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Democrats have been in power before in Nevada.
But may be 2017 is different. There are a large number of bills being offered that push a more progressive agenda than in years passed.
A bill to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Nevada is one the table. So is a bill to put price controls on vital diabetes drugs, to the consternation of drug companies.
Jon Ralston, political journalist, thinks it is different this year. His question is, though: Is it being done for political gain, or are Democrats working on these bills with some knowledge that, if they pass, Governor Brian Sandoval will sign them?
Ralston also talks about former Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore's chances to win a seat to represent Las Vegas' Ward 6 on the City Council.
And the race for Dean Heller's U.S. Senate seat is still almost two years away, but Ralston thinks that if the Democrats can come up with a real, viable candidate, Heller should be worried.
On Dean Heller:
I think he has to start worrying only in the sense that the atmosphere out there doesn’t look good for him right now, in terms of what the numbers are for Trump. At the end of the week, Trump has decided to resurrect Yucca Mountain without telling Heller, which is not a good thing for Heller… who put out a very tepid statement blaming both parties for it. He’s going to be tagged with that.
The Democrats have started to be more aggressive again as they were in the days of Harry Reid. They have everything they need right now – 600 days away – to beat Heller, except for one minor thing and that’s a candidate.
On a bill that installs price controls for diabetic drugs:
Well, I think partly it’s a fight against Big Pharma and partly it’s a transparency bill, partly it’s a bill to make diabetes medications more affordable. It’s doing a lot. It’s sponsored by freshman Yvanna Cancela from Las Vegas and she’s obviously very committed to the issue, put a lot of thought into it, if you look into that bill.
The question is how much juice does Big Pharma have in Carson City and will the entire health services coalition, which includes gaming and unions, get behind this bill. If it does – it is probably a popular issue, I haven’t seen polling – but I think she could get a lot of support. It is going to be a very interesting fight to watch.
On Democrats and the progressive efforts in Carson City:
I think that there is a reaction that’s going on. You’re right that it is different this time. I think there is a reaction to the Republicans having complete control last time. The Democrats are having this Newtonian reaction and proposing everything they’ve ever dreamed of proposing. Some of it will look like a Democratic wish list and some of it will look like a progressive wish list. Some of it will look like a Labor wish list. Some of it will look like a trial lawyer wish list. But, they don’t have what the Republicans had in 2015, which is a governor who is willing to sign certain things. Now, they have to figure out whether they just want to make statements and please their constituents or please groups like the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada or the trial lawyers or labor or if they want to actually get things done.
On Michelle Fiore running for Las Vegas City Council:
I don’t think she’s a shoe-in but she’s got to be seen as the favorite to win the primary based on polling that’s out there, based on her name recognition and based on the incredibly low turnout. She’s got a political base still from the Legislature. It’s a small political base, but it doesn’t have to be that large to make it through a primary.
I think there are 10 candidates or so in that race, besides those who have relatively big names. She has a following and she’s very aggressive. She loves grassroots campaigning. She’s starting to get endorsements, including from labor unions, who love her, like the laborers and they do quite a ground game and the firefighters who go door to door and are quite effective.
Jon Ralston, political journalist, founder, The Nevada Independent online newsite.