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Republican Assemblyman Rich DeLong (AD-26) (Photo: NV Leg)

On The Record With Assemblyman Rich DeLong

In Part One of an hour-long interview, Delong shares his freshman experience as an Assemblyman

By Megan Barth, May 11, 2023 2:27 pm

The Globe had the opportunity to interview freshman Republican Assemblyman and Minority Whip Rich Delong (AD-26). As a freshman Assemblyman, DeLong is no stranger to politics in that he served under three Nevada Governors on the Minerals commission for 16 years, half of that time as Chairman. Graduating from Chico State in California with a degree in Geology, Delong started his own business that led to a successful 20-year career in the mining industry,

DeLong told The Globe:

I left geology and started doing permitting work through my own company. I ran that for 20 years. Nevada had provided a number of opportunities for me and my family and I wanted to give back. I first was involved in trade associations by volunteering my time and helping run them. This was one way of giving back to the industry that has been so good to me. I then was able to serve under three separate governors on the Minerals Commission for 16 years. I did that and didn’t take a stipend. I just did it.

I was a member and Chair of the Minerals Commission. Being the Chairman gave me some really good experience on what happens on the executive side of state government, because the Minerals Commission oversaw the Division of Minerals. So, I went through several budget cycles and worked with the administrator of the division on developing their portion of the Governor’s budget. I thought after four terms–16 years– someone else should have the opportunity to step up and do that. So, last June, I chose not to run again or ask the governor to reappoint me.

Then, the district I live in became an open seat. If I was going to continue to serve, the Assembly was a logical next step and a logical time to run for it. So, that’s the reason I chose to run for the seat in in this cycle.

Am I having fun? No. But I am very happy and thankful to be here.

DeLong now serves on three committees: Government Affairs, Natural Resources, and Legislative Operations and Elections. As a committeeman on the Legislative Operations and Elections, he has seen a flurry of constitutional amendments presented this legislative session.

Republican Assemblyman Rich DeLong (AD-26) (Photo: @DeLong4NV)

Prior to our interview, the Assembly had voted on SJR7, an amendment to enshrine abortion and reproductive services into the State Constitution.

The measure passed along party lines. Delong explained his “no” vote to The Globe:

It is an amendment to enshrine “reproductive rights.” But, it’s basically enshrining abortions through full term, as well as making it illegal to prosecute anyone that comes from another state to get an abortion. It also provides immunity to abortion providers.

So, it went through our work session. It was a party-line vote in the work session. Speaker Yeager spoke in favor of it. I spoke against it. My comments were generally along the lines of, “Yes, I trust the Nevada voters but I think we’re asking them the wrong question.”

We are putting together a hodgepodge of things rather than creating an amendment that deals with a single specific issue. I have to step back and say that in 1990 there was an abortion referendum which the voters enshrined.

Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks in Nevada, no questions asked, even for minors. After 24 weeks, abortion has to be done in a hospital with medical professionals if there’s a question on the health of the mother. So that’s what current law is.

The Dobbs decision has no effect on Nevada. Nothing changed other than the Supreme Court saying, “Yep, Nevada, you control what happens in Nevada.” So, I view that as the voters in 1990 said that that’s what they wanted. If we’re going to change things, I think we should change based on what the voters said and give them the option to change the current law, rather than force an overlay in the Constitution that completely changes what the voters wanted.

I guess just a little bit of a side note…just so you know…viability has been well-established at 24 weeks and in some of the medical professionals I’ve talked to, particularly ones that deal with neonatal issues, is viability at 18 weeks. So with that in mind, you’re aborting a fetus that’s viable. The science has come so far in this area since 1990.

DeLong told the Globe that the Environmental Justice and Homeless Bill of Rights amendments are “bogged down” in the Ways and Means Committee and Delong’s bill, requiring constitutional amendments be passed during regular, not special, sessions of the legislature “never got a hearing” and was “shoved under the rug.”

Another bill that has been shoved under the rug by the Democrat-led committee is Governor Lombardo’s election integrity bill SB405. In response to a question from the Globe, Majority Leader Steve Yeager affirmed the bill would not get a hearing and Attorney General Aaron Ford curiously claimed that Voter ID laws were “unconstitutional.”

Delong responded:

In regards to this concept of bills being dead on arrival. You know, it comes down to, in my mind, that elections have consequences and we elect a lot of Democrats. They control the legislature. They set the agenda.

If we get a bunch of Republicans who end up winning, that is when I want to be able to control the agenda and determine what legislation gets through. I don’t like that there are bills I like not getting through, but I understand that’s the process we have.

Voter ID is a great issue. I don’t care whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or an Independent. A majority of people in those categories support Voter ID.

The public thinks it’s a good idea. I don’t care what Aaron Ford thinks about the constitutionality of it. The public wants it.

So, the only way to make it happen is to have the public say, “OK, this is what we want, I’m voting for who’s going to support it.” Elections have consequences. If it’s really important you, you need to vote for people who are going to try and make that happen.

Editors Note: This is Part One of Two of an hour-long interview.  Part Two will publish Friday, May 12th. Part Two will include his thoughts on the green energy revolution, mining, and his thoughts on gaining seats in the Assembly. 

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Megan Barth
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