Story by Don Dike-Anukam | Images by Ty O’Neil
Democratic Presidential candidate Tom Steyer zigzagged through Reno and Sparks Saturday touring area businesses, speaking to voters, and opening a local campaign office. Steyer, who includes “climate justice” within his campaign platform, also toured the geothermal plant at the Peppermill.
Steyer began his day at Mari Chuys Mexican Kitchen on Virginia Street before heading to Mundo Latino on Wells and making his way through Midtown and the Wells Avenue district where he met with local business owners. The candidate said his focus on small business was about supporting communities around the U.S.
“I think that the supporting startups supporting entrepreneurs, providing capital and government support really is supporting communities around the United States of America. Look, we started a community bank, a non-profit community bank in California, on the idea of economic justice, environmental sustainability, and supporting businesses owned by women and people of color. Because what’s important here is actually getting capital to people who don’t have access to capital so they can be entrepreneurs, so they can create, so they can own and control things.”
We’re going to solve this climate crisis in a way that makes us healthier, richer, with cheaper energy.
Smiling with Hope Pizza in southwest Reno was another entry on Steyer’s itinerary. Owner Walter Goshinski said he’d been following Steyer’s campaign and believes in what the candidate says, so when the campaign called to arrange a visit he said he was honored. Steyer, in turn, commended Walter for creating a business that employs and empowers individuals with special needs and disabilities as a sizable portion of its staff.
After sharing his thoughts on campaign and election issues like President Donald Trump, small business, economic incentives, tax policy, campaign finance reform, and healthcare, Steyer fielded questions from the press. When asked by This Is Reno why he should earn Nevadans’ votes, he bluntly answered:
“Mr. Trump is incompetent, and he’s cruel, and he very well represents the Republican Party. I can beat them and we can get a government that represents the people again, and life is going to be a lot better.
“We’re going to break this corporate stranglehold and serve the people. And we’re going to solve this climate crisis in a way that makes us healthier, richer, with cheaper energy. We do those two things [and] your life is going to be materially almost unimaginably better.”
Some attendees appreciated Steyer’s assessment of the President. Max Williams said he has been a lifelong Republican who has never voted for a Democrat and has one objective: to get Trump out of office. “He’s a despicable, terrible president. Whoever the Democratic candidate is, I will vote for him.”
Others said they liked Steyer’s stance on several issues, but wanted to hear more concrete details on how he’d implement his ideas and compete against other Democrats in the field.
“A lot of his message has been about wanting to defeat Trump and get rid of him. And I think everyone can agree that Trump needs to be gone,” said Mark Robertson.
“But I think his message needs to shift more toward what he’s going to do for us as far as how he’s going to bring us all together and get rid of all the divisiveness that’s been brought up in this country since the last three years…But I am pleased that he’s willing to address a lot of these issues that are coming up in our country as far as energy and global climate change.”
Steyer continued his attacks on Trump in Sparks where he opened his fourth campaign office in Nevada and spoke to a room overflowing with people. A crowd of about 300 turned out for the opening.
“We’re gonna have to beat him, and we know what he’s running on because he keeps telling us. He is not a subtle man; you may not have noticed that,” Steyer said amid a round of chuckles.
“He said to a group of American citizens in Florida last month, ‘You don’t like me, and I don’t like you. But you’re gonna vote for me because if the Democrats win, they’re going to destroy the economy in 15 minutes.’ That’s his platform.
“You guys listen to him every single day, his platform is ‘I’ve done a great job with the economy, you may hate me, but you got to vote for me.’ And I would actually take it a little further. What he’s really saying to us, honestly, is, ‘I am a criminal, and you all know it. I despise 80 percent of you, and you despise me. I know that you would never let me in the front door of your house.’ And you’re probably right.”
Steyer concluded his northern Nevada trip with a tour of the Peppermill Hotel and Casino’s geothermal plant. According to Peppermill facilities staff, the operation heats 100 percent of the resort’s domestic water and mechanical heat through the 24/7 operation. This has reduced the Peppermill’s carbon footprint by 12,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year and saves the property $2.2 million in natural gas bills annually.
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.