(Annie Black) – The election counting ended last Thursday. I am now OFFICIALLY the assemblywoman representing District 19, though not sworn in yet.
Last Friday I attended a meeting of the Republican Assembly Caucus where members picked its new leadership team for the 2021 session. After that meeting – and after thinking long and hard about it over the weekend – I’ve decided not to join the caucus at this time.
I will remain a conservative Republican but have chosen to instead be an independent member of the Legislature. Here are some of my reasons…
1.) Meet the new boss; same as the old boss. The caucus kept the status quo; reappointing the same leaders as the 2020 campaign cycle despite 1/3 of the caucus now being made up of new, more conservative members such as myself.
2.) The caucus chose not to give conservative Assemblyman John Ellison – the longest-serving member in the caucus – any leadership position despite expanding the size of the leadership team by three members. That’s just not right.
3.) During the primary, the caucus refused to endorse two of its former colleagues – conservative Assemblywoman Jill Dickman and conservative Assemblyman Richard McArthur – who went on to win their races anyway.
4.) During my primary challenge to three-term Assemblyman Chris Edwards, the three top caucus leaders contributed thousands of dollars, either individually or through their PACs, toward my defeat. That makes things, to say the least, rather uncomfortable.
5.) Even after effectively winning my seat in the primary, as no other candidates filed to run in the general, the caucus leaders chose not to include me in caucus conference calls between the primary and the general election. Not exactly a warm welcome.
6.) During the last eight months of the Sisolak Shutdown and during the two Special Sessions, the caucus’ strategy and communications efforts have been, let’s just say, less than inspiring. By keeping the same leadership team and staff in place, I don’t see that improving during the 2021 session.
7.) At the caucus meeting on Friday, the leadership team gave us a set of “rules” they wanted me to sign and agree to follow. But with all due respect, I don’t answer to them; I answer to the voters who elected me.
8.) The rules include a “Confidentiality” clause prohibiting me from publicly criticizing other members “by name.” I can’t agree to that. If a fellow GOP caucus member, say, votes to raise your taxes, they’ll need to be called out for it. By name.
9.) That same “Muzzle Clause” would prohibit me from talking to the media about caucus matters and decisions. While I can understand the desire for a certain level of confidentiality in meetings so that members may speak freely, this particular rule is open to subjective interpretation and goes too far.
10.) On the other hand, the “rules” state that “The caucus shall manage campaign communications” with the media by issuing press releases and statements that neither seek nor require my approval. I simply don’t want to be associated with positions and issues that I may completely disagree with.
Granted – it’s their organization and they can establish whatever rules they so choose. However, the rules seem more aimed at controlling behavior and stifling dissent than facilitating policy discussions and debates. For example…
The rules actually specify the process for caucus leaders to issue verbal warnings, written warnings, suspensions and even expulsion from the caucus. They might even send me to the principal’s office!
It’s as if I’d be working as an employee of the caucus rather than representing my constituents. Sorry, but if those are the conditions of membership, I’m not joining.
And as for those who say my decision means I’ll be all alone in Carson City – far from it. I’ll have YOU!
I’ll also be working closely with folks from the Nevada Policy Research Institute, Nevada Families, the Nevada Firearms Coalition, Nevada Right to Life, the National Federation of Independent Business, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity and all manner of other conservative individuals and groups.
As John Adams put it: “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
Somebody hand me a match.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The Clark County teachers’ union has reportedly submitted enough signatures to put two tax hikes before the 2021 session of the Nevada Legislature. Allow me to remove any doubt as to where I stand: I’ll be voting ‘NO!’ on both.” – Assemblywoman Annie Black
Annie Black is the Nevada State Assemblywoman representing District 19. You can get more information by visiting www.electannieblack.com