Cover Image by Ty O’Neil
U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus, from Nevada’s southern First Congressional District, came to northern Nevada last week to campaign for Joe Biden for president. “The eyes of the nation are on Nevada!” she told audiences at two events, one at an artist’s loft in downtown Reno and the other at We Olive & Wine Bar in south Reno.
Titus encouraged support for former Vice President Joe Biden, answered questions from curious supporters and chatted with undecided activists.
Artist Martina Young, who hosted Titus in her loft, said that opening her home for such an event was carrying on the traditions of her politically active parents.
“We grew up in house parties, folks coming to the house. Paul Robeson coming the house. So, this is part of tradition, this is what I can do with a space that I have a shelter. The kind of beautiful place to share with this community for a noble person, getting purpose, getting Biden voted in for our president,” Young said.
Reno Realtor Clay Alder, who attended the event at We Olive the following day, wasn’t as committed to Biden as was Young and was looking to hear more from Titus.
“I came here to listen to what Congresswoman Dina Titus had to say. I am personally interested in ALL the candidates running for president right now. On the Democratic ticket I like to be informed on all of them,” Alder said. “I like Joe Biden quite a bit. I sat down talked to him in 2007 in his [last] run for presidency. He’s a nice gentleman I think he’s got good grip on things.”
Don’t just look at what people tell you, or promise you. Look at what they’ve actually accomplished.”
In interviews with Congresswoman Titus after each event she talked with ThisisReno about the campaign and multiple issues in relation to Nevada.
This is Reno: What Brings you to Reno?
Congresswoman Titus: I’m on the road for Joe Biden. I am riding with Biden! I always like coming up north and seeing friends and so I’m up here for him. At this point I’ve been in Iowa, I’ve been in New Hampshire, certainly done some things in Las Vegas. So now I’m here in Reno and we’ll be going to Carson City and Douglas County.
TIR: What are people saying to you on the road?
Titus: Well they were very friendly, and they are mostly saying we have got to get Donald Trump out of the White House. Right? We can stand four years, and make amends. But eight years will just make this country something nobody recognizes. Joe Biden is the strongest candidate, I believe, to beat him because he’s got the depth of knowledge, the breadth of experience, and the kind of compassion to make it happen.
TIR: Why did you endorse for Joe Biden and early on?
Titus: Yes, I did. I taught at UNLV. Taught political science for 35 years. I came to Nevada in ’77. I love this state. I was actually here for my first Christmas when daddy was stationed at Nellis. I served in the legislature for 20 years; I’ve been in Congress for 10. I feel like I know the state.
I believe Joe Biden will represent the state because he can put together a broad coalition of voters. That’s what we have in Nevada. We are much more like the face of America than either New Hampshire or Iowa. We’ve got ethnic diversity, racial diversity, age, seniors who have retired here, as well as college students, a lot of military families, strong labor unions. So this is where Joe Biden has his greatest appeal and nobody else, no other candidate, has that kind of appeal.
Also, I just think that we need to get some sanity back in the White House. If you look at my voting record, I’m as progressive as anybody. But I believe that being progressive means making progress. He (Joe Biden) has proven that he can get things done, whether it’s the stimulus bill, or violence against women, or healthcare. Don’t just look at what people tell you, or promise you. Look at what they’ve actually accomplished.
TIR: On the Iowa Caucus and the upcoming Nevada Caucus?
Titus: Well, Iowa was just a disaster. They had a new app that didn’t work very well and then the Republicans got ahold of the call-in number and jammed the line so they couldn’t report the findings. It just was a mess and that makes the results not seen as legitimate. That’s why Nevada’s got to do a good job; all eyes are on us! This is a critical time.
We’re first in the West, we’ve got to learn from Iowa’s mistakes, we’re not using that same app, we may be using paper ballots, and so I would encourage people to vote early. You’ll have the opportunity at a number of sites for four days. Vote early and then [you] don’t have to worry about going or standing in line or spending three hours on a Saturday. But you’re right, it’s very important for people to participate because the nominee is the one who will be on the ballot in November. So, if you want Joe Biden, you’ve got to vote for him now. Don’t wait ‘til November and go and vote early!
Congresswoman Titus has extensive knowledge of Nevada’s nuclear testing history, and policies related to nuclear power, weaponry and waste. She spoke about Yucca Mountain.
Titus: Well, we’ve been fighting this battle against Yucca Mountain especially since 1988, when they put the amendments known as “The Screw Nevada” amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which narrowed down the possible sites just to Nevada. We thought that was bad politics, not good science, and we’ve been fighting that ever since and have been successful.
A year or so ago, the President was in Elko and said “Yeah, I hear you in Nevada, I get what you’re saying.” Which led us to believe that he wouldn’t be opposed to it. But since then he’s kept putting it in his budget every single time. His folks that support him and that he supports have been for it.
Now, of course Joe Biden is opposed to [Yucca Mountain] and he was by Obama’s side when they did not fund it. The President realizes he needs Nevada. He better come out and say he’ll oppose it. I don’t trust him. He backed off on what he did in Elko. I don’t see any reason why he won’t back off of this. I think he’s just trying to court Nevadans by taking that position and, you know, that’d be great if it were true. But nothing else he says is true.
TIR: So, do we have cause to be concerned?
Titus: We should always have to keep our guard up against that. We need to look at the budget, see if there’s any funding in the budget. He says he’s gonna look for alternatives. The only real alternative is like the bill I’ve introduced in many sessions of Congress, [and] Harry Reid before me. Consent-based decision making. Bring people to the table to make the decision; that’s how all the European countries do it. And that’s how several different Blue Ribbon Commissions have advised doing it.