“Do you want to know who you are?
Don’t ask. Act!
Action will delineate and define you.”
To my Republican colleagues who yesterday voted “no” on the Floor of the Assembly when it came time to fund Governor Sandoval’s education budget, I respect your choice. You each say you voted out of conscience and a concern for Nevada taxpayers. You acted and gave your reasons for your vote. Fair enough. History, as Jefferson suggested, will approve or disapprove in good time.
The same can be said of the vote in favor of the education reform and revenue package that a super-majority of myself and 48 others of the 63 Nevada lawmakers made last evening. We acted and delineated ourselves. History — and the voters — will decide, as the writer of the Declaration of Independence penned, whether the reasons for our actions were well-founded.
The State of Nevada, from its earliest beginnings, has been a gamble.
It started with the gold-seekers headed West to California. They stopped just short (in Virginia City) seeking a different sort of “beloved promise land” (to quote Robert Laxalt) — the Silver-rich Comstock — instead. Abraham Lincoln then bet on Nevada in the hopes that the preservation of the Union would be aided by Nevada’s vote (and wealth). Gaming pioneers soon took a marker on a desolate Las Vegas desert in the hope that it would one day turn into an oasis of prosperity.
Today, the world drinks in the pleasures of the Strip and the nations’s Biggest Little City. Many here are materially wealthy because of the faithful pilgrimages first made to those glittery gulches in our oldest great basins.
Presidents, pioneers, and entrepreneurs have all wagered on the hope that Nevada would be a crucible for success. One hundred and fifty years following the founding of the Silver State, Nevada finds itself again at a crossroads. This time, we’re not on a wagon cart or a sagebrush-trimmed dusty highway like our own U.S. Route 50 (America’s “loneliest road”) but instead are on a 21st Century pathway to either greater prosperity or economic mediocrity.
Those who supported the Governor’s plan chose to make an investment so they were not so much wagering on a great future as trying to ensure it. Tesla, Switch, Apple, and now the drone industry have all — with help from our economic development teams — found their way to Nevada. There is a reason. They are betting on the “come line” that (if well-planned and executed), we can help make them prosperous. In the process, we will do the same for ourselves.
Last night I rose in glad support of the plan to fully fund the education reforms and state budget that Brian Sandoval proposed and that myself and others spent many long days and nights reviewing in the Ways and Means “money committee.”
Like the choice made by the 13 Republican Assembly members who took a stand against the majority last night, it is a risk. It is a bit of gamble. It is about a future hoped for but not yet achieved. Faith is needed (along with some accountability thrown in for good measure).
Something was “hoped for” and “unseen,” too, in Nevada’s inception and in its youth. It has been a great challenge to grow and advance during our adolescent years and up until our 150th Birthday Celebration last October.
I’m willing to bet that the investment made and risk taken by the majority of Nevada’s lawmakers last night will be worth it. It is high time we reach our maturity.
Thomas Jefferson encouraged definition through action. I’m proud to stand behind my actions and those of my like-minded legislative colleagues as we look back on the last 120 days of the 78th Session of the Nevada Legislature.