“This is a right to work state and a job is a job. It doesn’t matter what it is,” Velez said at a press conference Wednesday in Reno discussing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “We cannot have millions of people unemployed.”
Paul McKenzie, secretary-treasurer of the Northern Nevada Building Trades Association, cited the New York Times’ recent article on Romney’s leadership at Bain Capital, a private equity firm the Republican presidential candidate co-founded, as proof that Romney will not focus his attention to creating local jobs.
“He closed down stores in Winnemucca, Fallon and Elko with the collapse of Bain though he was able to sell the stock for $170 million,” McKenzie said. “Combining his experience at Bain and his policies in the state of Massachusetts, we have learned that this is how his economy works.”
McKenzie and Velez expressed concern about Romney’s plan to eliminate taxes on foreign income. Velez said it would make it “easier than ever” to ship jobs overseas.
Velez began supporting President Barack Obama four years ago after he visited Wingfield Park in downtown Reno. She said the fall of her small business would be a trend if Romney were elected to manage the economy.
“Small businesses have tight budgets and limited funding as it is, and he has shown lack of respect for small businesses,” she said.
Nevada’s struggle with a high unemployment rate and jobless benefits has been a popular topic during the election season. Though Nevada still holds the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 11.6 percent, the Associated Press reported that state economist Bill Anderson said 16,319 initial jobless benefits claims were filed in May — a 9 percent decrease from one year ago and the lowest in the past two years.
On June 18, officials announced that Nevada’s unemployment rate has fallen low enough to disqualify it from State Extended Benefits that assist Nevadans who have depleted other jobless benefits, according to the AP. The benefits provide up to 20 weeks of unemployment checks and Nevada would need to be at a 12 percent three-month average unemployment to be eligible for the program. The state’s unemployment rate currently sits at 11.8 percent.
Economists and officials believe that the unemployment rate is stabilizing in Nevada, but employment might grow more slowly than it did before the recession. The most recent unemployment numbers for the Reno-Sparks area show unemployment at 11.5 percent in May, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.