Kihuen Statement on Hardy Immigration Workshop

Ruben J. KihuenFor Immediate Release
January 25th, 2016
Contact: Dave Chase, (702) 350-2744

Las Vegas, NV — Today Congressman Cresent Hardy held a 2 hour U.S. Citizenship Workshop. As of 11 AM, exactly 1 person, a Hardy staffer, had RSVP’d to Hardy’s Facebook invite for the event.

State Senator Ruben Kihuen, candidate for U.S. Congress in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, released the following statement on the workshop:
“Congressman Hardy hosted a workshop this morning he says was to explain, ‘how to become a citizen and how to avoid scams against immigrants.’ The irony is clearly not apparent to the Congressman. It’s outrageous and disingenuous to hold immigration workshops while opposing any effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Congressman Hardy is the real scam against immigrants.”

Hardy’s previous statements on immigrants:

Hardy: Immigrants Are Taking Jobs That People Could Utilize. In September 2014, Cresent Hardy said on Blog Talk Radio, “We’re having a lot of the same issues but it is the illegal population that is out there taking all these jobs that people could utilize.” [BlogTalkRadio, Hardy Interview, 9/15/14]

Hardy: We Need Immigrants Who Are Not “Drains On Society.” During his headquarters opening in August 2014, Cresent Hardy said, “I’ll just give you one issue that happens up in Yerington, Nevada. They have to bring almost 3,000 immigrants here because nobody wants to do that kind of menial work in our society anymore; which, I come from that I’d still go back to do that today, I don’t care if I have to. But, nobody wants to do it, so we have to bring immigrants here just to harvest things in. But the process takes longer to go, from year-to-year, to get them back here. They only stay for three months then they’re gone. These are the type of people we want. They come, they do their job and they leave.  They want to go back they don’t want to be citizens. They don’t want to be any type of drain on society; they just want to be able to take care of their families.” [Headquarters Opening, 8/28/14; Washoe Dems, 8/28/14; NV State Democratic Party, accessed 3/30/15]

State Senator Ruben Kihuen is running as a Democrat in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. Ruben has a proven record of real results for working families. Born in Mexico, Ruben and his family immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. He worked his way through college and after graduation was inspired to “pay it forward” by working with other students at College of Southern Nevada. In the legislature, Ruben helped craft landmark bi-partisan bills increasing funding for our schools and making college more affordable, and he beat back a reckless Republican agenda attempting to dismantle worker’s rights, restrict women’s health care and repeal LGBTQ protections. Ruben is running for Congress to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream.

To Learn more about Ruben Kihuen and his campaign for Congress, visit www.rubenforcongress.com or follow Ruben on Facebook or .

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Posted in 2016, Announcements, Candidates, Election

114-2 Vote#4 Cloture on HR4038

114-2 Vote#4 Cloture on HR4038

Failed Cloture on Jan 20, 2016
This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture on January 20, 2016. Cloture is required to move past a Senate filibuster or the threat of a filibuster and takes a 3/5ths vote. In practice, most bills must pass cloture to move forward in the Senate.

Senator Dean Heller  (R-NV): Aye
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV): Nay
About this bill

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Posted in Congressional Activity, Immigration, Senate

Lucy Flores Endorses Bernie Sanders

Lucy Flores

I was a junior in college when the reality of today’s economic and social injustice hit me squarely in the gut with soul crushing force. After managing through my own set of difficult circumstances – escaping the cycle of poverty and dysfunction that included abandonment by my mother, gang-involvement, a stint on juvenile parole, a teenage abortion and becoming a high school drop-out – I was working several jobs to get myself through school at the University of Southern California.

One of those jobs was assessing kids involved in a long-term study on the impact of early learning on brain development. As a research assistant I would go to the kids’ homes and periodically assess their progress. Many of our participants lived in neighboring South Central Los Angeles where poverty, violence and drugs were rampant, but given my own experience growing up in similar conditions, that type of environment didn’t shock my senses very much.

I arrived at my assigned child’s house one day and began my normal routine of introducing myself to the parent and figuring out where in the home was best to do the assessment. I was used to working just about anywhere given that most homes I went to were tiny and cramped and generally didn’t have a lot of room to work with, but on this occasion I noticed right off the bat that this was going to be different.

As soon as I walked into the tiny one-bedroom, single-story apartment, I looked around and saw things everywhere – dirty clothes, dishes, shoes, plastic and paper bags, and what seemed like countless other things – on just about every surface imaginable. There literally was not a single space to clear off or rearrange and the house smelled like it hadn’t been exposed to fresh air in weeks, so I decided to work with the child on the apartment stoop.

