More than 100 businesspeople and government officials from around Nevada are making the rounds in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby on behalf of the Interstate 11 project and against the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.
The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual trip to the capital attracted a record number of participants this year because of its track record of success, according to chamber CEO Kristin McMillan, who is leading the delegation.
“There’s no question that there is more interest," McMillan said, "We take not only our business leaders within the community but also other civic and community leaders, elected government officials and those that are running some of our local government agencies, state constitutional officers.”
McMillan pointed to chamber efforts serving as a catalyst for the 2014 designation of Tule Springs in the northwest Las Vegas Valley as a national monument.
She said the trip is also a good way to push longer-term issues, like the proposed Interstate 11 linking Phoenix to Las Vegas and Northern Nevada.
“We need to go to Washington to continue to make the point that the federal government needs to participate in this,” she said.
Bill Noonan is the president of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber and an executive with Boyd Gaming. He agreed that making sure I-11 stays at the top of Congress's list is a priority this week.
“We want to do everything we can to get I-11 on the radar screen for any transportation, infrastructure bill that may be coming out of Congress this fall or perhaps this winter,” he said.
The delegation is scheduled to meet with Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican and one of the strongest advocates in Congress for storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain, which is 100 miles from Las Vegas.
Noonan said he would reiterate the resort industry’s continued opposition to the proposal.
“We need to lead our chamber delegation to let others in D.C. know how important it would be to tourism if they were to start that and there would be an accident or an event that could cause devastation to the tourism industry in our community,” he said.
Ryann Juden, the assistant city manager for North Las Vegas, is also in D.C. with the Chamber.
He said besides supporting the chamber's position on Yucca Mountain and I-11, he's going to meet with some people about companies that have plans to move to Apex Industrial Park.
“I'll be using my time over the next couple of days while I’m in D.C to meet with administrative officials and meet with officials from Senate finance and House ways and means to discuss an issue that is affecting a company that we're going to have coming out,” he said.
Juden declined to say which companies were coming here.
The group also will hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for an update on healthcare issues, and Anthony Scaramucci, the colorful Wall Streeter who was briefly the White House communications director, will emcee a chamber-hosted dinner.
Kristin McMillan, CEO, Las Vegas Metro Chamber; Bill Noonan, president, Las Vegas Metro Chamber and Boyd Gaming executive; Ryann Juden, assistant city manager, North Las Vegas
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