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Congressional District 3 - Danny Tarkanian - Republican


Name: Danny Tarkanian

Office: Congressional District 3

Party Affiliation: Republican


Danny Tarkanian is the Republican candidate for Congressional District 3. He’s looking to replace Dr. Joe Heck, who is running for Senate.

Tarkanian is the son of legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. His family has had a long history of public service and he has run for office four different times, but did not win those races.


Why did you want to run for Congress?

I get frustrated that people go out and they campaign they say they’re going to do something and then they go back to the statehouse or Congress and do something completely different. You go and talk to people and say, ‘why is this? Why can’t you get people who have true convictions? That are fighters? That go back there and do what they’re promised.’ I said that’s me. Anyone who knows me knows I tell it like I truly believe. I have strong convictions and I’m a fighter. I don’t back down from anything.

Many people have felt a lot of fear and anxiety around this year’s election:

Instead of talking about ways to bring the country together, ways to help everybody in the country, you always see this segment: well the Hispanic community cares about this and the Republicans won’t do it, so don’t vote Republican, even if those things talked about aren’t what’s best for the country. Or the African-American community. Or they talk about millennials, we’re all Americans here. We all care about our country. We love our country. We want to live in a great country. We should be talking about what we can do for the whole country and get away from the class warfares that’s been going on for the past decade or so.    

What are you going to do about the divide?

I’m not naïve to think, ‘hey, I’m going to change everything.’ But all I can do is go back and be the best representative possible. Go back and represent my full district and go back and try to do what’s best for everybody.  

What is your stance on comprehensive immigration reform?

You start with: what can everybody agree with and can we get it passed? I think most people would agree we need to have secure borders, particularly in today’s environment with terrorism going on, war on drugs and lot of that coming in.  

We also have to make sure we know the people who are coming into our country on the visas. They don’t over stay their visas longer than they should. How do we not know who has over stayed their visas with today’s technology? Forty percent of people who are in the country illegally have over stayed their visas. So, we have to do a better job of making sure they follow the laws of the visa program.

The second thing, which is probably the most important thing, we need to revise our current immigration laws because they’re outdated. They don’t work with the needs of our country or the needs of the people who are trying to come into the country the right way, the legal way.  

The next thing is we have to be a country of laws and enforce those laws. I don’t know how anybody can defend a sanctuary city, where a city says, ‘I’m not going to enforce the laws of our federal government’ and they operate in impunity. We have to get rid of sanctuary cities and the best way to do that is obviously through the federal funding. People come in the country and they ask for asylum and there should be a hearing and we should be able to provide that hearing sooner.

What are we going to do with the people that are here illegally? I don’t know how many there are. I don’t know if anybody does, but let’s use the number that most people do – 11 million. Nobody knows how many of them are people who are here and have committed crimes or people we don’t want in the country, but let’s say it’s two million. Those two million people, I think most people would say, we need to deport them. And deport them immediately. That leaves nine million people that are here in the country with families, working and have been good residents here in our country.

This is the sticking point. This is the thing that everybody fights over. I think the common sense approach is: there has to be a way for these people to stay in the country – legally- and not have the fear of deportation. I’m not in favor of giving people citizenship, who have done it this route, because then you’ve moved them ahead of people who have waited in line.

I think if you do those type of things most people agree with it.

What’s your view on Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter?

Police officers have the second hardest job in country, besides the military that are actually going into combat. They go into areas where they put their lives on the line. Spouses when they go off to serve in their job aren’t sure they’re going to come back alive and we’re going to sit here and demonize the full group of those people? Like the Black Lives Matter does? Because there have been some - and there have been some - cops that have done the wrong thing. Sure there are some. Just as there are some bad CEO’s. There are some bad lawyers. There are some bad doctors. There are some bad cops.

Do I understand the difference? Everybody’s life matters – not just one. Demonize a profession that provides such an important, sacred principal of a country as a police officers is wrong. Go out and chant what they were chanting – death to police officers – in the New York City parade, makes me just almost sick.

What is your opinion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP?

We have to have international trade agreements. TPP is one of them. We have to have ones. We in the United States have the largest, most powerful, most important economy. And with that we have the most leverage in negotiating these treaties.

What I understand Donald Trump saying, and I agree with him, is we need international treaties but they should be treaties that benefit us far more than the countries that we’re dealing with because we’re the ones providing the vast majority of consumers. And that’s what I’m in favor for.

Healthcare affordability and the price of prescription drugs are still issues. What do you think needs to be done about those problems?

Yeah, we can get the government out of trying to regulate all of these different things and let the free market take over and you’re going to see a much better product out there.

We have a system that is out of control cost wise. Out of control for the people who are paying it and we have less accessibility to doctors of our choice. It is the worst of all worlds.  

This is a solution to our healthcare problem: we need to make it tailored back toward the market. Each person can pick and choose what they want. Create health savings accounts and I’m talking about health savings accounts that are owned by the individual. They can take from job to job. Second, allow anybody who is paying into that for it to be deductible. Then allow people to purchase insurance across state lines… Right now, we have two, maybe three, insurance companies that are providing health insurance here in Nevada, why not open it up and have more competition.

Nobody should be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. You have to have some sort of catastrophic insurance coverage for these people so they’re not denied coverage because of their inability to fall within a reasonable cost of coverage.   

What do you think about gun control efforts?

I think most people want to make sure that when somebody purchases a gun has a background check and they want to take away reasonable loopholes that are out there.

On the one hand the ballot measure we have currently, it criminalizes behavior that good, law-abiding people who own guns do all the time. For example, somebody who is not a first-degree relation with you, if you let them borrow a gun that’s a crime. They could have come up with a much better approach than they wrote up there.

You don’t want anybody who you suspect - reasonable suspicion- that is a terrorist to have the ability to carry a gun on any of these flights. I think everybody would agree with that. The problem is we don’t have any kinds of constitutional protections to show there is reasonable suspicion, which is guaranteed by our Constitution.

Do agree with Harry Reid that efforts to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain are dead or do you think it should be a waste repository?

I don’t agree that it should be a nuclear repository and I don’t agree with Harry Reid. There’s been over $40 billion - $50 billion by now, in money that’s been set aside to develop Yucca Mountain. We should use Yucca Mountain as reprocessing facility of nuclear spent fuel. This is what France does with 98 percent of their energy comes from spent nuclear fuel. They reprocess it. There are over 100 sites where they store nuclear spent fuel, right now. Most next to major metropolitan areas. I don’t want to store nuclear spent fuel in Nevada any more than most people who have lived here their whole lives.  

But we can solve both problems by just reprocessing that nuclear spent fuel and we could do it here in Nevada.

Some people in Nevada and around the West have expressed support for having federal land transferred to the states. What do you think?

I don’t believe that Nevada should take back all federal land and try to manage it. It would be an astronomical cost. There are certain things that the federal government should have control over.

Some land should absolutely be released to the state, if it’s in an area that we can build industrial, commercial or residential use out of it. It absolutely should go back and there is no reason to argue against that. But what happens is you lump that land in with the Bundy arguments and lose traction on it. 



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Natalie is an Emmy-award winning journalist who has worked in the Las Vegas market since August 1996, starting as a newscast producer for KLAS-TV Channel 8, and later as an online editor for