The child was about 5 years old – a young black boy who even despite his living conditions had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. I made my way through my standard questions – “How often do you read?” “Sometimes, when I’m in school.” “How often does your mom read with you?” “Never.” “Do you enjoy reading?” “Yes.” “How much? On a scale of sad face to happy face, point to the face that shows how much you enjoy reading.” He pointed to happy face. So on and so forth. When we got to the end, I told him he did great and began to put away my things. As I was packing, he abruptly pointed to something and said, “Can I have that?” I didn’t have anything special so I looked at him confused and asked, “Have what?” “That.” He said, still pointing. I looked down again and saw that my happy face assessment sheet was at the top of my stack of papers. I immediately realized he wanted to keep my sheet – my black and white, photo-copied a thousand times over, sheet that had sad to happy faces on it. Then I realized how anxious he seemed that I might say no, so I asked, “Do you have any books at all in there?” “No.” “Do you have anything to read at all? A magazine or something?” “No.” “Do you have toys? Or anything to play with?” “No.” “Do you have anything at all? Like crayons or pens or something?” “No.”

And then it struck me: this bright kid, this happy, starry-eyed kid, this kid with all the potential in the world, had nothing. He had a filthy, dirty apartment with no active parenting, no role models around, and I was about to make his week just by giving him my happy face sheet. So I said, “Well of course you can have my sheet!” Then I started to furiously dig around my bag to see what else I could find. I found some neon highlighters he could color with, a few extra happy face sheets, and some red and blue pens.

I gave it all to him. Then I said, “Ok, I have to go now. Have fun coloring your sheets. And remember to read at school every chance you get!” He happily nodded as he walked back into his filthy apartment. I walked to the sidewalk, sat on the curb, and sobbed uncontrollably. I sobbed with despair I hadn’t felt, well, ever. I knew as soon as I walked away what was likely in store for that kid – I knew the odds were against him, just like they were against me. I knew that statistically-speaking, he was likelier to end up in prison or dead than end up attending college. I knew that I had just witnessed the human tragedy that is wasted potential.

And I knew I was powerless to do anything about it. Until I realized that I wasn’t.

Until I realized that change is achieved one person at a time, one day at a time, and one vote at a time.

I think about this boy all the time. I wonder if he beat the odds. I wonder where he is. I wonder if he’s still alive. He still makes my heart hurt. I thought about him when I first heard Bernie Sanders speak.

Choosing which candidate to support for president was one of the most difficult tasks I have done in the recent past. I’ve always been strong in my resolve, firmly planted in my roots and guided by my sense of justice. I have never made a political decision based on what was the “smart” or “safe” thing to do (just ask any of my often times dismayed political advisors) and I have always done what I believed aligned with my values and my ideals. But this decision was difficult because both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both accomplished and worthy candidates, and both are light years ahead of any of the Republican choices. And as the first Latina elected to the Nevada legislature in the history of the state, and as a young woman who has struggled mightily in this male-dominated world of politics, Hillary inspires a lot of pride.

But only one of these candidates makes me think of that young boy in South Central Los Angeles– and that’s Bernie Sanders. We used to live in a country where the “American Dream” was attainable for most. We used to live in a country where you could make it if you tried, where upward mobility was a tangible thing, and where education was the key to success.

But that’s not the America we live in anymore. Fewer and fewer Americans are able to break the cycle of poverty, wages are stagnant or declining for most except for the top 1%, and our political system is dominated by millionaires and billionaires. Secure retirements and pensions are becoming a thing of the past, and that key to success via education is instead becoming a weight of massive debt hanging around the necks of young people everywhere, myself included. How did we end up in a country where you can break the cycle of poverty only to end up in a cycle of debt?

I believe that Bernie Sanders wakes up every day with these things on his mind. That the unfairness of it all weighs on his heart, just like it does mine, and that when he is elected, he will do whatever it takes to make America the land of opportunity again. I believe that Bernie Sanders will lead the charge, with many millions of Americans behind him, against the unfettered Wall Street greed that has threatened the very existence of the middle class and shackled so many more to permanent poverty. I believe that now, more than ever, America needs a political revolution.


Lucy Flores is a candidate for US House of Representatives from NV-CD4

 

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Posted in 2016, Announcements, Election

Let’s Put Prison Sentences on Probation

Judges share the blame for America’s burgeoning incarcerated population.

— by

john-kiriakouYou may have heard there’s a growing political movement against mass incarceration. Someone should clue in the judges.

In the past 30 years, federal judges have turned to imprisonment — as opposed to probation — as the punishment of choice for even minor crimes, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. During that same period, federal cases have tripled in number.

The Pew study reports that “nine in 10 federal offenders received prison sentences in 2014, up from less than half in 1980, as the use of probation steadily declined.” Despite the ballooning number of cases in that time, 2014 saw 2,300 fewer probation sentences than 1980.

Part of the fault lies with the draconian mandatory minimum sentences that Congress passed in the 1980s and 1990s as it ratcheted up the so-called war on drugs. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a group at Harvard Law School in mid-January that these laws have had a “devastating effect on poor communities, and were a drastic and ineffective response to the drug scourge of the 1980s.”

