As Congress prepares to return from its August recess, Nevada progressives gathered outside U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s (R) Las Vegas office on Tuesday to wish him a safe return to D.C. next week… And a happy retirement next year. To honor Senator Heller’s many flip-flops on a number of issues, they threw a retirement luau party complete with flip-flops, leis, and some light beachside reading materials.

“If you won’t do the right thing for Nevada, then you need to go.”
– Annette Magnus, Battle Born Progress

Photo by Andrew Davey

Battle Born Progress Executive Director Annette Magnus kicked off the luau with an explanation for the end-of-summer retirement party: “It’s time that we hold [Heller] accountable. […] He hasn’t been great for Nevadans.”

Dean Heller's "retirement party." LIVEWatch Part 2 here:

Posted by Nevada Forward on Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More from retirement luau outside Dean Heller's Las Vegas office

Posted by Nevada Forward on Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Other speakers then stepped forward to curate Heller’s summer of flip-flops, from his endorsement of Donald Trump nine months after the 2016 election to his vote for Trumpcare after he promised not to vote for Trumpcare. Mi Familia Vota’s Alicia Contreras wasted no time in calling out Heller’s sudden support for Trump’s border wall while giving the appearance of “carefully distancing himself” from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. Contreras asked Heller to “stop flip-flopping, and start standing for our communities.”

“You don’t have the right to say you stand with our communities when you stand in silence.”
– Alicia Contreras, Mi Familia Vota Nevada

Activists then handed off a “retirement package” to be delivered to Heller’s office. The package included some reading materials, such as Battle Born Progress’ “breakup letter” to Heller and a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale. NARAL Nevada supplied the novel that inspired the hit TV show to remind Heller of his notorious double flip-flop on Planned Parenthood health care funding (opposed, then supported, then opposed again) in April.

Constituents deliver "retirement package" to Senator Dean Heller's Las Vegas office.

Posted by Nevada Forward on Wednesday, August 30, 2017

NARAL’s Cyndy Hernandez joined health care activist and Stage 4 cancer patient Laura Packard in handing the “retirement package” to Heller’s staff upstairs. Packard was particularly motivated to let them know she hasn’t forgotten his broken promises on health care.

“I have tried to get a hold of [Heller], and there’s nobody home. He just doesn’t care.”
– Laura Packard

Photo by Andrew Davey

After Packard returned downstairs, she spoke with us about why she visited Heller’s office this week. “I felt betrayed. Senator Heller is my Senator. My life depends on having insurance. […] I have tried to get a hold of him, and there’s nobody home. He just doesn’t care.”

Packard didn’t let up when asked about Heller’s latest health care gambit, an Obamacare repeal bill he signed onto alongside Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana). She pointed to Nevada’s loss of $250 million worth of federal funds under the proposal as further proof that Heller doesn’t care about his own home state. “All these [health care repeal] plans would hurt people like me, people with pre-existing conditions.”
Packard then offered her assessment of why Heller has jeopardized his own future in Congress. “He has no spine. He tries to make everyone happy, and he makes no one happy. […] If he stood for something, I think people would have more respect for him.”
{Disclaimer: Battle Born Progress is the sibling organization of the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, which is the parent organization of Nevada Forward.}