Debate watching

Sharon Rossie

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Like millions of other Americans, last night I tuned into Fox News and watched the first of many 2016 presidential debates.

Assuming you follow politics and know some of the history between the candidates, there was plenty of clash and one-liners to keep it entertaining. I’m already looking forward to the second debate, but you and I know that selecting the next president of the United States isn’t just about who can deliver a good speech (see Obama, Barack). 

Here are some of the issues that I’ll be watching for in both the Republican and Democratic debates.

1.  Entitlement reform. It only got a passing mention in the last night’s debate, but the math is obvious. Spending on entitlements is bankrupting our country. Who is willing to acknowledge that and then do something about it? 

2. Federalism. One of the things that historically made our country great is that states have been free to pursue their own plans in many areas, like education and health care. Sometimes states even have policies that contradict each other.

 This isn’t a flaw in our system; it’s a feature! States were meant to make numerous policy decisions based on the desires of the state’s citizens. One benefit of this is that state policymakers can see what’s working and what isn’t, instead of being given mandates from Washington D.C.

The presidential field includes a number of governors with impressive track records. What’s important to see is candidates acknowledge that the role of president is different than being a governor. For instance, you and I know that universal school choice is an amazing school reform, but that doesn’t mean the federal government should impose school choice on the states. The federal government should get out of K-12 education entirely.

3. Federal lands. One of the reasons that farm subsidies still persist today is that candidates go to Iowa, which holds the first presidential caucus and pledge their support for farm subsidies in order to increase their popularity with Iowans.

With Nevada’s presidential primary caucus being the fourth in the country, Nevada is being inundated with presidential candidates seeking your vote. Instead of asking for a special handout, we encourage you to ask candidates from both parties for their position on federal land issues.

As you may know, the federal government owns over 85 percent of Nevada’s land and 30 to 57 percent of the land in each state that includes or is West of the Rocky Mountains.

The federal government should put Nevada on an equal footing with the rest of the country and give our state back our land.

In just under eighteen months, one of those candidates visiting Nevada today will have the ability to do just that. Let’s get them all on the record now.

What issues are you watching for? I’d love to know. Please shoot me an email, and I’ll publish some of the responses next week.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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