Friday, March 30, 2012

Dean Heller & Shelley Berkley or Silver Senator?

"This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley, candidates for the 2012 senate elections in Nevada:"   

Dean A. Heller, a member of the Republican party, is the incumbent. He was appointed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to a vacant seat created by the resignation of John Ensign. He was previously a Congressman representing Nevada's 2nd congressional district from 2007 to 2011. He also served as Secretary of State and as a member of the Nevada Assembly.

Rochelle "Shelley" Berkley, a Democrat, represents Nevada's 1st district in the U.S. House of Representatives, a seat she has held since 1999. In addition, she served in the Nevada Assembly and is a former regent for the Nevada University System.

The senate race between the two candidates is expected to be one of the most closely contested races in the country in 2012.

Comparison chart

Improve this chart Dean Heller
  • Currently 3.94/5
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Rating: 3.9/5 (16 votes)
Shelley Berkley
  • Currently 3.60/5
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Rating: 3.6/5 (15 votes) 

Religion: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) Judaism
Occupation: Stock broker, politician Lawyer, politician
Alma mater: University of Southern California University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of San Diego
Residence: Carson City, Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada
Spouse(s): Lynne Heller Dr. Lawrence Lehrner
Full name: Dean A. Heller Rochelle Berkley
Political party: Republican Democratic
Position on healthcare: Opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 Supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
Position on taxes: Opposes raises taxes on anyone Favors progressive taxation where the rich pay a higher rate
Position on the economy: Opposed financial and auto bailouts; opposed increasing the minimum wage; opposed the "cash for clunkers" program Supported financial and auto bailouts; voted in favor of increasing the minimum wage; supported the "cash for clunkers" program
Place of birth: Castro Valley, California New York City
Date of birth: May 10, 1960 January 20, 1951
Children: Hilary Heller, Harris Heller, Drew Heller, Emmy Heller


Economic Policy

Government Bailouts and Stimulus

Heller is opposed to government bailouts. He opposed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bailout the financial industry and the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act of 2008, also known as the auto bailout for GM and Chrysler. 

In contrast, Berkley voted in favor of both these bills.

Both candidates voted in favor of stimulus spending undertaken by the government to fight the recession. They also supported extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks.

Mortgage Modification

Both candidates voted to terminate the Home Affordable Mortgage Program.

Laws governing the workplace

Heller voted against increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 while Berkley voted in its favor.

Berkley is pro-union. 

She voted in favor of restricting employer interference in union organizing, to enable employees to form and join labor organizations; co-sponsored allowing an Air Traffic Controller's Union; in favor of forming unions by card-check instead of secret ballot; and also co-sponsored extending unemployment compensation during recession. 

Berkley is opposed to discriminatory compensation. 

She signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ban discriminatory compensation and also allows an aggrieved person to obtain relief, including recovery of back pay, for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge. She also signed Paycheck Fairness Act for Stronger enforcement against gender-based pay discrimination.


Heller is opposed to raising taxes. While serving in the state legislature, he voted against the state budget that was driving the largest tax increase in state history, voted against creating an employee business tax, voted against increasing gas and vehicle registration taxes, and fought against proposals to increase document recording fees.

Berkley supports progressive taxation and is opposed to spending cuts. 

She voted in favor of extending Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemptions to avoid hitting middle-income. She voted against retaining reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends. Berkley co-sponsored the Death Tax Elimination Act.

Environment and Energy Policy

Heller voted against Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program also known as "Cash for Clunkers", a $3 billion U.S. federal program intended to provide economic incentives to U.S. residents to purchase a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle when trading in a less fuel-efficient vehicle. 

He is in favor of making tax deduction permanent for conservation easements. 

He voted against the $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013. 

Heller is also a proponent of animal rights. He co-sponsored strengthening prohibitions against animal fighting. 

Heller has voted against tax policies subsidizing the development of renewable energy.

Berkley has a mixed record on environment. 

She was in favor of Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, environmental education grants for outdoor experiences, and making tax deduction permanent for conservation easements. 

She is in favor of increased Amtrak funding for improvements and operation. 

Berkley co-sponsored a bill prohibiting commercial logging on Federal public lands. 

