Dr. Joe Heck selected “a small, informal setting where we knew locals would be because that’s what we’re here for – to hear from folks who live in the area about what’s important to them” as he made a campaign stop in Mesquite on Saturday evening, July 16. Heck, Republican candidate for U.S Senate, chose Bella’s restaurant, a small, popular local pizza parlor to meet with constituents and explain his stance on issues as he makes a run to replace Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) who is retiring.
“We want to give business to the local community,” he told the Mesquite Local News before publicly addressing about 25 residents and taking questions. Also on hand was U.S. Congressman Cresent Hardy (R-CD4) who’s running for re-election in the 2016 campaign.
“We visited Caliente and Pioche earlier today and now this is our third and final campaign stop before we head back to Las Vegas tonight,” Heck said about the campaign trail he and Hardy are traveling.
After introductions by Mesquite Mayor Al Litman, Heck said, “people have told me that after the last eight years of Barack Obama and 30 years of Harry Reid, they are ready for a change. I’ll bring that change in November with your help. I think this generation will leave the nation worse off for the next generation and that’s the first time that has happened.”
He went on to say that “the last eight years under Obama and Reid has seen a sluggish economy, stagnant wages, foreign policy that defies explanation, and loss of U.S. prestige on the world stage.”
Heck said, “When we ask people what their number one election issue is, the vast majority of time they name one of the top four – jobs and the economy, national security, education and health care. Fortunately for me, all of those are areas in which I’ve actually lived and worked.”
He explained that after college graduation he worked as a teacher, later becoming a medical doctor who is still on Army reserve duty, and has owned and operated a business. “So when people name those issues, I can tell them that they have someone, me, who has worked in every one of those issues,” Heck said.
“We don’t expect the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to come up this year for a vote,” Heck said in responding to a question about his stance on the trade agreement. “I haven’t looked that closely at the trade deal because there are so many other bills coming up for a vote. I concentrate on those bills on which I know we are voting.”
“There have been job losses with previous trade agreements,” he said, adding “I believe in fair trade. We’ve got to open up U.S. markets to global competitiveness. We have to start selling our stuff overseas. But you can’t do it in such a way that it penalizes American workers.”
Heck also said, “We need reasonable regulation. You have to protect the environment, employees and consumers. But what we’ve seen over the last eight years is a shift and it’s no longer a balance. I don’t think a lot of the new regulations have been reasonable. It’s one of the reasons why our economy is still sluggish.”
Responding to a question doubting Congress’ enrollment in the same Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare] programs as others, Heck explained that elected officials and their staff must use regularly prescribed health care exchanges if they desire employer-based coverage under the plan.
Referencing concerns that the Gold Butte area could become a National Monument or National Conservation Area, Heck said, “We passed the Interior Appropriations Bill last week [in the U.S. House of Representatives] and included provisions that the president cannot designate any more national monuments in multiple states, one of them Nevada. We’ll see if we get it all the way to the finish line. I’m sure there will be some negotiations on the bill.”
Heck said Congress has made some strides in trying to straighten out the bureaucracy at the Veterans Administration that he says is responsible for most of the problems veterans encounter. “One of the biggest issues we found, quite honestly, is that the Secretary of the Veterans Administration didn’t have the authority he needed to do his job,” Heck said. He went on to explain that even after Congress granted the Secretary new authorities those were ruled unlawful by the judicial system and that further changes were required.
“As we have tried to decrease funding at every other level, the VA has gotten more money every year,” Heck said. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the bureaucracy at the VA. Once people get in the VA health care system, they are pretty happy. It’s the process of getting into the system to get the care that’s the problem.”
Heck added that “we are trying to look at ways to strengthen the VA system, give veterans more options and trying to cut the bureaucratic red tape.”