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Who is Mark Amodei?

September 14, 2009

I’ve been waiting for two years to have my first crack at voting against Harry Reid.  Another entry into the Republican primary is, for me, another unknown candidate.  Long-time Nevadans will recognize, and have an opinion about, Amodei, but I’ll need to do some digging. 

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Senate hopeful rocks GOP boat

Amodei faces tough primary to confront Reid

via POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Senate hopeful rocks GOP boat – News – ReviewJournal.com.

Mostly this blurb from the RJ lays out state Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, as possibly dead in the water for voting in favor of some tax increases.  Voting to increase taxes, especially in this political climate, is bad news.  Heck, that’s one of our driving complaints against Senator Reid.  Is Amodei a RINO?

I scanned the archives of the LV Sun to get a snapshot of Amodei’s legislative activities over the years:

In 2009 one of Gov. Gibbons’ many vetoes included an increase in government spending approved by Amodei.  Proponents of AB395 included Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, whose district includes many state employees. Amodei said after watching this year’s budget cuts develop, he saw AB395 as a fairness issue. He complained repeatedly that state workers were treated worse than teachers and others during this year’s budget process.  I liked Gibbons’ vetoes.  Amodei pushed for spending increases, which doesn’t sit well with a limited government Republican. 

A tip for the social conservatives, from May of this year: The Senate has overridden the veto of Gov. Jim Gibbons on the controversial bill to provide certain legal rights to domestic partners. . . . Voting to uphold the governor’s veto were Republican Mark Amodei of Carson City.   Using this vote, I would infer that Amodei supports traditional marriage, although that is only supposition.

A tip for the libertarians, from Feb., 2009:  By a 12-9 vote, the Senate has approved a toughened seat belt law allowing police to stop a motorist for failing to buckle up. . . . Others who voted no this time were Sens. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City.  I thought this bill a wrong-headed, invasive idea, and Amodei apparently agreed.

For the conspiracy theorists, see Amodei’s resignation letter, effective Jan. ’09, from the Presidency of the Nevada Mining Association.  He appears to have held the position for 14 months while simultaneously serving in the state legislature.  Whatever his intentions, and I’m willing to give Amodei the benefit of the doubt, to hold a key position in an Association with extensive lobbying concerns while sitting in an elected office dictating policy on those same concerns looks bad.  I’m surprised he didn’t resign sooner.

A timely uh-oh from 2003:  The Senate Tuesday approved bills and amendments that would give doctors added protection in medical malpractice suits and in proposed insurance rate increases. . . . Despite opposition from Democrats, Republicans pushed through Senate Bill 97, which imposes a firm $350,000 cap on damages for pain and suffering in a malpractice suit. . . . It also imposes a limit on fees winning attorneys can collect in malpractice judgments. . . . Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, was on the losing side with Democrats.  In this political climate, do Republicans really want to run a man who voted against medical reform?  The 2003 bills represent key Republican positions currently being shopped at the national level.

As for the Care-Amodei bill of 2003, which the RJ references in the lead story, there may be an argument that the bill wasn’t that bad.  There was a budget deficit, which is unconstitutional.  Many legislators, including Republicans, had admitted a need to increase taxes.   However, there were some Republicans in the legislature proposing a focus on further budget cuts rather than taxes.  Amodei was not one of them.  I don’t know if this bill is Amodei’s death knell.  I would prefer he hadn’t authored it, though.

After taking the time to poke into the past I would say that Amodei shows a mixed voting record.  At least he has a record, as opposed to Danny Tarkanian.  I can cut Amodei some slack for having a 12 year legislative career.  The vote against medical reform in 2003, though, is toxic.  Based solely on that vote, Amodei is a no for me.

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