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AUDIO: Democrats gather for presidential candidates in Northern Nevada (Subscriber Content)

By Don Dike Anukam
Published: Last Updated on

Mayor Pete Buttigieg & Tom Steyer the focus of political events in Reno

By Trevor Bexon and Don Dike Anukam | Images by Trevor Bexon


Democrats from around the state, activists, and presidential candidates visited Northern Nevada for a day of meetings on Saturday. Events included rallies and the first annual Keep Nevada Blue event.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana began the day at Northern Nevada HOPES in downtown Reno where he met with leaders and community members to discuss Reno’s changing housing dynamic.

In a tour led by activists, who have experienced hardships due to the lack of affordable housing, Buttigieg walked the streets of downtown Reno. The tour stopped to look at new construction sites, HOPES buildings, and some of the remaining weekly motels — motels that have been historically used as affordable housing options for residents.

AUDIO: Buttigieg speaks in Sparks

Buttigieg held a rally in the early afternoon at Sparks High School for a crowd estimated at 800. He spoke about climate change, depoliticizing the process, immigration, climate change, judicial selection process and human rights.

Towards the end of the rally, the school lost power due to the snow storm that was happening outside. Buttigieg continued his speech while being lit by cell phone flashlights from the crowd.

Andrea Herron, a rally attendee, wearing a Mayor Pete campaign sticker said after the rally: “He’s awesome. He says everything I’m thinking. He aligns with my thoughts and what I want in a president and the direction I want the country to go.”

LIGHTS OUT: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at Sparks High School. Image: Trevor Bexon.
LIGHTS OUT: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at Sparks High School. Image: Trevor Bexon.

At the end of the day the Nevada Democratic party held its first annual Keep Nevada Blue dinner Saturday within the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

The message of the night was about the gains of the 2018 election, party unity, focus on the upcoming 2020 election, and enthusiasm for the upcoming Nevada caucus. The crowd was kept engaged by the host of the evening’s dinner, Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman and Assemblyman, William McCurdy (D-Las Vegas)

Major headliners for the night were Nevada U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto (D), Jacky Rosen (D) and the two presidential candidates: Buttigieg and businessman Tom Steyer.

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Cortez-Masto said that she was extremely pleased at the gains the party made in the 2018 elections and also made an important point about Nevada’s relevance in the presidential nomination and election process.

“We are leading the country in innovation and renewable energy. So I might be a little biased, of course,” she said. “But when you look at these facts, I’d say that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, well, they’re nice places. But if you want to talk to America you come to Nevada.”

Also speaking to the crowd at the Grand Sierra were surrogates on behalf of the presidential campaigns including Carolyn Booker on behalf of her son, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) on behalf of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Douglas Emhoff on behalf of his wife and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).

The Democratic events follow the mid-September push by Nevada conservatives to keep the Silver State in the national spotlight, covered here.

AUDIO: Tom Steyer interview

ThisisReno’s reporter, Don Dike-Anukam, had the opportunity to interview presidential hopeful and businessman, Tom Steyer at the Keep Nevada Blue dinner.

What brings you to Nevada?

TOM – “Well I’m here partially to speak to the Nevada Democratic Party tonight but I’m also here to talk to Nevadans. To hear about what they care about, to talk to people from the UAW who are on strike, to talk to some of the environmental activists to see they are worried about and talk to young people. I’ve been coming to Nevada to organize politically for about six years. So these are old friends, some of them have been doing this for a long time in Nevada.”

Why is Nevada so important?

TOM – Well Nevada is a critical state, for a variety of reasons. I’ve been coming here to organize and help turn Nevada blue for the last 6 years because it’s a swing state, or it used to be a swing. Now it’s a pretty Democratic state. But in addition, it’s one of the four early primary or caucus states. And as such, Nevada holds an incredible amount of importance in how the presidential election goes. I’m not sure everyone in Nevada knows that, but this is a critical state that has a lot to say, and I think anyone who wants to figure out where the country going should come to Nevada and listen to what people here have to say.

Why is the petition you have been working on for the past couple years (impeachment of President Donald Trump) so important?

TOM – I started the “Need to Impeach Movement,” almost two years ago. Because we have the most corrupt president in American history. I think what he was doing was wrong. I think when you see something that’s wrong like that, it’s the job of every American to stand up and oppose it. I got 8 million people to come along with me, including about 100,000 of them from Nevada to sign the petition to impeach him. I think we can see what I said from the beginning. If you don’t believe me, read the paper tomorrow, because you’ll see something new there to convince you, and that’s what has happened. People are finding out, oh my God, he really is corrupt, he really is doing cover ups, he really has to go.

What message do you have for the people of Nevada and anyone interested in you and your campaign efforts?

TOM – Let me say this, I’m running to break the corporate stranglehold on our government. And to return power to the people; and for government of, for, and by the people. And I want to say to the people of Nevada, if we succeed in doing that and in stabilizing the climate crisis. We are in a position that is so much better than people understand. We’re in the best position of any people in the history of the planet. We can guarantee a lifestyle for every American that is better than people understand. We have an enormously bright future ahead of us. We just have to go get it! Thank you so much.

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