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Berkley: No more Vegas bashing!

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., has had enough Las Vegas bashing. The Democrat who represents the Strip started swinging back with a speech on the House floor this afternoon.

Here’s the transcript and a link to the video:

Mr. Speaker, I’m mad and I’m not going to take it anymore.

I’ve had enough of my colleagues bashing my district, my hometown, and the community I love, Las Vegas.

I’ve sat back as Las Vegas has been maligned, insulted, and lied about for the sole purpose of making political points.

I’ve been waiting for common sense to prevail. But I’m here to say that this nonsense, the bashing and lies about Las Vegas have got to end and they have got to end now.

It started with Senator McConnell’s misguided attack on the stimulus bill by singling out a mob museum in Las Vegas as an earmark in the stimulus package.

There’s only a couple of things wrong with that, there never was an earmark in the stimulus bill — there are none — and there certainly wasn’t one for a mob museum, there was never a mention of it in the stimulus package. The lies continue.

Then we found out about the Mag-lev train, countless republicans have misrepresented the $8 billion included in the stimulus bill as being an earmark for the Las Vegas-Anaheim Mag-lev route.

The only problem is even after it was pointed out that there is no earmark, that Las Vegas and California are going to have to compete with other projects, that this has been a project that’s been in the works for 20 years and that it will bring thousands of visitors to the Las Vegas area and to the Southern California area, the lies continue.

The latest one was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He repeated the lie in his televised response to the President’s remarks to Congress, claiming the bill included funding for a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland.

And then it goes one worse. Trent Franks just mentioned there’s a Mag-lev going from Disneyland to the Moonlight Bunny brothel. Now I grew up in Las Vegas and I’ve never heard of the Moonlight Bunny brothel, but I guarantee the Mag-lev train is not going there.

The latest whipping boy is in the omnibus bill — Sustainable Las Vegas.

Just yesterday, Senator McCain took to the floor of the Senate to attack sustainable Las Vegas. What does sustainable Las Vegas mean? He yelled. Let me enlighten the senator, it’s a University of Nevada education and research program on energy supply, water supply and air quality issues that are very important for the desert southwest for cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix and Tucson. But he knows that.

So why is it different than the hundreds of other programs given out to other universities in the United States? Including universities in Arizona? Because it has Las Vegas in its name.

And let me tell you about my hometown of Las Vegas: It’s a community of families looking for a better life; it’s a community of schools and churches and mosques, a community of small businesses, working people and beautiful hotels.

That brings me to the most egregious affront to Las Vegas. Stop bad mouthing Las Vegas and stop telling businesses and major companies to stay away from Vegas.

You are hurting our economy, you’re forcing major layoffs of employees in the hotel industry. Hundreds-of-thousands of Nevadans depend on the tourism and convention business for their livelihood.

Las Vegas has long been a city where serious business is conducted, where small and large conventions can be accommodated. When it comes to business meetings, Las Vegas is the best city on the planet. You still get the best bang for your buck. Great hotels, great convention facilities, great restaurants, great transportation and a great price.

When you bad mouth Las Vegas, you are hurting our major industry, you’re hurting your fellow citizens by taking away their livelihood. You are taking food out of their children’s mouths.

Las Vegas is having a very tough time right now. High mortgage foreclosure rate, high unemployment, high bankruptcy rate. We are hurting. Every attack on Las Vegas by my colleagues is a knife in the heart of my city.

So I implore my colleagues, stop bashing Las Vegas. Find some other whipping boy. We’ve had enough, we’re not going to take it anymore. I yield back the balance of my time.

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