By Stephen Tool
Mineral County Independent-News
Steven Horsford, Democrat, U.S. Representative for Nevada’s 4th District, just filed for re-election. Horsford was first elected in 2012 to represent what was then the newly formed 4th District.
Horsford’s previous history includes leading the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, election to the Nevada State Senate in 2004, and later becoming the state’s first African American Majority Leader.
Horsford spoke to the Independent-News from Las Vegas. Later in the day he was flying back to Washington to vote on important referendums from the Ukraine to unemployment extension. Horsford said he was concerned that 26,000 Nevadans were losing unemployment benefits.
“This is $300 to $400 per week that people use to pay their rent or mortgage and put food on the table and keep looking for work,” he said. “It’s unconscionable that Congress has failed to extend these unemployment insurance benefits.”
Horsford recognizes that Washington is full of partisanship and gridlock and he’s trying to work through it. “With the ideological bickering, the issues we should be able to get done: Job creation, growing the economy, doesn’t get done. And that’s why I agree with most Americans that it’s frustrating and we need a more productive congress.”
Horsford said he tries to focus on serving the needs of 4th District Nevadans. He points to the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, which provides Mineral County with nearly $650,000, as a case in point. He’s trying to make the PILT program a permanent source of funds for the county.
Transferring federally managed lands to local communities is also high on Horsford’s list.
“I’ve sponsored five public lands bills and gotten movement out of committee on several, including the Yerington Land Exchange which should provide about 1000 jobs for that area,” he said. “That bill just moved out of the Natural Resources Committee.”
Horsford is a sponsor of HR 15, which is an immigration reform bill. “I believe Congress should act to reform our broken immigration system. To do nothing leaves us with 11 million people living in the shadows who are not contributing fully to our needs as a country.”
Enhanced border security is a major part of the bill, including the Canadian border and the nation’s ports. Horsford said only about 5 percent of U.S. ports are secure.
Horsford disputes the accusations that he’s a typical tax and spend liberal made by the two Republican candidates for his congressional seat.
“I have worked hard to cut our federal spending,” he said. “I voted against my party and for the Republican budget in February of 2013 to ensure that we did not go into a government shutdown.
“I reject their notion I support more spending, because my voting record indicates otherwise.”
In response to Republican allegations that his party created the current economic doldrums, Horsford said, “We have to have people in Congress who are not using negative extremist attacks and Washington D.C. talking points to run an election. This is about solutions for Nevada.”
As to leaving a congressional legacy, Horsford says, “My legacy will be one focused on job creation and economic development for Nevada and Nevadans. Over 700,000 people hire me to do a job every two years, and I’m their employee. I take my job seriously, I listen and focus on the priorities they send me to deliver on their behalf.”