LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — She may not be the biggest gun in the race but probably has the most guns. Second amendment advocate and controversial conservative Michelle Fiore plans to file in the race to replace outgoing Congressman Joe Heck in Congressional District 3.
Heck is giving up his seat to run for US Senate.”I’m taking the jump tomorrow,” Fiore told me by phone. First elected to the State Assembly in 2012, she’s leaving Carson City for a chance to head to Washington.
As of 5 pm Tuesday, two Republicans had filed: Dr. Annette Teijeiro, former congressional candidate, and Air Force veteran Kerry Bowers. Along with those two – and Fiore – three other GOP candidates are planning to jump in, former Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian, the former head of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, Andy Matthews, and State Senate leader Michael Roberson.
Of the 6, Roberson perhaps has the biggest target on his back. In 2015, he shepherded Governor Sandoval’s $1.1 billion dollar tax hike through the legislature, angering conservatives who felt the biggest tax hike in Nevada history was a repudiation of conservative principles. Roberson and the Governor have said the package of new or extended taxes was necessary to rescue failing schools and propel the state forward.
Roberson did not return my phone message and text for comment.
Fiore looks at the field and sees candidates who have run and failed or someone who pushed through a tax hike that would harm business.
“I want you to point out one of that six that continually fights for the people, whether it’s second amendment issues or whether it’s land issues,” Fiore told me, “not someone that’s claiming to be a conservative that raised taxes, not a horse that constantly loses races. We need a true conservative in DC, versus a ‘campaign conservative’.”
Fiore is controversial, with a capital “C”. She angered critics with her embrace of the Bundys, and her temperament in Carson City raised eyebrows. Critics and Democrats say she’s unfit for higher office.
The Brooklyn, NY native says bring it on. “What I say is look what I do and look what I did and I will continue to go down that path,” Fiore says.
As for the other District 3 candidates, they tell me they’re running their own races. Taxes are just one issue, but an important one, they say.
“I’ll do the complete opposite of what Mike Roberson did this past legislative session because it really isn’t anything what a Republican primary voter would want,” Danny Tarkanian told me as we stood on an empty basketball court at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy.
About that tax hike? “That’s just the most obvious one,” Tarkanian told me, spelling out his reasons for running.
“The thing that bothers me the most and I think what affected the voters the most is when you have politicians that campaign and promise something and then they go back to Washington or Carson City and do the exact opposite,” Tarkanian said. “I got a problem with Mike because, one, he promised not to raise taxes, then he went back and raised taxes,” he added.
The six Republicans in District 3 debated on March 3rd. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun’s Megan Messerly, Roberson said he passed some of the “most conservative legislative accomplishments” in Nevada history. He defended the tax hike, saying even Ronald Reagan voted to raise taxes.
“Well, you know of all the candidates, I am the most experienced,” Dr. Annette Teijeiro told me Tuesday after she and her supporters packed the candidate filing room at the Clark County Government Center.
“My family’s been here for 40 years non-stop,” she said. “I’ve worked in our casino industry. I’m also fully bilingual, bi-cultural, so none of my other opponents can say all those things.”
She sees her message going beyond a 2015 tax hike.
“If that’s all my opponents are going to talk about, I’m going to be talking about a lot of other things, too,” she told me. “Nevada actually has stayed fourth or fifth in unemployment. That’s not a good place to be.”
Candidate filing runs through March 18th. The next GOP District 3 forum is 11 am on April 26th at the meeting of the Southern Hills Republican Women.
Nevada Assemblywoman, Michele Fiore joins Tim Brown and James White live from the federal court in OR where she reports from Pete Santilli’s latest hearing for release.
Back in 2014, during the Bundy Ranch standoff that is still getting people in trouble, Nevada’s GOP state representative Michele Fiore announced to Chris Hayes that the resistance would “not allow governance by gunpoint.” That was an interesting stance from a woman whose campaign website shows her holding a rifle and whose Christmas card last year went viral because everyone in it was holding a gun.
