Once upon a time in Nevada, those elected to our State Legislature balanced the needs and desires of their districts with the overall best interests of the entire state.
That time has passed.
Northern California and Southern Oregon have had a similar situation with regard to politics and representation for years.
Those areas are rural and mostly conservative. They voted heavily red and Trump carried those counties.
They are completely opposed to what the liberal areas of Portland, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Basin are doing at their legislatures.
They have virtually no elected representation in their state legislatures. Because those areas of California and Oregon feel completely out of touch with their existing state legislatures and urban areas, there has been a movement over the years to create a new state: The State of Jefferson.
Ask anyone that has lived in rural Nevada for at least a few years and you will get the following description of Nevada: “There is Nevada, and then there is Las Vegas.” What that really means is that Las Vegas has become its own entity within the state borders and disconnected from the rest of the state.
This year’s legislative session further sharpens the contrast. While the population in Southern Nevada has swelled, the rural areas have grown much slower.
The representation at the State Legislature reflects the population growth of the Las Vegas area. In the State Senate, 15 of the 21 elected senators are from the Las Vegas area. Ten of those belong to the Democratic Party.
In the State Assembly, 30 of the 42 elected Assemblypersons are from Southern Nevada and 23 belong to the Democratic Party. Out of our 63 legislators, 45 represent Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.
Legislation introduced this session by Las Vegas area legislators include raising the minimum wage and making Nevada a sanctuary state. These are directly from the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda. There will be other bills introduced that further promote that agenda.
Clearly, the Las Vegas legislators didn’t get the memo. The Democrats lost the presidential race because Americans want to get rid of special interests controlling our laws and to cut back on regulations and government interference. We had eight years of increased entitlement programs and bigger government with disastrous results.
The liberal agenda that the Las Vegas legislators want to promote goes directly against the views of the more conservative rural areas of Nevada. Ask those who live in rural Nevada what they think of the Democratic agenda currently being pushed at the Legislature and you will find the majority of residents completely disagree with it.
Perhaps forming the “State of Jefferson” is just a fantasy for those that want to control their part of California and Oregon but the message is clear. The main population centers’ liberal politics are in sharp contrast to the more conservative views of the rural areas and the lack of concern from legislators for the rural areas has created a sharp divide within those states.
Will Nevada’s rural counties follow suit and look for an alternative way to protect their conservative views?
If our Legislature continues to push a liberal Democratic-fueled agenda with little regard to the rest of the state outside of Las Vegas, it will indeed become a reality. The sharp divide between the Las Vegas area and the rest of the state has never been sharper.
Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org