Democratic candidate for Senate Ed Bernstein woos Carson Valley voters | RecordCourier.com
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Democratic candidate for Senate Ed Bernstein woos Carson Valley voters

by Sheila Gardner, Record-Courier editor

When voters go to the polls in November, choices won’t be made along party lines, says Democratic U.S. candidate Ed Bernstein. The issues will be based on what’s right and what’s wrong.

The Las Vegas lawyer campaigned in Carson Valley Saturday, ringing doorbells in a Ranchos neighborhood and attending the Douglas County Democratic Central Committee picnic in Genoa.

Bernstein arrived at the event fresh from the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, where his party nominated Vice President Al Gore for president and Sen. Joe Lieberman for vice president.

“This was the most exciting week I ever spent in my life,” said Bernstein, who addressed delegates in a three-minute speech Aug. 14.

“You really felt the genuineness and sincerity of the rank and file. I was so proud of the Nevada delegation. We are so right on all the issues that really matter, issues like health care, education and the environment.”

Bernstein, who walked the Ranchos neighborhood with Nevada Assembly candidate Willie Edwards, said residents were surprised to find him on their doorsteps. Although he is from Las Vegas, Bernstein is a familiar face to Northern Nevadans because of television commercials for his law firm as well as a weekly half-hour entertainment program.

“I felt like Ed McMahon, without the check,” he said, laughing. “There was no partisan response. The familiarity with me allows me to talk about the issues instead of having to introduce myself. Once we talk issues, there generally is a huge positive from voters.”

Bernstein is seeking the seat held by Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nevada, who chose not to run again. Bernstein likely will face John Ensign in November. Ensign, however, faces a primary challenge from Richard Hamzik of Gardnerville.

Bernstein said the differences between him and Ensign are staggering.

“On abortion issues, I am pro-choice,” Bernstein said. “I am very adamant about keeping the government out of our private lives.”

In environmental concerns, Bernstein said Ensign had one of the worst records in the country and was listed as one of the “dirty dozen” by environmental groups in accepting campaign contributions from donors described as polluters.

“Nobody has as strong an environmental record as Al Gore,” Bernstein said, “not even President Clinton.”

He warned Democrats that if George W. Bush is elected in November, nuclear waste will be on its way to Yucca Mountain in central Nevada within six to eight months.

“There is only one party sticking up for Nevada in Washington, D.C. and that is the Democratic Party,” Bernstein said. “George W. Bush was not man enough to say what his plans are for nuclear waste. A vote for George Bush and a vote for John Ensign are votes for nuclear waste in Nevada.”

Bernstein’s personal crusade has been lowering health costs, reinforced by his own efforts to secure care and medicine for his 11-year-old daughter, who has a chronic illness.

“If it’s hard for me, I realized it’s nearly impossible for regular people. That’s why the patient’s bill of rights is so important. I don’t care how much money you have. If you can’t see the doctor you want or get the medicine you need, it doesn’t matter.”

Bernstein advised the 70 people at the picnic not to be discouraged by Douglas County’s overwhelming Republican majority.

“We can win in Douglas County,” he said. “Don’t be discouraged at the thought that there are more Republicans. A lot of these people are moderate, they are persuadable voters when they know the difference in the issues.

“It will take a little bit of talking,” he said. “We can’t outspend the Republicans, but we can outtalk them.”

Several candidates for office attended Saturday’s barbecue. They included state school board candidate Michelle Trusty-Murphy, school board Area 4 candidates John Raker and John Louritt and Area 3 candidates George Echan and William Laughlin.