Jacky Rosen didn’t have a track record on workers’ rights or anything else when she ran to represent Nevada in the U.S. House two years ago.
|Prior to her Senate run, Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen spoke to the 2017 graduating class of Las Vegas Local 357 apprentices. Rosen is a strong advocate for vocational training and apprenticeship programs.
But unions saw a candidate with genuine concern for working people, someone they felt they could trust to live up to her promises. She hasn’t disappointed.
“We interviewed and endorsed Congresswoman Rosen soon after she announced she was running in 2016,” said Jim Halsey, assistant business manager for Las Vegas Local 357. “Since her election, Jacky has been a consistent supporter of working families and we were proud to endorse her Senate run.”
Rosen’s run against incumbent Dean Heller is one of the tightest U.S. Senate races on the Nov. 6 ballot. Heller, a business-first senator who votes with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 96 percent of the time, was appointed to the seat in 2011 and narrowly won election in 2012.
A career programmer and software designer, Rosen was raised in a working-class Nevada family. She regularly worked two jobs to pay for college, including waiting tables at Caesars Palace, where she was a member of the Culinary Workers Union.
Her roots help her connect instinctively with voters, said Jennie Sherwood, a Las Vegas Local 357 sister running for the Nevada Assembly. Sherwood saw it for herself working on Rosen’s 2016 campaign.
“She was the easiest candidate to sell at the doors, especially with her working background,” she said. “The voters loved that she worked her way serving drinks while she earned her degree at UNLV. They really feel that she is one of them, and she is. She knows what hard work is and how hard works pays off.”
Rosen is known for reaching across the aisle to get things down, ranked the fifth-most bipartisan member of Congress. But she also has a strong pro-worker voting record and makes her convictions clear in statements, speeches and roundtable talks with union members.
“Strong unions are the backbone of a strong middle class with good-paying jobs, and I’m proud to stand with the labor movement in Nevada to fight for policies that put people over profits,” Rosen told Nevada’s AFL-CIO convention in August.
Earlier in the summer, Rosen condemned the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Janus v. ASFCME, which allows public workers to become union freeloaders the same way right-to-work affects the private sector.
“Fair-share fees are necessary to support collective bargaining activities that benefit all workers so that they can advocate for better wages, safer working conditions, and protect themselves from arbitrary workplace decisions,” Rosen said. “As a former union member, I understand the support that labor organizations bring to families. That’s why I will continue fighting to ensure Nevada’s workers have the ability to advocate for themselves and their union rights.”
Halsey said Rosen demonstrated that by voting against a bill to end National Labor Relations Board oversight of casinos and other businesses on tribal land, stripping rights away from more than 600,000 workers.
“It was an attempt by Republicans to stop organizing campaigns by tribal members trying to better their lives,” he said, noting that Rosen also showed her support for workers and unions by speaking to Local 357 apprentices at their 2017 graduation.
In addition to Rosen’s race, Nevada’s statewide ballot includes a hotly debated amendment that will determine the future of the state’s energy market. While Rosen hasn’t taken an official position, she said she has “serious concerns” about the risk of ratepayers’ bills going up if Question 3 passes. All IBEW locals in Nevada oppose the measure and are urging members to vote “No.”
Sensitive to the stress that energy and other rising costs are putting on household budgets, Rosen is a strong advocate for raising the federal minimum wage, in stages, to $15 an hour. Her opponent favors abolishing it altogether and has voted down even small increases.
Perhaps the biggest gulf between the candidates is health care. While Rosen fights to save access to affordable care and coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, Heller is scheming with other GOP senators to kill the life-saving protections.
Heller signed onto a bill that health care experts and editorials, along with Democrats, have denounced as a fraud. He and fellow GOP senators claim it forces insurers to continue to cover people with pre-existing conditions. The con is that the policies can deny payment for doctor visits, medication and other treatment the conditions demand. One health care analyst described it as “throwing a 10-foot rope to somebody in a 20-foot hole.”
Illustrating Rosen’s commitment to quality, affordable health care and her bipartisan approach to critical issues, she cosponsored a bill signed into law this month that allow pharmacists to provide information to patients about lower-cost options.
“For too long, working families across this country have been burdened with the rising costs of medications,” Rosen said. “No Nevadan should have to worry about affording prescription medications or going back to a time when insurance companies could charge you more based on a pre-existing medical condition.”