Jacobsen, Bryan say they are "strange bedfellows" | RecordCourier.com

Jacobsen, Bryan say they are "strange bedfellows"

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

It seems like they should be bitter political enemies and yet they are the best of friends.

Nevada Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, and United States Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., have nothing but flattering, fond and almost gushing things to say about each other. Both jumped at the opportunity to say them publically on several occasions during Bryan’s 12th and final rural tour of the Carson Valley Wednesday.

Bryan is not running for another Senate term and his current term ends in a matter of months. Jacobsen, still in office, has the longest-running state career in Nevada.

Both men have been on the opposite sides of many issues for the past three decades. For example, Bryan is a strong Democrat and adamantly against bringing nuclear waste to Nevada. Jacobsen, a committed Republican, has been a vocal supporter of bringing the waste here, saying, among other things, that it is our responsibility to help the country.

In spite of their differing political views, they admire each other.

“Senator Bryan is one of my favorites,” Jacobsen said at a chamber of commerce luncheon where Bryan was honored. “I am probably the only one who can say they served under the last seven governors, and I have to say Dick Bryan was the best. He was the only governor to invite Betty and me over for dinner. I remember we left at 4:30 in the morning, and we had a ball.”

Jacobsen, who is an appointee to the state high level nuclear waste committee, said he has traveled to Washington, D.C. quarterly over the years to meet with Nevada representatives, including Bryan, on timely state issues, including nuclear waste.

“It’s always good to see him and to know I can trust him,” he said. “You can’t always say that about everyone. They say politics makes strange bedfellows – well, if I had to have a bedfellow, it would be Sen. Bryan. We’ve had a beautiful friendship, and he’s made Nevada a better place to live.”

Bryan said more than once during the afternoon rural tour that one of the most destructive changes he’s seen in Washington politics in the last 12 years is the polarization between many Democrats and Republicans.

“Nobody cares more for this state than Jake,” Bryan said. “And, it’s not whether you’re Democrat or Republican – there are special bonds that you make. Douglas County is fortunate to have Lawrence Jacobsen. He has risen above the level of politician. He’s a statesman.”