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Lee Reaches Across Aisle Despite 'Divisive And Partisan' Times

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(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., speaks at the Battle Born Progress Progressive Summit, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in North Las Vegas.

Rep. Susie Lee has been in Congress for a little over 100 days, and she has already seen a lot.

The federal government was shut down when she took her oath of office. Since then, President Donald Trump declared an emergency at the Mexican border and last week saw the release of the controversial report into Russian election meddling.

“It’s clear that this is the most divisive and partisan this country has been,” Lee told State of Nevada. “I didn’t go into it thinking it was going to be any different.”

Still, the first-term Democrat says she remains committed to bipartisanship.

“You have to make a true effort to do it,” she said. “I’ve introduced five pieces of legislation, and the majority are bipartisan bills.”

Lee chided Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for bringing so little legislation to the floor even when there is public support for it, such as a series of election and ethics reforms that have passed the Democratic-controlled House.

“Elections are the American’s public way of expressing their frustrations, so I look forward to 2020 for Americans to elect people who are going to respond to what they’d like,” she said.

Despite that frustration with the Senate, Lee is continuing to work on legislation to address funding for Title 1 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, better track bad actors in the for-profit college industry and modernize Veterans Affairs health records.

She is also working to educate other freshman congressmen and women on the dangers of the plan to bring nuclear waste to Nevada. She is warning them the plan includes moving the waste across the country.

"I keep saying... it's not a matter 'if,' it's a matter of 'when' there is going to be an accident," Lee said, "It's not just in our district. It's not just on I-15. It's on the highways all over this country."

Lee represents Nevada’s third congressional district, a seat she won last fall by defeating GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian.

Susie Lee, first-term Congresswoman

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.