Governance by violence is not a huge stretch for Fiore, who once said that castrating pimps was a good way to end sex trafficking. In fact, she doesn’t seem adverse to violence in any form. She’s campaigning for a Congressional seat now and her opponent, Annette Teijeiro, used a local debate as an opportunity to call out Fiore for her comments about “flying to Paris” and shooting terrorists in the head herself. (Does that count as governance by gunpoint?)
The jailed leader of the occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon has called on elected officials from mostly Western states to voice support for free speech and civil disobedience and to visit their constituents in federal custody.
At least one Nevada lawmaker — state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore — is answering the call.
“It is your duty to hold federal agencies at bay, protecting the people in your state,” occupation leader Ammon Bundy said according to the transcript of a telephone call he made Saturday from jail and released by one of his lawyers Monday.
He also urged elected representatives in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Washington state and Ohio to support the right to assemble.
Fiore, who is running for Rep. Joe Heck’s 3rd Congressional District seat, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that she is planning a trip to Portland and expects to be in the city Thursday night to protest the jailing of Ammon and his brother Ryan Bundy. The brothers are sons of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, who is embroiled in a legal dispute with the Bureau of Land Management over more than two decades of unpaid federal grazing fees.
An Oregon TV station tweeted at Fiore asking if she was planning the trip to Portland, to which she replied “CONFIRMED” in all capital letters.
While at least one media outlet has reported Cliven Bundy would make the trek to Oregon sometime this week, the rancher told the Review-Journal that he has not yet made up his mind and has other obligations to consider before going.
“I’ve been invited to go with (Fiore). I haven’t committed myself at all,” he said when reached by phone Monday night.
Cliven Bundy said Fiore did not personally invite him, but rather a mutual third party was setting it up. He declined to identify the third party.
Fiore told the public broadcasting station that she and other Western state lawmakers will meet Cliven Bundy in Burns and in Portland and that she would also demand the release of Ryan Bundy, who is from Nevada.
Ammon Bundy’s attorney Mike Arnold said he read that Fiore was planning to make a trip out to Portland. “I look forward to meeting her,” Arnold said, adding he was unaware of any others.
“Ammon’s main goal is to educate and increase the dialogue through free speech,” Arnold said Monday night. “The government needs to realize that when you arrest a political protester, that doesn’t mean you can muzzle them. That’s not what America’s about.”
The two Bundy brothers and nine others were arrested in Oregon in late January, most of them during a confrontation with the FBI and state police on a roadside where a spokesman for the group, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was fatally shot. A 12th member of the group turned himself in to police in Arizona.
Two of those arrested have been released on condition that they wear electronic tracking devices while awaiting trial, leaving 10 of the former protesters, including the two Bundys, in custody.
Four armed anti-government protesters still at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were indicted last week with the 12 others on charges of conspiring to impede federal officers during an armed standoff at the compound.
The takeover at Malheur started Jan. 2 when Bundy and followers seized buildings at the refuge in a protest against federal control over millions of acres of public land in the West.
A judge cited the continuing standoff as an obstacle to the release of at least some of those still in custody. They are to be arraigned on Feb. 24.
Tensions have flared in the town of Burns, 30 miles north of the refuge, with hundreds of demonstrators and residents angry about the occupation and its supporters.
Ammon Bundy has released statements previously, defending the takeover and urging the four holdouts to stand down.
Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, native Americans whose land previously encompassed the preserve, have criticized Bundy and his group.
“I am not OK with Syrian refugees. I’m not OK with terrorists. I’m OK with putting them down, blacking them out, just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I’m good with that,” she continued.
Fiore added that the Republican caucus never asked her to sign on to their letter.
She made the comments during her November 21 radio show, which was surfaced by The Daily Mail on Sunday.
Fiore made headlines last week with a Christmas card featuring each member of her family holding a firearm.
