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The Big Winners in a Losing Cause (This Time)

As I noted yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun has declared movement conservatives a big “Loser” of the 2011 legislative session. And it’s right….to an extent. But in my book, conservatives who promised not to raise taxes so as to restrain….or better yet, shrink government…and who, you know, kept their word, are big winners.

As such, please take a minute to shoot an email of gratitude to the dozen Nevada state legislators who withstood enormous pressure from the governor’s office, the left and various special interests & lobbyists and who cast a “No!” vote on the tax-and-spending hike deal:

Assemblyman John Ellison jellison@asm.state.nv.us
Assemblyman Ed Goedhart egoedhart@asm.state.nv.us
Assemblyman John Hambrick jhambrick@asm.state.nv.us
Assemblyman Cresent Hardy chardy@asm.state.nv.us
Assemblyman Pete Livermore plivermore@asm.state.nv.us
Assemblyman Richard McArthur rmcarthur@asm.state.nv.us,

Sen. Greg Brower gbrower@sen.state.nv.us
Sen. Barbara Cegavske bcegavske@sen.state.nv.us
Sen. Don Gustavson dgustavson@sen.state.nv.us
Sen. Elizabeth Halseth ehalseth@sen.state.nv.us
Sen. Michael Roberson mroberson@sen.state.nv.us,
Sen. James Settelmeyer jsettelmeyer@sen.state.nv.us,

Seriously folks….it’s one thing to beat up on bad Republicans (nobody enjoys it more than yours truly!), but believe you me, it’s important to let those who stand up for us know how much we appreciate them. It gets awful lonely and confusing in Carson City. In addition, I think there’s something in the Legislature’s air ducts that saps the brains and backbones of Republicans.

But not those listed above. Let them hear from you.

Also, all those legislative alerts and calls-to-action you received this session on bills were primarily the work of our simply unbelievable lobbyist and unapologetic conservative activist: Janine Hansen.

Janine is a true unsung hero, working 25 hours a day and 8 days a week during the legislative session. She is a rock, and one of the classiest women you’ll ever want to meet. How she got hooked up with us, I’ll never know!

Anyway, if you appreciated being kept posted on bills and legislation during this session, please shoot Janine an email of gratitude. I know she’ll appreciate it….and we couldn’t have done it without her.

Janine Hansen: janine@janinehansen.com

Also a huge MUCHAS GRACIAS to Citizen Outreach’s CEO, Dan Burdish.

Dan lives in Las Vegas but “commuted” to Carson City every week….a minimum 7-hour drive each way, each week. That alone earns him a Gold Star.

But Dan’s work behind the scenes, scrutinizing bill after bill after bill and ferreting out what was right or wrong with them…and then communicating that information to state legislators – on both sides of the aisle, depending on the bill – before voting was worth its weight in gold to many citizen legislators who simply didn’t have the time nor the staff to do so themselves.

Dan was instrumental in behind-the-scenes deals, amendments and overall “strategery” which will never be known publicly, but take my word for it….his presence made a HUGE difference this session for conservatives. Without him and Janine, this would have been a much uglier session. So shoot him an “attaboy” if you get a chance.

Dan Burdish: danburdish@gmail.com

And finally, let me give a big shout-out to three other conservative organizations that did yeoman’s work this session.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) provided absolutely lethal intellectual ammunition throughout the session. While the left was using children, students and senior citizens as “human shields” to avoid much-needed spending cuts, NPRI countered with reasoned, objective arguments backed up by facts and research, not pure emotion. In…valuable.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) – which only recently entered the Nevada political scene after hiring Adam Stryker last summer – was key to organizing and holding grassroots conservatives together in the capital for the entire session. AFP hosted a weekly center-right meeting every Wednesday in its Carson City office so the right hand knew what the other right hands were doing. And when it was necessary to bring in foot soldiers for a rally or to fill up a hearing, AFP’s troops were there. In…valuable.

And finally, Keystone Corporation. I was there when Keystone was founded in 1995 as an organization dedicated to bringing the Republican National Convention to Las Vegas. Since that time, the group has morphed into a champion of free markets and small business owners. And while the Las Vegas Chamber was once again selling out their members by supporting the extension of the sunsets, Keystone got in their face, letting the Chamber’s members know exactly what their “useful idiot” leaders were doing. In…valuable.

Combined with Citizen Outreach, we were the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse for liberals.

Sure, we may have “lost” overall this session…but know this: 2011 was the first session that the four of our organizations devoted this much time and attention to a legislative session. It was our rookie year. It was a learning year. And boy, did we ever learn a lot!

And if you think movement conservatives did a lot and made a difference this session – and we did! – even though we came up short in the final week on the budget, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” (h/t to the Gipper).

Now go send those emails thanking the conservative champions of the 2011 legislative session!