The Nevada Legislature’s GOP Surrender Caucus

Reno Gazette Journal June 13, 2021

This is an open letter to the Nevada Legislature’s GOP Surrender Caucus (which consists of Jill Tolles, Tom Roberts, Heidi Gansert, Ben Kieckhefer, Scott Hammond and Keith Pickard):

Dear friends,

I consider some of you in this open letter as my friends. While I continue to consider you friends, I recognize that you may not feel the same way after reading this column. If so, that is unfortunate, but that will be your choice. We have a policy disagreement and I intend to lay it all out.

While this letter was precipitated by your decision to raise mining taxes in the 2021 legislative session, the problem I intend to address in this column is much broader and has to do with your incompetence and betrayal. Increasing taxes takes a two-thirds majority, and consequently, the only leverage we Republicans have as a super minority. While I am in favor of a reasonable compromise, giving up the only lever you have and getting nothing in return is not a compromise, it is surrender. If you had received concessions in return (e.g., election reform, a truly neutral redistricting commission, etc.), I could have understood your decision and may have even reluctantly supported it. Instead, you received nothing in return.

This is not the first time that some of you have been involved in such incompetence. Ben, this is directed straight at you. You voted for a $1.5 billion tax increase in 2015. Remind me again, what do you have to show for your increased funding to schools? Our children are coming out of these left-wing indoctrination institutions learning about liberal idiocies like Critical Race Theory and thinking Socialism is great. School boards send out dumb emails about events in Washington, D.C., while ignoring the riots downtown. You barely won re-election in a heavily Republican district as there were no decent opponents running against you. We all know you have aspirations for higher office, now you can kiss that goodbye (Same for your surrender caucus colleagues Heidi and Jill).

Nevadans delivered a massive sweep to the Republicans in the 2014 election cycle. Republicans won all three partisan levers of power: Assembly, Senate and Governorship. Nevadans were hit with a $1.5 billion tax increase with again, nothing to show for it. Grassroots Republicans fought hard, invested in campaigns, knocked on doors in the 2020 election cycle to place you in a super minority in the 2020 election cycle just so you could stop frivolous tax increases. What did we get? Tax increases. Why should voters ever trust your brand of Republicanism? Next time you complain about having to waste money to fend off primary challenges, you may want to look back at this surrender. Next time you wonder how Conservatives could vote for Trump, you may want to look at yourself in the mirror. Trump’s tweets may be crazy, but he doesn’t betray us Republicans like you do (I haven’t forgotten that some of you are never-Trumpers; you know who you are). Next time you wonder how the Conservative people of Pahrump could vote for the pimp Dennis Hof, you may again want to look at yourself in the mirror. Sadly, Conservatives will take a pimp any day over deceptive and incompetent tax hikers like you.

One final point: I have written nearly a hundred columns for this publication, not once have publicly voiced my displeasure at a Republican. Despite my many frustrations with fellow Republicans (e.g. former President Trump’s tweets, Senator Romney’s bizarre behavior), I have bitten my tongue and dealt with my disagreements in private. I did that for the sake of party unity. But sometimes, unity comes from directly taking on the forces that cause disunity. This is one of those instances where you have committed an egregious blunder thinking that we will stay silent and let you get away with it. You have made a massive miscalculation. We are now determined to write your political obituary and inscribe your names next to the likes of former legislators Pat Hickey, Randy Kirner, James Oscarson, Mike Roberson and Dean Heller, all of whom either retired or were rejected resoundingly by Nevada voters after supporting policies like the one you have just supported. I will not vote for any of you for any office, for you have proven to be unfit for public office as a Republican. You have lost my trust and that of most grassroots Republicans. If you have any sense of integrity, you should resign and do so immediately.