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Heller, Amodei Face Rallies, Protests During Home-State Visit

A large crowd listens as Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, both R-Nev., respond to questions in a lively town-hall meeting Monday in Reno. (Chip Evans)
A large crowd listens as Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, both R-Nev., respond to questions in a lively town-hall meeting Monday in Reno. (Chip Evans)
April 18, 2017

RENO, Nev. – Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei got an earful from progressive advocates Monday, as protests greeted them at several public appearances in Nevada during Congress' spring recess. Hundreds of constituents packed the Reno Convention Center for a town hall - many complaining about their support for the nomination of climate-change skeptic Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator.

Laynette Evans, co-leader of the group, Indivisible Northern Nevada, also disagrees with President Trump's proposed budget, which would cut the EPA's budget by 31 percent.

"There are cuts to funding for different agencies that are doing studies that would help us gather data that we could use to make decisions about the environment," she said. "So those kinds of cuts are really ludicrous in the face of what we're facing with climate change."

The lawmakers noted that the president's proposal is just a starting point and that the final budget will differ significantly. The lawmakers also took pointed questions from constituents about immigration, health care and on their support for a bill that would require future new national monuments, such as the one President Obama declared at Gold Butte, to get congressional approval.

Evans says she was disappointed that the lawmakers didn't discuss the controversy around Russia's effort to influence our last election.

"I would like to see an independent, bipartisan investigation because we have a very partisan process that's happening," she added. "We were about to get testimony from some key witnesses and Devin Nunes' antics stopped that in the House investigation."

Protesters also gathered outside Sen. Heller's appearance before the Nevada state Legislature and then held a rally opposing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicaid. Both Heller and Amodei opposed the Republican health-care plan that was withdrawn in March because of lack of support.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV