Two years ago, voters in Nevada’s third congressional district sent Susie Lee to Washington to fill a seat left empty when Jacky Rosen ran for Senate.
Now the Democrat is seeking a second term representing the district she won by nine percentage points in 2018.
Standing in her way is Republican Dan Rodimer, a businessman, political newcomer, and former pro-wrestler.
The district extends from southern Las Vegas to the California border and includes the western Las Vegas suburbs, Henderson, and Boulder City.
On a second pandemic relief package:
If I had my way, we’d have had that help a long time ago. I am part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, and first of all, we passed the Heroes Act, which was a $3.4 trillion relief package back in May, yet it sat on Mitch McConnell’s desk in the Senate for five months.
The House then made another effort a $2.2 trillion package in the Heroes 2.0, but we saw the leadership stall and that’s when we came together has rank-and-file members, bi-partisan, to put forth a guideline package of $1.8 trillion.
Putting that package forward was instrumental in bringing the leadership back to the table in negotiations. The president even tweeted about it that he would accept the package as a baseline for his agreement and I expect to hear from the Speaker.
There is optimism that they will reach a deal and we’ll be able to vote on it before the election. That is certainly something I’ve been pushing for every single day, understanding that Nevada and our families here have been at the ground zero for the devastation that this pandemic has caused.
On the questions surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program and the loans that went to her husband’s company:
I’ve maintained, first of all, over 42,000 businesses, over half a million jobs, were saved through the PPP. I advocated on behalf of the major industry in our state. I joined our bipartisan delegation to do just that. Not only that, it was bipartisan around this country. This was a major industry that was excluded.
It’s called the Payroll Protection Program, meaning that we were protecting payroll, which exactly what happened with my husband’s company and what he used that funding for, which was to save 700 jobs. We saved half a million jobs. I did my job by advocating our major industry was not excluded from this significant part of the relief package.
On the economic recovery of Las Vegas:
I think that our entire economy will only recover when people feel safe enough to go out and to resume their normal lives.
That requires us to basically beat the pandemic. I think it is reckless to call for opening up the economy without a plan for how we’re going to keep the infection rate down.
Obviously, we have it all at our fingertips, which is wearing a mask. If everyone would simply wear a mask, we could definitely see a reduction in infection rates, but that’s why such an important part of the package that we’re negotiating is not only money for testing and contact tracing but actually a national strategy.
To me, that’s been the major failure of this administration with respect to the pandemic. From day one, we never had a national strategy for how we were going to mitigate and how we were going to prevent the spread of this pandemic.
Instead, we basically left it up to governors across the country. It did not have to be this bad and it’s because of a lack of leadership of this administration and lack of a national testing strategy that we’ve seen this pandemic rage out of control.
If re-elected, what will be your priority on day one in office?
We’ve got to get Nevadans back to work. I think we will continue to make sure that we overcome this pandemic, but more importantly, it’s got to be how we’re going to get hundreds of thousands of Nevadans, who are out of work right now, back to work.
We know that many of these jobs may never come back and so that would require significant investment in workforce development, which by the way is something I’ve already been successful at.
I was able to secure a $2 million grant for Nevada State College, a Hispanic-serving institution, for their education training program. Another $1 million for area health education centers to invest in workforce development for health care jobs.
That type of leadership, that I have already demonstrated is what I will be focusing on to make sure we’re getting federal support, getting workforce development, economic diversification and making sure we’re bringing jobs to our economy here in Southern Nevada.
But, obviously, all of it is tied to how we overcome this pandemic and continuing to fight for national testing strategy, for national support and making sure that people feel safe to access our industry and our businesses here.
If elected, what would you like to make your priority on day one?
As soon as I’m elected, I’m going to have a meeting over at our campaign office, we’re going to invite everybody over. I want to talk to the community more about the issues.
Right now, obviously, the economy is going to be a major, major issue. We have a number of people still unemployed. Our Culinary Union has almost been cut in half with folks being laid off. Folks that are calling me every day, saying, ‘Dan, I want to get back to work and I’m frustrated about it that we’re shut down. I’m frustrated that our children can’t go back to school.’ These are major issues that we’re going to have, and we need to have a voice for the people to come out and fight to protect them. And right now, we don’t have that.
On a second pandemic relief package:
We need to spend the money that we have currently, but we also need to help the folks that need it the most. We see this issue where we’re going to be dumping trillions and trillions of dollars but let’s get it to the people that need it.
All these other things, on this Heroes Act that they were trying to push, had nothing to do with getting the money out to the people. We need a package. We need something that Republicans and Democrats can work on together and get it through. Right now, they’re not doing it.
On concerns about adding to the federal deficit:
I’m a fiscal conservative. I’m a constitutional conservative and we need to – right now – for every dollar that we bring in, we end up spending a $1.40 and that’s China, basically, owning us.
We need to become independent. We need to be more fiscally responsible. We need to bring back manufacturing jobs here to Nevada after this. We need to bring back infrastructure and that’s what I plan on doing. When I become a congressman, I’m going to bust my butt to make sure that the people here are protected.
I will make Nevada number one. Number one priority. And right now, we don’t have that. We have other people speaking for our congresswoman. Susie Lee voted with [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-NY] 95 percent of the time. The folks here in Congressional District 3, they don’t want to be a socialist district. We don’t want to be a socialist state. And we can’t have that.
We need, at the end of the day, to have someone who will stand up and protect Social Security and make sure that the folks that paid in, the seniors, are taken care of. We need to make sure we have great health care for everybody, make sure we cover pre-existing conditions.
We need to make sure that our district is protected. Seventy percent of the people that are polled say that their number one issue and the person they’re going to vote for is the person who is backed by the police.
The Las Vegas Police Protective Association actually pulled their endorsement of Susie Lee and gave it to me because she defunded the police.
And what is Susie Lee’s response, well what she does is she attacks my family. She attacks my family with untrue commercials every day. Instead of attacking my family, why don’t you talk about what you’ve done or what you’re going to do, which she won’t, which is why she won’t debate either.
On attack ads about run-ins with police:
People don’t want to see a smear campaign. They want to see what you’re going to do when you get to Congress and we’re not seeing that. Instead, Susie Lee is attacking my family. She’s attacking my family with 911 calls.
The fact is: my wife and I got into a verbal argument – that’s it. The police came and they left. Nobody was arrested. There was no physical touching. Later on, that night we went out to dinner.
And in regards to the fight, I got into one fight with another adult male. It wasn’t even a fight. It was a push. The gentlemen pushed me. I pushed him back and there were no charges. And to this day, I do not have a criminal record at all.
Pitch to get the vote of someone who voted Democrat in 2018:
I’m the candidate who is going to go out of my way to make sure the folks are protected. I’m going to go out of my way to continue to cut regulations and to make sure we continue to lower taxes. Susie Lee is against that.
You want to pick the candidate that is going to be vocal. That is not going to be afraid to go on the House floor or be afraid to go on CNN or MSNBC or Fox because I’m going to be on those stations. I’m going to be on those stations every day fighting to protect Nevada.
How will you use your experience as a former pro-wrestler and a small business owner in Congress?
I’ve learned a lot over the years. I owned a mortgage company. I’ve owned a real estate company. I was a general contractor. I was a professional wrestler. And now, I’m a restaurant owner. I’m a father of six, but over the years, I’ve learned a lot.
And, obviously, also being a showman for the WWE, and lastly, of course, being a law school graduate. I am also vocal. I’m not afraid to go out and be vocal to protect the people and these are things I’m going to bring to the table.
Susie Lee, congresswoman, third district; Dan Rodimer, GOP candidate, CD3
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