Statement of Bob Fulkerson, State Director, PLAN Action – Adam Laxalt’s Basque Fry with VP Mike Pence

It’s not normal to stand up in front of a crowd of a couple thousand people and blow a damn Navy rescue whistle until being hauled off by the authorities. But this isn’t a normal gathering, and these are not normal times.

It is not normal for a President to boost violent white nationalists . It is not normal for a President to threaten journalists and the press to the extent that they fear for their lives.

Yet this homage to Adam Laxalt and Vice President Pence creates a normality for all of this, establishing it as a new baseline for what’s acceptable.

We’re blowing the SOS whistle for a country and communities under severe distress.

The biggest corporate CEO’s in the US are jumping off the Trump train as quickly as they can. And even conservative Rabbi’s are taking actions hitherto unheard-of. But Adam Laxalt can’t get enough Trump—or of his base voters that he’s pandered to successfully enough to frighten other Republicans like Senator Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei out of challenging him in the primary for Governor.

He and Senator Roberson are betting on thinly-veiled Nativism to propel themselves to higher office. They’re frightening moderate white voters into thinking bad immigrants or are out to get them, so they better vote to ban so-called “Sanctuary Cities”. This plays to the very worst instincts of voters, and hasn’t been seen since the bad old days of Pat McCarran.

We are blowing the damn whistle.

The racialized fear and tension that Trump, Laxalt and Roberson stoke among their base points to a divisive and bitter future. It moves Nevada into the opposite direction of state with shared prosperity, where people have equal dignity and access, regardless of their last name or zip code.

Adam Laxalt, against the wishes of Governor Sandoval, signed Nevada on to a lawsuit to overturn Obama’s immigration policy that allowed undocumented youth to come out of the shadows. Laxalt would tear apart Nevada’s immigrant families, 98% of whom have lived and worked in the Silver State longer than he has.

We are blowing the whistle.

Vice President Pence is behind Trump’s base move to deny transgender people from serving in the military. He is dangerously close to becoming President, where he would implement the religious right’s dream of further subjugating women and girls under patriarchy. He denies the very existence as a couple of me and my husband, a fourth-generation Basco Nevadan.

We are blowing the whistle.

I’m indebted and grateful to Senator Paul Laxalt for giving me my first taste of Nevada politics when I interned for him in Washington DC from 1978-1980. It is unfortunate Adam Laxalt has used his family’s good name to promote his own selfish political agenda on behalf of the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson. It must be noted that one of today’s featured speakers, Matt Schlapp, is the former head lobbyist for the Koch brothers.

I am a fifth-generation Nevadan, Eagle Scout, proud Army Brat, and a UNR Alum. My Dad, a disabled Vietnam combat vet, was literally born in a dirt-floored, tar-papered shack, and my mom helped start Reno’s first domestic violence center, the Committee to Aid Abused Women. I was raised to stand up and to use my privileges and whatever else that’s been handed to me to help others access the American Dream.

Someone said we no longer have to ask ourselves what we would have done during the Holocaust or the Civil Rights struggle, because we’re doing it now. I’m inspired by the growing number of ordinary people in Nevada around the country who know a better world is possible and are stepping up with courage and taking risks.

There are way more of us who want to build a state and country that puts people and planet first than there are Mike Pence and Adam Laxalt. We will prevail because of that, and because we are not giving up!


Bob Fulkerson
State Director, PLAN Action

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