Berkley supports the American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009, which would have implemented cap-and-trade system. 

She also voted in favor of the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008.

Healthcare Policy

Heller voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. 

On January 19, 2011, Heller voted to repeal the federal healthcare law. 

During the debate prior to the federal healthcare law's passage, Heller led efforts to require two provisions be added to the federal health care law that would require:
  1. The use of citizenship verification tools to determine eligibility for taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits
  2. Members of Congress to join any government-run healthcare plan proposed in early versions of the healthcare law.
Heller questioned the constitutionality of the law following its passage, and he called on Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to join a multi-state lawsuit challenging it. 

Heller voted in favour of Paul Ryan's budget plan that favors changes and cuts to the Medicare program and is against expansion of Medicare to cover additional preventive services. 

He is opposed to expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Berkley supports the Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. 

She co-sponsored improving services for people with autism & their families; co-sponsored establishing a national childhood cancer database; co-sponsored Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act. 

Berkley supported funding women's health needs; supported funding older women's health; supported funding prenatal and postpartum care; supported funding family and children's coverage. 

Berkley supports expansion of Medicare program; voted against changes and cuts to Medicare; voted against repealing the "Prevention and Public Health" slush fund; and supports expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Education Policy

Heller voted against making additional grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, early learning facilities and charter schools. He opposed additional $10.2 billion for federal education & HHS projects.

Berkley voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. 

She also voted in favor of reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act in 2010 but voted against College Cost Reduction and Access Act. 

She voted in favor of $40B for green public schools; additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects; and $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. 

Berkley adopted the manifesto to offer every parent a choice between charter schools and public. 

She co-sponsored an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to reduce class size to 18 children in grades 1 to 3. She supported funding for teacher training and other initiatives.

Social Issues

By and large, both candidates follow the typical Republican and Democrat positions on social issues.


Dean Heller is against abortion but voted in favor of embryonic stem cell research. Shelley Berkley is "pro-choice" and also voted in favor of embryonic stem cell research.


Dean Heller opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, supports a border fence and opposes the DREAM Act which would grant citizenship for young illegal immigrants if they attend college or serve in the military. He supports ending birthright citizenship.

Shelley Berkley co-sponsored the More Visas for Families of Lawful Immigrants bill, supports building a border fence along the Mexican border, and supports the DREAM Act.

Gun control

Heller supports the right to bear arms; he supported the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which allows gun owners with valid state-issued concealed firearm permits to carry a concealed firearm in other states that also allow concealed carry.

Berkley supports gun control measures.

Gay rights

Heller is opposed to gay marriage; he voted against the Employment Non-discrimination Act that called for prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Berkley supports the right of gay and lesbian individuals to get married. She voted in favor of repealing Don't Ask, don't tell.

Berkley and Heller in Opinion Polls

Poll source Date(s)
Shelley Berkley (D) Dean Heller (R)
Cannon Survey Center Dec 12-20, 2011 44.4% 43.2%
Public Policy Polling Oct 20-23, 2011 45% 45%
Public Policy Polling Jul 28-31, 2011 43% 46%
Public Policy Polling Apr 21-24, 2011 43% 47%
Public Policy Polling Jan 3-5, 2011 38% 51%

Recent News

Nevada Sen. Heller knocks oil company tax breaks ( Dean Heller urged Congress to close some oil company tax loopholes ... 

A campaign spokesman for Heller's likely general election opponent, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, described the policy as "a backflip that would make an Olympic gymnast proud."

[Silver Senator Note:

Both candidates voted against passing a Congressional budget, their Constitutional responsibility.

Both candidates voted for the Unconstitutional Patriot Act.

Both candidates voted for Retroactive Legal Immunity for Telcoms and Vaccine Companies.

Both candidates voted for the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that allows indefinite military detention of American citizens against our Bill of Rights.

Both candidates voted in 2012 NDAA for denial of due process, habeas corpus and posse comitatus (in effect since the Civil War), allowing the President and Military to imprison, remove, torture and assassinate American Citizens domestically or in foreign countries.

Both candidates voted for The Trespass Act to violate our First Amendment "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

It is time for the Independent Constitutional Representation that Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington and the founding folks created:]

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