Cortez Masto visits Gardnerville |

Cortez Masto visits Gardnerville

Catherine Cortez Masto spoke on Saturday to Douglas County Democrats. Cortez Masto is campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid after the 2016 general election.
Dave Price |

Catherine Cortez Masto brought her U.S. Senate campaign to Gardnerville last weekend, and it started with a simple message.

“I’m a product of Nevada and a product of the American Dream,” she told an audience of about two dozen in a forum held at the Douglas County Democrats headquarters.

Cortez Masto, who served as Nevada Attorney General 2007-2015, is opposing Republican Joe Heck in a race to win the Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid. Gardnerville was the second of three western Nevada visits she made Saturday on a tour that began in Carson City and ended that evening in Yerington.

Cortez Masto was born and raised in Las Vegas — both of her parents were raised in Las Vegas as well — and in 1986 she received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada. She is now bidding to become the first woman to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate.

“Now, that is the American Dream,” she told the audience.

Historically, the seat has seen some close races. In 2010, Reid defeated Republican challenger Sharron Angle by a narrow margin after losing 14 of Nevada’s 17 counties. Reid won in 2004 with 61 percent of the vote, however his winning margin over John Ensign in 1998 was 428 votes. Reid defeated Demar Dahl by just over 10 percent in 1992 and won the seat in 1986 when he defeated Jim Santini by 5.48 percent (Reid was opposed in the primary by Douglas County businessman Manny Beals).

Cortez Masto is not concerned about polls or pundits that call the race a toss-up.

“Right now my focus is just on this race, it’s on getting out and talking to people about the issues,” she said after the forum. “I came out early and rolled out my campaign on April 8 just for that reason. I wanted to make sure I was getting around the state, similar to what I did when I was attorney general, and continue to talk about the issues, to learn what’s important to them and the things that I want to fight for on their behalf.”

Cortez Mastro said her focus as attorney general included establishing a senior protection unit, and strengthening laws preventing sex trafficking and violence against women. She expressed her opposition to the Yucca Mountain project and supports Nevada’s solar, wind, and geothermal energy potential. In regard to the Iran nuclear agreement, she said in a July statement: “Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb must be brought to an end. I support giving diplomacy a chance to succeed, however, walking away from a bad deal would be better than accepting one that is wholly insufficient.”

Cortez Masto reached her term limit as attorney general last year and set her sights on another goal.

“I have worked very hard on behalf of the state — on behalf of people, women, children, seniors — fighting on their behalf for businesses so that they can continue to grow. And that’s what we need in this state, somebody who is going to work on behalf of the best interests of this state as a United States senator.”