Professor takes new role, among highest titles for Nevada representatives
Nevada has gained yet another position of influence in Congress.
Representative-elect and UNLV professor Dina Titus has been named a majority whip for her region in Congress.
“[The position] will allow me to be an advocate for Nevada,” Titus said.
The newly elected Congresswoman spent time in the capital following the Nov. 4 election, attending orientation, where she picked out an office, met with leading politicians and rallied for the whip position.
“It was very exciting…There’s a feeling in the air in Washington,” she said
Students such as Diane Clarito reacted positively to the news, hoping Titus’ election signified a change in Nevada politics.
“I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “As a state we’re growing and becoming more diverse.”
Titus will be one of two whips from Region 5, representing the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Regional whips are elected by their peers and assist party leaders in securing votes on legislation.
The honor is a large one, according to Titus, who won over her colleagues despite her freshman status.
“I kind of made the argument that we needed geographic balance,” she said.
She further explained that she hopes the post will allow her to push for increased cooperation between Western states, which she believes face many of the same problems including water and energy conservation.
The appointment gives Titus power that may boost Nevada’s political clout according to UNLV professor and Nevada historian Eugene Moehring.
“That’s good for a little state like us that doesn’t have that many people,” he said.
Moehring went on to say that although it may seem Nevada’s national political importance increased greatly during the recent election, the state has always played a key role in politics.
“We’ve always had very powerful senators from the first days of our statehood,” Moehring said. “Dina Titus and [Senator] Harry Reid and [Representative] Shelley Berkley…are just the most recent chapter in a very long story.”
Titus agreed that Nevada is “well-positioned” and holds a significant status in U.S. politics for its size.
“I think we’re definitely a big player,” she said.
With Reid as the Senate majority leader, Berkley holding several noteworthy committee positions and now Titus as a regional whip, she believes Nevada has accumulated a hefty influence.
“That’s a lot of power,” Titus said. “At least [in proportion] to our size.”
Nevada has correctly identified the winner of every presidential election since 1912, with the exception of the 1976 race.
This has led some news organizations to classify the state as a ‘bellwether’ used to measure national public opinion on presidential hopefuls, a label Moehring believes is premature.
“I don’t know that we’re necessarily a bellwether,” he said. “It took us a crash on Wall Street to go for Barack Obama.”
Moehring believes that Nevada is a “cultural leader,” but in order for it to become more influential, Titus and other state politicians must unite for causes such as solar energy.
He explains that this would heighten the state’s political leverage.
“I think if we put the solar panels in Nevada…and start generating half of the country’s electricity, which we could do, then we definitely become a more important state,” he said.
Titus, who agrees that “renewable energy is the key infrastructure” Nevada needs, is currently focusing on her plans for the upcoming Congressional session.
“I am going to be an activist,” she promised.