Happy Birthday, Nevada!

Reno Gazette Journal November 3, 2019


Thursday, October 31 marks Nevada’s 155th birthday. On that day in 1864, Nevada became the 36th state of the Union.

This state was formed in an expeditious fashion for the specific purpose of re-electing President Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the civil war… and a bunch of silver. In July of 1864 a convention wrote Nevada’s Constitution, which was approved by the people in September. For statehood to be official, Congress had to approve it. Congress, however, needed to have Nevada’s Constitution in hand before they could approve statehood. Paper copies were sent by train but hadn’t arrived in Washington by late-October and election Day was November 8, 1864. To avoid missing the deadline, then-Governor Nye telegraphed the entire Constitution. It took two days, October 26-27, to send the document. At that time, it was the longest and most expensive telegraph transmission, costing $4303.27 (nearly $70,000 in today’s dollars).

As it turned out, President Lincoln did not need Nevada for his re-election. Today, as in 1964, we are one of the handful of swing states, critical to an electoral college majority, and it is just a matter of time before a close election puts Nevada as the state that decides a presidential election by a razor-thin margin. Nevada’s status as first-in-the-west primary state, right behind Iowa and New Hampshire, puts us in a prime position to establish a front-runner or to prop up an underdog. All major candidates visit Nevada and any Nevadan who wants to meet a presidential candidate can meet his or her favorite. Last cycle, Republicans had the opportunity to meet their candidates. This cycle, if you are a Democrat, this is your opportunity to meet your candidates and I would encourage you to do so.

God has blessed Nevada with great natural resources and remarkable individual ingenuity. We are the fourth largest producer of gold behind China, Australia and South Africa. We supply nearly three-quarters of all gold mined in the U.S. We are second only to Alaska in silver production and second to California in Geothermal power generation. Hard hats for construction workers were invented in Nevada for use by workers on Hoover Dam. Next time you wear blue jeans, you may want to remember that they were invented right here in Reno.

Nevada is also home to Creech Air Force Base (AFB). Predator and Reaper drones were developed here in Nevada. Today, most of the drones are operated remotely out of Creech. Allied drone pilots are trained at Creech. The United Kingdom has stationed its drone pilots permanently at Creech. Next time you read about a terrorist eliminated by a hellfire missile in some location like Afghanistan, Somalia or Libya, there is a good chance that drone was operated from, and that missile was fired by, a pilot located in our beloved state.

One final point: While this column is primarily about Nevada, it can easily be extrapolated to America as well. We have inherited a great state and a great country. Sure, we don’t have a long history like some of the European countries, but we have accomplished a lot in a short period of time. America and Nevada are truly unique in many ways and we have a lot to be proud. Our schools should place a strong emphasis on teaching our children about our history. Instead of corporations holding mandatory classes to teach Americans about being sensitive to the cultures of immigrants, they should teach immigrants about the greatness of this state and this county and remind them why they came here in the first place.