Personalities trumped policy yet again in the Assembly last week when Assemblywoman Michele Fiore lost her temper with a GOP colleague during a hearing on her “Cliven Bundy” bill.
Assemblyman Chris Edwards, who was in the midst of asking several questions about an amendment to Assembly Bill 408 during an early evening floor session Tuesday, was interrupted by Fiore.
When Edwards made yet another vague reference to conservative anti-tax political activist Chuck Muth during his questioning on several bills up for a vote during a lengthy floor session, Fiore had had enough.
She asked Speaker John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, to put a halt to Edwards’ statements, adding to Edwards: “Sit your ass down.”
The comment caused a momentary shock, an Assembly recess and then, an apology from Fiore to Edwards.
Edwards was not impressed with the apology.
AB408 was a priority for Fiore, who is a Bundy supporter and who brought the Bunkerville rancher to Carson City for a hearing on her bill. As originally written, the measure would have asserted state control over most public lands in Nevada.
The genesis of the bill was the BLM’s unsuccessful efforts to round up cattle belonging to Bundy in 2014 that resulted in an armed confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters.
When legislative legal staff said the measure was unconstitutional, the bill was amended to set forth requirements for local law enforcement to work with federal agencies.
On Tuesday, Fiore tried and failed twice to add amendments to the bill. In a final vote, the measure failed on a 34-8 vote.
Fiore and Edwards have a history of animosity.
Edwards said before the 2015 session began that Las Vegas police were investigating allegations of attempted extortion in exchange for his vote for Assembly speaker. The investigation is ongoing.
Both Fiore and Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, R-Las Vegas, early in the session questioned whether Edwards was wearing a “wire” in caucus meetings, a claim that the lawmaker denied.
The shocking Republican takeover of the Assembly in the Nov. 4 general election resulted in chaos for the 25-member caucus, with an internal fight for leadership between more moderate members of the group and tea party conservatives.
The moderates won out, and Fiore was deposed as both majority leader and chairwoman of the Assembly Taxation Committee.
The most divisive issue in the caucus is Sandoval’s call for $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes to boost funding for public education and balance his $7.3 billion general fund budget.
The tax issue is squarely in the Assembly now. The Senate on Tuesdayapproved Sandoval’s business license fee bill, Senate Bill 252.
Fiore said she does not support the bill, nor does she like an alternative presented by some members of the Assembly GOP caucus.
There have been other incidents in the caucus this session, including a confrontation between conservative Assemblyman John Moore, R-Las Vegas, and Majority Leader Paul Anderson, R-Las Vegas, which led to the filing of a report with Legislative Police by Moore. The two later made up.
More recently, Seaman complained about comments made by Judiciary Chairman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, after a dispute over her homeowner’s bill of rights measure that did not get a vote in the committee.
Welcome to “As the Nevada Legislature Turns.”
The ongoing debate over federal control of lands in Nevada will heat up again this week with a hearing on a bill proposed by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore that would prohibit the federal government from owning or managing any lands that it has not acquired with the consent of the Legislature.
Assembly Bill 408 also would prohibit the federal government from owning water rights in the state.
The bill is just the latest in the Republican-controlled Legislature challenging the federal government’s authority over more than 80 percent of the acres in Nevada.
Fiore, R-Las Vegas, sent out an email last week asking for supporters to attend the Tuesday hearing in the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee.
Critics say Fiore’s bill is unconstitutional and is based on a flawed legal theory about public lands, noting that on numerous occasions the U.S. Supreme Court has described the federal authority over public lands as “without limitation.”
The hearing comes just days before the one-year anniversary of the BLM’s efforts to round up cattle belonging to Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy that resulted in an armed confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters.
The Bundy family is asking supporters to “swarm” the hearing, which will be videoconferenced to Las Vegas and Elko.
Calling it the Nevadans Resource Rights Bill, Fiore said the bill will “put Nevada’s land and resources back where they belong, in the hands of the people.”
