now, not backward,” he said, referring to the nation’s record low unemployment, growth that is exceeding expectations, the boost in job creation and widespread optimism on the economy. “This is the land of opportunity again … We’re creating careers, not jobs in Nevada” thanks to allowing American taxpayers to keep more of their own hard-earned money.

The incumbent also pledges his continued support for judicial nominees who stand by the Bill of Rights and recognize constitutional limits on the power of the state.

On immigration, Sen. Heller supported a Dreamer fix that was stymied by Democrats who sought to gain political points rather than compromise on the border wall. He takes a more pragmatic view than some hard-line members of his party and says he can support a “pathway to citizenship” for those in the country illegally who learn to speak English, pay their taxes and obey the laws — but only after funding border security and removing the “criminal element out of the country that is here illegally.”

Sen. Heller, who formerly represented rural Nevada in the House, is a tireless supporter of veterans and a stalwart defender of the Second Amendment. He correctly observes that an addiction to federal spending, not lagging revenue, is Washington’s biggest problem and the driver of the nation’s debt and annual deficits. “We’re only attacking half the problem,” he observes. He has proposed a measure to withhold congressional paychecks unless Congress passes a responsible budget blueprint.

Last year, Sen. Heller caught hell from many Nevada Republicans who saw him as waffling on the repeal of Obamacare, which he had publicly opposed. It was, perhaps, an act of attempted self-preservation for a man representing a purple state and considered the most vulnerable GOP member of the Senate. He says he has no regrets and has embraced the Affordable Care Act’s provisions encouraging states to expand Medicaid and requiring insurers to offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Health care costs, he says, can be contained not by empowering the federal bureaucracy, but by promoting choice and competition and allowing states to experiment with solutions that fit their own unique circumstances.

Democrats have high hopes for capturing the House but also dream of picking off the Senate despite a disadvantageous electoral map. The Heller-Rosen race is crucial to the latter. But Nevadans should remember that at every opportunity — whether on tax relief, regulatory reform or job creation — Jacky Rosen opposed the antidote to the sluggish malaise that characterized the Obama economy. This state deserves better. Nevadans should re-elect Dean Heller.

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