How Are Nevadans Feeling About Trump's Inauguration?

Jan 19, 2017

Credit ALEXA ARD

Friday, Donald Trump was sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States, and he'll be taking office with some of the lowest approval numbers in recent history. But how are Nevadans feeling about Trump's inauguration? Reno Public Radio's Paul Boger has more.

Walk through downtown Reno and it's not hard to find remnants of the last year's contentious presidential election. Campaign signs still sit in windows. Bumper stickers on cars proclaim "I'm with Her" or "Make America Great Again.

Matt Parker of Sparks, Nev.
Credit Paul Boger

Matt Parker is a locomotive engineer and union leader from Sparks and one of the 539,000 Nevadans who voted for Hillary Clinton last November. He says he doesn't trust how Trump has handled his businesses.

""I'm not optimistic about it..." says Parker, "his business interests and what's been brought to light on everything creates a huge, huge, perception that there's going to be conflicts of interest."

Parker's not alone. Polls conducted by CNN and ORC International as well as The Washington Post and ABC show Trump will take office with a national approval rating hovering around 40 percent.

But some Republican state leaders believe Trump represents an opportunity to grow Nevada's economy.

"I think we have a very pro-business president right now," says Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-Minden). "I think the state of Nevada can take advantage of this atmosphere and move forward in business and diversify much, much more. And we'll have help from the White House instead of eight years of the White House stepping on us."

For Reno mother Andy Cassidy, Trump's victory brings about the possibility for change, and people should be excited.

Andy Cassidy of Reno, Nev.

"They're allowed to have their own opinions, but when you're bad mouthing somebody that's going to be your president just shows what kind of character you have. I think that's pretty hypocritical. People are just upset because they have to change."

To the west, California has already taken steps to prepare for a Trump Administration by hiring former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to take on any fights against the Republican White House especially when it comes to immigration reform.

Nevada has not taken such concrete steps, but in his State of the State address earlier this week, Governor Brian Sandoval told lawmakers he will fight any attempt by federal officials to reopen the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Storage Facility in Southern Nevada.

"Let's face it, continuing down a path that seeks to force this unsafe and unwanted project on Nevada is a waste of time and money and only gets the country farther away from solving its nuclear waste problem," says Sandoval.

Democrats worry Trump's promises to cut federal programs may complicate lawmakers ability to craft a state budget for the next two years.

"It would detrimental to the people of Nevada if federal funding gets cut in very important areas like healthcare or Medicaid," says Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D-Reno). "Those are programs that support our low-income seniors. They support some of our most vulnerable communities, and no person should be left in a spot where they don't have resources at all."

Trump lost the general election by less about 27,000 votes in Nevada -- that's less than two-and-a-half points -- and after a bitter campaign it'll be up to the new president to build consensus.

For now, Nevadans will just have to wait and see. . .