“Why does the federal government own so much of Nevada’s land? Why are our park rangers acting as police officers?” Fiore asked in her email message.
Tune in Tuesday to see if those questions will be answered.
It will be part of the debate on campus carry legislation during the Assembly Committee on Judiciary Thursday.
On the agenda is Assembly Bill 148, which authorizes a person with a concealed carry permit to have weapons on school grounds including college campuses, K-12 schools, day cares and nonsecure parts of airports.
University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College are against the bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore of Las Vegas and 21 other lawmakers.
“The administration, faculty and students oppose Bill 148,” said UNR President Marc Johnson this week, just days after the university’s student government passed a resolution opposing it.
“They aren’t doing this for us,” Johnson said of lawmakers. “They are doing it to us.”
Johnson said the university opposes AB 148 for many reasons.
“This a place that encourages people to express controversial thoughts,” he said. “We don’t want controversy to turn into a gunbattle.”
He also said because college campuses face issues with alcohol and drugs, adding a third element is a safety issue.
Recently, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the student government, opposed the bill in a resolution.
“We want more tenured professors and lower student-faculty ratios,” said UNR student Caden Fabbi. Fabbi is the speaker of the senate and is running for school body president. “In attracting new faculty, this could be looked at as a deterrent to wanting to come here,” he said.
“We think sexual assault and campus carry are exclusive issues with a lot of misinformation,” he said. “There is this misconception that there is some guy jumping out of a bush and that’s not the case,” he said.
In 2014 Johnson approved five out of 11 people who applied to carry a concealed weapon at UNR.
He said after an extensive background check by school police, an interview and showing just cause for carrying a weapon, he personally approves or denies a request.
Approval is most often based on a student who may have an outside threat, for example having a restraining order.
“From our perspective, the people that know best are the people that are on our campuses,” said Catherine Cortez Masto, who was hired in January as an executive vice chancellor for the System of Higher Education. Cortez Masto was formerly the Nevada attorney general and will represent higher education along with school police at Thursday’s meeting.
Campus presidents including Johnson and TMCC President Maria Sheehan, along with Chancellor Dan Klaich and regents, are in Las Vegas during the hearing for a scheduled Board of Regents meeting.
Cortez Masto said the concern about the bill is that a concealed carry permit can be held by a person 21 and older.
She said more than 30 percent of those on campuses are under 21 including those in campus day care centers, and in elementary and high schools.
Bill sponsor Fiore recently made national news commenting on the bill, similar to ones in almost a dozen states, by telling the New York Times that sexual assaults would go down if sexual predators got a “bullet in their head.”
Assembly Bill 148
8 a.m. Thursday in room 3138 of the Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson Street, Carson City
I respect my doormat, but I still wipe my feet on it.
That’s the impression I was left with Thursday morning after listening to firebrand conservative Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore discuss Gov. Brian Sandoval’s legislative agenda during an interview with Dave Becker on KNPR-FM, 88.9’s “State of Nevada.”
Not only is Fiore extremely unimpressed with Sandoval’s plan to raise business license fees by several hundred million in support of Nevada’s foundering public schools, but she continues to question his Republican credentials in the run-up to the 2015 session of the Legislature.
Her daily roasting only appears to be growing in intensity.
“Our state cannot afford $1.2 billion in taxes that was voted down,” Fiore said. “This isn’t something that’s pie in the sky. This tax was voted down by 80 percent of the constituents who said no on a gross receipts margins tax. This tax, this $1.2 billion, $440 million of it is basically a watered down gross receipts margins tax.
“The voters spoke loud and clear. So what message are we sending to the voters? ‘Hey guys, you took the time out, you went and voted, you voted this down on the ballot, but we’re not going to pay attention to you today. And we’re just going to do what you don’t want us to do.’ How well do you think that’s going to play in the next election?”
Fiore, meanwhile, called for slashes to the public education budget teacher education incentives and classroom-size reduction.
But, really, she thinks a great deal of Sandoval.
