The Anointed One goes to Laughlin, says stuff

Shortly before Christmas, the peripatetic Mark Hutchison, the state senator whom Gov. Brian Sandoval has designated as his choice for lieutenant governor, went to Laughlin to share his views.

In a speech to the Laughlin Economic Development Corporation, Hutchison touched on a wide variety of topics, according to this report that posted this week. Because only a small portion of the electorate reads the Laughlin Times, it needs wider circulation and cries out for annotation.

And I am available:

►The taxman cometh, Hutchison told the group, and he’s carrying a scythe: “[The Margins Tax] is the biggest threat to our economic recovery you can possibly imagine. It’s the biggest threat to business in Nevada in my lifetime… You can’t overstate how bad it’s going to be in the state of Nevada.”

Wait, I think he just did. Or did he? This apocalyptic language is interesting, and even though I think more and more people will be against the tax when some of the numbers come out, it also will have resonance with many, too, depending on the effectiveness of the teachers union campaign.

►Hutchison didn’t do a Sandovalian “no new taxes” pitch when he was asked about funding education, saying the case has to be made. But he indicated, in a Robersonian way, that ELL funding is a priority and implied more needs to be done: “Forty-five percent of Clark County School District is Hispanic students who are going to fail and going to continue to fail because they can’t read English. And that’s not going to help us as a state from a social services standpoint, from an economic development standpoint, from a job growth standpoint. So I think targeting spending will absolutely increase your results.”

This is reasonable and smart, but how will the GOP electorate respond? And I don’t recall Hutchison advocating for more money during Session '13 than the governor provided on either score. Oh, wait, there was that huge mining tax, but he's not talking about that anymore....

►I love this line from the story: “Gov. Sandoval has tapped Hutchison for the job of lieutenant governor, and he said that’s what sets him apart from (Sue) Lowden.”

And Hutchison said of the governor: “He encouraged me to run and he’s endorsed me. I’m not suggesting that that’s telling anybody who to vote for. But it does suggest that the governor knows me well enough and has worked with me well enough in his role as governor.”

Not telling anybody who to vote for? That’s EXACTLY what he is doing.

►Hutchison touted the controversial religious freedom law he and Barbara Cegasvke proposed and made it sound innocuous: “I was wonderfully surprised and pleased that you started [this meeting] with a prayer. We tried at the state legislative level to pass a law called the Nevada Preservation of Religious Freedom Act. I mean who can disagree with that? It basically said that before state government passes a law that infringes on your right or my right - I don’t care who you are - to exercise a religion, the government better have not just a good reason or a rational reason but a compelling state interest…. It passed the Senate but it didn’t pass the Assembly.”

This, of course, was very, very controversial. The ACLUamong others, opposed it. It passed the Senate, 14-7, never got a vote in the Assembly. If Lucy Flores needs something to excite progressives in this race, this might be it.

►When he was asked about the drone program and locating one of the facilities in Laughlin, Hutchison went into full-on rural pandering mode:  “I’ll commit to you to lead out in what I’ll call the ‘New Nevada economy’ … to lead out on those areas and to be an important voice in the rural areas. I’ve been to the rurals a lot. I spent a week in Elko. I’ve spent time in Gardnerville, in Minden. I’ve spent time in Carson City, Fallon, Fernley. I was just up in Yerington. Everybody has the same perspective, which is: ‘What are you going to do to not allow Las Vegas and Reno to run roughshod over us?’ The answer is we come down here and you all do exactly what you just said, which is ‘What are your commitments to us? What can we expect from you?’ And you get those commitments out of us and we go back and do it.”

Oh? Really? I though there was a North-South war going on, but apparently it’s not Reno vs. Vegas. General Hutchison is poised to lead a rural insurrection. Prepare the battlements, fellow urban dwellers!

(Hutchison’s primary foe, Lowden, referred to as “Laughlin business owner” in the story, speaks to the group Jan. 16).