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Ray Hagar: Congressman Amodei talks Trump, Nevada and more

Nevada’s 2nd U.S. House District Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, is a Republican who says he tries to represent all of the people in his district, not just the ones in his political party.

But some of his constituents’ ill feelings toward President Donald Trump can become a wedge issue in representing the 2nd District, Amodei said recently on Nevada Newsmakers.

“I know that this administration has been controversial and the other side really, really doesn’t like the guy personally. I get that. I accept that. That is the world we live in,” Amodei told host Sam Shad.

“But to sit there and say, because I don’t like that person, how can you like him? Seriously? It’s like, listen: He is the sitting incumbent Republican president. He was nominated by the Republicans in 2016 and despite all the stuff that is going on, what am I gonna do? Seriously. Politics is a team sport.”

Amodei, who was Trump’s Nevada campaign chairman for the 2016 election, evoked the name of the well-known activist of the liberal Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada to make his point.

“Quite frankly, I could not imagine waking up on the day and saying to someone — let’s say Bob Fulkerson — and say, ‘Bob, I can’t believe you are supporting the Democratic nominee. Come on. Seriously?”

Nevada’s 2nd U.S. House District has always elected a Republican representative since the district was created after the 1980 census. The latest statistics from the Nevada Secretary of State show more than 109,000 Republicans and almost 105,000 Democrats in the district that includes a growing Reno-Sparks area.

‘The pavement we drive on’

Amodei has a 98.7 percent score when it comes to voting in line with the Trump administration, according to the FiveThirtyEight website. He said most of the criticism he receives about Trump comes from the far-left and far-right fringes.

“You don’t get that from the silent majority, if there is such a thing, still,” Amodei said. “It’s always from the far-left folks and then there are the far-right folks saying, ‘You know, you are not a good enough … whatever. So that’s kind of the reality. That is the pavement we drive on.”

Amodei is the only Republican in Nevada’s six-member congressional delegation. All others are Democrats. As the lone Republican, it is important for the state that at least one of its federal delegates has a working relationship with the Trump administration.

“(I’m) somebody who is basically the only conduit the state has into that administration,” he said. “That is an important thing to have if you are talking about labor or the interior or education or emergency preparedness and stuff like that.

“It’s not like the other folks in the delegation, they talk too,” Amodei added. “I mean as the Republican in the delegation, when we call the (Trump) administration, we like to think that most of the time, we get a pretty good response.”

Amodei did not say if he will be Trump’s Nevada campaign leader in 2020 but indicated he will support the Republicans’ “person.”

“I expect the other side to fight hard for their person, whoever that ends up being, as the Republicans do for their person and the election will be decided by the folks in between,” he said.

“You play the cards that are dealt and these are the ones that are dealt for this cycle,” he said. “So I gotta play ‘em.”

National scene

Getting things accomplished for Nevada is doable, as long as the issue is not tied into a larger, controversial national issue.

Amodei talked about transferring federal land in Nevada to municipalities as a doable issue. Nevada issues tied to immigration reform and free trade are too politically charged to get anything accomplished.

“I separate it into two issues,” he said. “In the Nevada issues, yeah, I think so and that is probably because many of them are not national issues. You talk about national issues and, maybe not.”

He blamed the Democratic majority for not getting much accomplished in the U.S. House, where Amodei has been a member for eight years.

“Look at the trade stuff in Northern America. The Mexican government is ready to go. The Canadian government is ready to go and then you hear, well, maybe Congress is not ready to go because the House does not want to give the president or this administration a win.”

The lack of movement on key national issues that impact Nevada by the Democratically-dominated U.S. House is frustrating for Amodei.

“Seriously, we are going to hold up a free-trade agreement? Seriously, we are not going to do anything significant on Dreamers or TPS (temporary protective status)? Seriously, the health care stuff, we can’t have it look like anything has been done that improves the Affordable Care Act?

“And some days the answers to those question are, ‘Absolutely. Seriously, that is what we are doing.’ And you go, wow, no wonder everybody hates (Washington) D.C.”

Ray Hagar is a journalist for “Nevada Newsmakers.” More information on the public affairs broadcast program, podcast and website are available nevadanewsmakers.com

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