In a congressional district that’s never gone blue, Republican incumbent Mark Amodei hopes to retain the seat he’s held since 2011. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings sat down with Mr. Amodei to discuss his position on immigration, healthcare and more, as well as his plans for the next 24 months in office.
Congressman Mark Amodei has been walking the south halls of the Capitol for seven years as he’s retained his seat in Nevada’s second congressional district. He claims many victories during his tenure there, including getting a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery for Vietnam helicopter pilots and crew members and obtaining a new zip code for the Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex east of Reno. He says he’s got more to do, however, and hopes to secure a win this election to enable him to keep going.
One of his goals if re-elected is to fix healthcare. And the way to do it, in his book, is getting it out of federal hands.
“With all due respect to the people who think one payer is the idea, over half the people in Nevada are on employer-provided plans and guess what? They're the closest to happiest that there are,” Amodei said. “Those are school teachers, those are public safety people, those are people that work in the resort industry. You're going to go to all those people and say, guess what, your plan through the Peppermill, or WCSD, or the culinary union is gone. You're now part of a big group that's being run out of Washington, D.C. I gotta tell you, that doesn't sound like a good idea to me.”
Amodei says the culture in D.C. is less than desirable, with party leaders influencing how legislators vote, rather than the elected listening to their conscience and constituents. He says he’s frustrated when his colleagues are concerned more with themselves than finding solutions to the issues. He says there are good people on both sides of the aisle and that party leaders of both parties need to let them work through things and govern.
One way Mr. Amodei hopes to work together with Democrats is on immigration.
“The status quo on immigration is--I don't care what your politics are--it's unacceptable,” Amodei said. "The problem is, immigration has become so incredibly politicized that everybody, one side wants to say, ‘Hey I feel your pain,’ and the other side wants to say, ‘Hey, we're tough on all this stuff.’ But the problem of how to secure the borders, what do you do with DACA, what do you do with ag workers--what about all those? I'm one of the 25 republicans who signed a discharge petition to force bills to the floor this year, and voted on them. I voted on both of them. Because we need to start somewhere, because I'll go back where I started, the status quo is bad.”
Amodei says he if he gets another term he will also work on more Nevada-focused issues, including public lands, school safety and budgeting.
This article is an excerpt of an extended conversation. You can listen to a longer interview by clicking the play button above.