Guantanamo-prisoner-detainee-hands-tied-torture-gitmo

Val Kerry / Flickr

That may be true, but it’s not the whole story.

Drug cases account for about 47 percent of all federal crimes, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP. What about the other 53 percent? Should all of those people really be in prison? I think not.

First, there are many kinds of federal prisons.

The worst and most violent prisoners — murderers and terrorists, for example — are in maximum-security penitentiaries, which hold about 12 percent of the BOP’s prisoners. While we can certainly have a discussion about the use of solitary confinement in these facilities — critics like the United Nations call it torture — few would dispute that these dangerous offenders should be held securely.

Medium-security prisons, which still have high walls and guard towers, hold another 30 percent of federal prisoners. These are generally the bank robbers, serious drug offenders, people in on gun charges, and the like. If these prisoners are well behaved, and if they have fewer than 20 years to go on a sentence, they’re eligible to move to a low-security prison.

Low-security prisons hold another 38 percent of federal prisoners. Most people with mandatory minimum drug sentences are here, as are nearly all of the BOP’s pedophiles. Most prisoners at this level are on their best behavior because they hope to be transferred to a minimum-security work camp (though child abusers and violent offenders are ineligible).

But here’s a question: If a crime is so minor that a person can be sentenced to a work camp, which is outside the prison walls, then why are these people in prison at all?

Blaming mandatory minimums goes only so far. Not all crimes have them. In fact, most don’t.

So why would a judge willingly take a parent away from his family, or out of the workforce? Why disrupt a community when probation is a legitimate punishment that the judge has the authority to levy?

While on probation, the offender could continue to work and support his family, pay taxes and restitution, and still make amends with society. It makes more sense. It’s worked in the past.

If judges are serious about reducing prison populations, they’ll sentence more offenders to probation.


OtherWords columnist John Kiriakou is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the winner of the 2015 PEN Center USA First Amendment award. OtherWords.org.

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Posted in Judiciary, Judiciary

Obama Takes a Walk on the Greener Side

As Nevada short-circuits its solar boom, the White House gets more committed to renewable energy.

— by

Emily Schwartz GrecoUntil now, President Barack Obama has embraced gas and oil fracking, encouraged the construction of new nuclear reactors, and hailed government investment in wind and solar power. In keeping with this “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, he’d call for climate action one minute and sign off on measures destined to boost carbon pollution the next.

Suddenly, it looks like Obama may have ditched his inherently contradictory approach.

“We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy,” he asserted during his final State of the Union address. “I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

Barack-Obama-solar-panel-green-energy

Wikipedia

Just three days later, the Obama administration moved in that direction by declaring a three-year moratorium on new leases to mine coal from federal land.

Obama’s speech also cast switching to renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels in a business-friendly light.

“We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy —  something environmentalists and tea partiers have teamed up to support,” he said. There’s plenty going on at a larger scale too. Wind and solar energy are generating more than half of the new power that came online last year.

The Republican Party’s obsession with “job creators” should make it a fan of green energy. Nearly 210,000 Americans now work for the solar industry, and some 73,000 are employed in the wind business. Renewable power forged at least 79,000 new jobs between 2008 and 2012 as 50,000 coal jobs vanished.

But the fossil fuel industries and their political allies won’t surrender without a fight. As Obama put it: “There are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo.”

To see what he meant, check out what’s up in Nevada.

Right before Christmas, the state’s electric-sector regulators short-circuited policies that rewarded homeowners for investing in their own solar panels. Nevadans may end up paying for the privilege of generating their own electricity while simultaneously padding the profit margins of NV Energy, rather than getting compensated for it.

The Nevada Public Utility Commission, whose three members were all appointed by Republican governor Brian Sandoval, effectively killed demand for rooftop solar power and the jobs that diversifying industry would have created in Nevada—overnight. The new policies also punish consumers who previously bought or leased panels.

This about face prompted companies like SolarCity, Vivint, and Sunrun to shutter their operations in the state. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive is calling this move an act of “sabotage,” and two Las Vegas residents have already filed a class action lawsuit.

Along with rigging the rules, fossil fuel lobbyists are trying to extract new political favors. The coal industry, for example, wants new government handouts from West Virginia’s cash-strapped government. And, there are rumblings about a federal bailout for Big Oil.

This money ought to support and ramp up the green transition, not delay it. That’s what Obama meant when he asserted: “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future.”

And although polls have shown that government efforts to expand solar and wind power enjoy bipartisan support, GOP presidential contenders and many Republican leaders dismiss these increasingly competitive industries.

“Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?” asked Obama, raising an excellent question. “The jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve  —  that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.”

Indeed. Supposedly pro-business politicians who are out to kill the green energy boom make no sense. Neither does an all-of-the-above energy strategy.


Columnist Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, a non-profit national editorial service run by the Institute for Policy Studies. OtherWords.org.

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Posted in Climate, Coal / Mining, Energy, Environment/EPA, Governor, Govt-State, Solar
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