Hillary Rodham Clinton takes on western issues, Syrian refugees

Reno residents wait to get a glimpse of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton after she toured Crossroads an Substance Abuse Facility sponsored by Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Reno, Nev/ (AP Photo/Lance Iversen)

Reno residents wait to get a glimpse of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton after she toured Crossroads an Substance Abuse Facility sponsored by Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Reno, Nev/ (AP Photo/Lance Iversen)

RENO — In a roundtable discussion with Nevada newspaper reporters on Monday, Hillary Rodham Clinton took on key western states issues including the drought, ownership of public lands and the 1872 mining law.

While her take on the drought — regional and national collaboration — will find receptive ears, her comments on the other two issues will probably raise some hackles.

“I understand how important mining is to Nevada,” she said.

And she said she understands that states want mining to pay its fair share to the states.

She said the mining law and miners’ use of public lands has raised “a lot of questions — what does the public get back, what do local communities get back?”

That law has been fiercely defended by western states’ members in Congress.

But Clinton made it clear she doesn’t think the 1872 law should be set in stone.

“There are a lot of reasons why an 1872 law, rightfully, should be updated,” she said.

Clinton said she couldn’t say what priority her administration would give to that effort but that, she supports states and cities getting their fair share.

Asked about her reaction to the perennial push by western states to claim ownership of more of the lands how owned by the federal government (Nevada is 86 percent federally owned), she came down clearly against what she described as “a long and contentious effort” to claim those lands from the federal government.

“I’m not prepared to do that,” she said.

But Clinton said the drought has made water issues even more important in the west.

“We have to take a hard look at the whole region,” she said. “We’d like the federal government to be good partners.”

She said the situation across large parts of the west is going to just get more critical.

“There’s no doubt we do need more conservation,” she said.

Clinton defended herself when asked if she was too close to Wall Street bankers and contributors to impose sanctions and restrictions on them. She said she was the one in 2007 who warned of the impending crisis and said he plans for the financial sector would be tougher than any of her opponents — especially the Republicans.

Under her plan, she said, banks won’t be too big to fail and that their executives, “should be held accountable, bonuses should be targeted for paying fines.”

“I respect the people who say we can’t let the banks do this again,” she said of the recession. “I won’t let the banks do this again.

“I think I have a better, more comprehensive and tougher approach,” she said.

She said the ongoing Republican push to further reduce regulations and oversight in the U.S. is a strong reason to elect her instead.

“It’s important you have a president who will not go along with the Republicans in Congress,” she said.

She said that goes for the issue of guns and terrorists as well.

“It’s deeply distressing that Republicans in Congress will not put people on the no-fly list on the list of those prohibited from getting weapons,” she said.

Asked about the fact that gender hasn’t been an issue in this campaign when, 20 years ago, it would have been front and center, she said, “I think it’s good news.”

She said there is much greater awareness and acceptance now of women in leadership roles and a willing ness to judge people on their merits.

Earlier Wednesday, she stopped by Comma Coffee on Carson Street in Carson City to visit with supporters. She then toured Crossroads, a public-private partnership between Washoe County Social Services and Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada, before hosting a rally at Edward L. Pine Middle School.

She said hard-line stances against admitting refugees to the United States are a mistake because they hurt law enforcement’s ability to build ties within Muslim communities.

The U.S. should not want to send a message that gives any support to terrorists looking create divisions between the U.S. and Muslims, Clinton said, adding, “That is not smart,”

“If you’re in law enforcement, ... you want the people in the communities that you are looking to get information from to feel like they want to help you,” Clinton said. “And if the message from people who are running for president, for example, is that we don’t want to take any Muslims whatsoever, that’s not good for law enforcement.”

Clinton was campaigning in Nevada amid calls for new restrictions on refugees fleeing war-torn Syria in the aftermath of attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“Let’s not be casting this broad, negative rejection of everybody who might be Muslim. That is not smart to protect ourselves,” Clinton said. “And I want people to understand — that is a law enforcement issue.”

She said later at a rally at a Reno middle school that “these terrorists are killers, they’re thugs, they’re criminals. They need to be treated like that. Not elevated as though they were representing a religion, because even though they claim to, they are not.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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