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U.S. Senate: Joe Heck - Republican

Name: Dr. Joe Heck 

Office: U.S. Senate

Party Affiliation: Republican

Website: drjoeheck.com

Question: In a 140 characters, introduce yourself as if you are introducing yourself to a neighbor.

Husband, father, physician, search & rescue team member, SWAT doctor, Iraq veteran, small business owner, brigadier general in Army Reserve.

Question: Do you support ANY form of background check for gun sales?

Supports the existing law governing background checks.

Question: What is your plan to work across the aisle to end partisan gridlock?

In the gridlocked 113th Congress, I was rated the 29th most bipartisan House Member out of 422 by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. I reach across the aisle to solve problems for Nevada and our country. Two of my bills passed unanimously and were signed into law: The Three Kids Mine Act and the Hoover Dam Power Allocation Act. My Stolen Valor Act passed nearly unanimously and became law. Two others, my Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Human Trafficking Act and my Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act were incorporated into a larger bills, passed unanimously and became law.

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Question: What is the ONE Nevada issue you plan to bring to the national dialogue?

Access to quality health care and our doctor shortage are huge issues for Nevada. As an emergency department physician, one of the reasons I ran for Congress was the passage of the disastrous Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law has failed to meet its stated goals of increasing access to healthcare and reducing costs. Recent events suggest the law is having the opposite effect. Major insurers are leaving the exchanges and others are predicting significant premium hikes for their customers, making it anything but affordable. Meanwhile, those who do have insurance are still finding it difficult to access care due to widespread physician shortages, especially here in Nevada.

My focus in the House is to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare. To do that we first must repeal the flawed parts of the healthcare law and replace it with reforms that put the patient, not the insurance companies, at the center of our healthcare system. That includes expanding Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts, not limiting them as done in the ACA. Next, we must reverse harmful changes the law made to Medicare and I have introduced the Seniors Health Care Choice Act to do just that. Finally, we must address our severe doctor shortage so patients can access the care they need.

The best way we can reduce our doctor shortage is to train more medical residents right here in Nevada. Studies show that physicians are more likely to practice medicine where they completed their residencies. Because of this, I introduced the Creating Access to Residency Education (CARE) Act that establishes a grant program to encourage underserved states like Nevada to create new or expand current residency programs. More medical residency programs will allow us to train and retain the next generation of Nevada physicians and lead to healthier communities around the state.

Question: Rooftop solar vs. the state’s power utility — and potentially breaking up the energy monopoly in Nevada — is shaping up to be one of this year’s greatest battles in the state. Should Nevada break up NV Energy’s regulated monopoly?

Breaking up NV Energy is not a federal issue, but as one of several elected officials to call for grandfathered utility rates for existing solar energy customers, I was pleased to learn that NV Energy is pursuing that path.

If renewable energy technology is going to be viable in the future, users must have certainty of utility rates to justify the upfront costs of installing solar and other energy systems. A grandfathered rate for those who had the foresight to invest in solar energy prior to December 31, 2015 would provide that certainty. It would also signal to those considering adopting other energy sources that rates will not fluctuate with regulatory changes.

Nevada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We must leverage our unique geography and climate to harness those resources for energy development and economic growth. The two most obvious areas are in solar and geothermal energy technology, the development of which could make Nevada a national renewable energy leader. 

In the House, I've championed the development of renewable energy on our public lands as a way to lower energy costs, protect our environment, and create jobs. I will make such a policy a top priority in the U.S. Senate.

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