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Old Wound Remains Open

“Joe Heck used some questionable tactics to win the Republican primary against state Sen. Ann O’Connell in 2004,” writes James Dan, a longtime Nevada News & Views reader and former state assembly candidate. “O’Connell partisans like me still remember that and will never vote for gubernatorial candidate and former state Sen. Joe Heck for anything. How many others are there like me who will be voting in the 2010 Republican primary?”

Sen. O’Connell was, indeed, a well-known, highly respected conservative, something the GOP has a rather short supply of these days. And many believe Sen. Heck’s failure to make peace with O’Connell’s dedicated conservative followers after that bitter 2004 campaign – in which the Heck campaign claimed falsely that O’Connell was a liberal – accounted for his loss in his re-election bid in 2008.

If that ’04 campaign isn’t enough to make conservatives suspicious of Dr. Heck’s gubernatorial ambitions, his refusal to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and absence of any major conservative legislative proposals during his two sessions in office only add to the healthy dose of skepticism of his candidacy on the right.

In a “Media Advisory” announcing his participation in a July 3 Tea Party in Las Vegas last week, the Heck for Governor campaign announced that “Dr. Heck will bring his message of, ‘A New Direction for Nevada,’ to Nevadans in search of smaller government, lower taxes, improved education for our students, and increased access to quality healthcare.”

No offense, but making speeches at Tea Party rallies isn’t enough. Talk is cheap. Where’s the beef? For example, here are Ten Questions for Dr. Heck – the written answers to which would be of great interest to conservative GOP primary voters such as Mr. Dan:

1.) Most of the 2009 tax hikes are set to “sunset” in 2011….and some legislators will try to make them permanent. Would a Gov. Heck veto any and all efforts to keep those taxes in place?

2.) Some legislators – especially Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford – will be back once again in 2011 trying to pass a corporate income tax. Would a Gov. Heck oppose and veto any and all efforts to impose a corporate income tax on Nevada’s job-creating small business community?

3.) Some legislators will attempt to expand the sales tax to various services, such as dry cleaning, auto repair and haircuts. Would a Gov. Heck oppose and veto any and all efforts to expand the sales tax to services?

4.) Once the present economic recession turns around – and it will – pressure will mount to gin up again the government services and programs which have been scaled back over the last year or so. Would a Gov. Heck promise to introduce a general fund budget which doesn’t grow in excess of the combined rate of population growth plus inflation over the previous budget? Would a Gov. Heck veto any such bill busting such a cap if passed by the Legislature?

5.) If a Gov. Heck would oppose making this year’s tax hikes permanent – and considering the fact that the federal stimulus money used to balance this year’s books isn’t likely to be available again in 2011 – what government programs or services would he cut/trim in order to balance the budget without any additional tax hikes?

6.) Would a Gov. Heck veto any bill extending collective bargaining “rights” to state employees?

7.) Would a Gov. Heck actively work to repeal the state’s welfare program for organized labor (the prevailing wage law), as well as oppose Project Labor Agreements and “card check” legislation?

8.) Would a Gov. Heck propose, support and actively campaign and lobby for a universal school voucher program?

9.) Would a Gov. Heck actively and enthusiastically support a proposal to allow Nevadans to buy health insurance policies from companies in other states which might offer lower premiums due to fewer state mandates?

10.) Would a Gov. Heck support and actively campaign and lobby for a requirement that all future tax increases which appear on the ballot must receive the same 2/3 super-majority vote for approval currently required for tax hikes approved by the Legislature?

For that matter, we’d love to get answers to these questions from Mike Montandon and Jim Gibbons, as well (we’re pretty sure we already know the answers for Rory Reid and Barbara Buckley).