New Berkley spot promotes role in securing VA hospital

Shelley Berkley, the Las Vegas congresswoman running for U.S. Senate, has unveiled a new television commercial that promotes her role in securing a veterans hospital for Southern Nevada,  a facility touted to create "hundreds of jobs" as well as improved health care for retired military.

"They deserved every medal, every heroes welcome home," says the narrator of the 30-second spot over images of an officer’s ribboned chest and a serviceman in embrace with a loved one.

"But the one thing they really needed most Nevada couldn’t give them. It took Shelley Berkley, the daughter of a World War II veteran, to finally get our veterans a new hospital.

"Now hundreds of people from construction workers to nurses are getting new jobs and our veterans the health care they deserve," the narrator says over footage of the nearly completed hospital at North Pecos Road and Interstate 215.

The commercial began running this weekend in the Reno market,  a Berkley campaign spokesman said. Former state Assemblyman Bernie Anderson was scheduled to discuss it at an event Tuesday in the Democratic Party offices in Washoe County.

The TV ad is the second one that emphasizes the Democrat’s work on behalf of Nevada veterans, and the second to debut in Northern Nevada where Berkley is not as well know as in Las Vegas. Her campaign said the commercial is being aired as part of a reported $45,000 ad buy that began last week.

Smart Media Group, a media buying company that reports on political spending,  said today that Berkley’s campaign has purchased another $64,000 worth of air time for the week that begins on Tuesday.

Nevada’s members of Congress have promoted the $600 million medical center that has been on the drawing boards for most of the past decade and that is set to open later this year.

Berkley and Sen.  Harry Reid, D-Nev. introduced  initial funding bills in 2003, soon after a major  VA study endorsed the placement of a medical center in fast-growing Southern Nevada. 

Berkley used her seat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee to grill VA officials repeatedly about progress they were making on the project, whose costs more than doubled from an initial $286 million estimate.  

She left the veterans committee in 2009 for the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.  But by then she had developed relationships with VA officials in Las Vegas that enabled her to keep a hand in the hospital effort.


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