(LAS VEGAS CBS KXNT) – Congresswoman Shelley Berkley greeted several hundred wildly enthusiastic supporters on Friday at the Painters Union hall in Henderson. Berkley was introduced by congressional candidate Dina Titus, who hopes to win her seat.
Berkley seemed undaunted by an impending ethics investigation into her interventions when University Medical Center’s kidney transplant program was threatened, and other efforts on behalf of kidney care facilities. The investigation will center on her failure to sufficiently disclose that these actions were beneficial to her husband, a physician who has interests in dialysis centers, and is on contract with UMC.
Berkley made reference to the subject during her 20-minute speech, in which she criticized her opponent, Republican incumbent Dean Heller, for his support of health care funding reforms contained in the Ryan plan, and his ongoing opposition to the federal reform just upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Nevada needs a senator who is going to fight for our patients,” she said. “Who will fight against out-of-state Washington bureaucrats coming into Nevada to close our only kidney transplant program.” Twenty seconds of wild applause followed.
The candidate spent significant time drawing distinctions between herself and Heller, whom she blasted for his votes on taxes and health care, and his positions on business and women’s issues.
She reviewed her own biography, familiar from frequently retelling at political events. Berkley’s father, who attends her events in a campaign T-shirt bearing her name, was a waiter, and she did a string of jobs including shoe-shine girl on her way to success. She touts her father’s ability to support the family and put two daughters through college on a waiter’s earnings.