“The respect level for our governor has always been high and will continue to always be high, but just because we disagree on policy doesn’t mean there’s any lack of respect,” Fiore said after blasting his policies and Republican bona fides. “Brian Sandoval is our governor. He’s an incredible individual.”
By Kyle Roerink (contact)
Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 | 9:24 a.m.
Assembly Majority Leader designate Michele Fiore said today that her problems with the Internal Revenue Service stemmed from actions by her former accountant, who was her husband at the time, and an employee who stole from her.
Discussing her tax issues on Alan Stock’s conservative talk radio show, Fiore said she was now in full compliance with the IRS after being hit with more than $1 million in tax liens dating to 2003. She said the older liens have been resolved, and the remaining amount she owes is between $90,000 and $96,000 not including penalties and other fees that will be imposed by the IRS.
Fiore, who operates two home health care businesses, did not identify the employee she accused of stealing from her and said the alleged crime has not been prosecuted. However, she implied that legal action will be taken, saying “there will be consequences” from the theft.
As for the accountant, she identified him as her ex-husband but did not elaborate on how he contributed to her tax troubles. Asked about her own role in the problem, Fiore said she was too trusting of her employees.
But after it was brought to her attention that accounting and bookkeeping mistakes had been made, she said, she worked with the IRS to establish a payment plan. She said she also fired staff members, including her own children, and established checks and balances in her business.
In her appearance on Stock’s show, Fiore broke nearly two weeks of silence on her tax matters. Fiore, who is slated to be chairwoman of the Assembly taxation committee, declined interview requests from Las Vegas’ major news outlets about the 45 impending tax liens that date to 2003.
Fiore is among the loudest tax critics in the Assembly and is heading into her second term with clout: She is the No. 2 Assembly leader, and leading the the influential taxation committee adds to her sway.
She signed a no new tax pledge in 2013 and voted against continuing a controversial $650 million sunset tax package. The Nevada Policy Research Institute, a right-leaning think tank that will advise Fiore and Assembly Republican leadership in the upcoming session, distinguished her as the most conservative lawmaker in that session.
Those conservative bona fides are what helped launch her to the top ranks of the Nevada GOP this year. But they’ve also forced her into the spotlight.
Last week, it was reported that Fiore lost her spot as the chairwoman of the taxation committee. The Republican Assembly Caucus didn’t release an official statement. But Fiore pre-empted an official announcement by saying there was a “war on women” in the caucus. Those comments followed the Assembly Republican Caucus’ Dec. 2 decision to elect her as the first Republican woman to the majority leader position.
On Thursday, Assembly Speaker designate John Hambrick said Fiore was still the chairwoman of the taxation committee.
Fiore told Stock’s audience that she didn’t know the reason for the flap, which she called “12 hours of friction.” Although she downplayed her earlier “war on women” announcement, she suggested she was under attack because of her conservative politics and no-tax stance.
“I think with me chairing taxation, people are getting a little nervous,” she said, adding that there were “powerful lobbyists meddling and interfering with (Assembly GOP) caucus business.”
“There is a war on conservatives,” she said. “Unfortunately, there is a small select few in our caucus that prefer men to lead rather than women.”
Fiore’s tax problems were coupled with other news of dysfunction within the Assembly GOP last week.
A leaked email from Fiore to members of her caucus warned of a movement by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to oust Hambrick. Democrats last week denied they were targeting Hambrick.
The drama was the latest chapter in what’s been a whirlwind post-election season for Assembly Republicans.
Shortly after the GOP’s sweeping election day victory, the first Assembly member elected to the speaker spot, Ira Hansen, came under fire for insensitive columns he wrote in the Sparks Tribune. The backlash led to Hansen’s departure from the speaker slot.
During Hansen’s brief tenure at the top, the majority leader was Las Vegas Assemblyman Paul Anderson.
Once Hansen stepped down, the Republican Assembly caucus chose Hambrick and Fiore as the respective speaker and majority leader.