Autoosa Elizabeth Kojoori
State Senator Patricia Farley on Roberson, Recall and Good Leadership
The State of Nevada program that aired on Thursday October 12, 2017 was discussing the possible recalling of State Senator Patricia Farley. Carrie Kaufman interviewed Senator Farley about the recall, her experience of being in the republican caucus, and Senator Michael Roberson’s role in the petition for the recall. Senators Joyce Woodhouse, Nicole Cannizzaro and Patricia Farley are all at risk of being recalled.
Senator Farley says that she does not understand the reason for the recall campaign against her. When Farley was asked by Kaufman if she knew who was funding the efforts for the recall she responded by saying they do not know who is funding it, who is behind it, or what the reasons are for it. However, Senator Roberson was her former caucus leader before she left the Republican party to become an Independent and she feels that his actions before the recall demonstrate that he had a strategy to get the senate back. Even though Senator Farley is not running for re-election she is still up for recall which is a fact she says puzzles her. She believes that the recall is part of a campaign by the Republicans to regain control of the state senate. Farley mentions in the interview that John Gibson, the Secretary of State was told he had to sign the petition even though he did not know the details of the recall but was given a couple of reasons why. Senator Farley claims that Gibson told her he admires her greatly and therefore she fails to see the reason why he signed the petition. She is firmly convinced that Roberson is responsible for this because he has publicly supported the recall in the media as well as on social media platforms like Twitter.
Kaufman also asks Senator Farley if anyone is saying why they filed the petition and Farley responded with a “No”. Kaufman then asked that if they get enough signatures then they have to say why before the vote and Farley says yes but the bad part is that they get to go knock on doors and they are telling constituents that they support Senator Farley and that if they sign the petition it will be against the recall. Farley also said that she received calls from constituents they signed in support of her and she had to tell them that that was not what the petition was for. Farley then urged people that were told they were signing in support of her to call the party back and ask to have their signature removed from the petition. Farley stated that 15-20 people called her that were “duped” into signing the petition but she has no idea how many people meant to sign it.
Senator Farley is also concerned because if the petition goes through it will not only cost the people of Nevada money, but that the re-election would have to be held during the holidays. The recall move is set to cost the state a rough estimate of $150,000 according to the Senator but with early voting and the need to set up poll sites this number will most likely increase. The Senator argues that the recall is politically motivated and will only cost taxpayers’ money and is a personal vendetta by Senator Roberson. Farley states, “The whole recall process is insane and that the intent of recall is for malfeasance or ethical issues.” There is also a loss to businesses because of the political instability in the state which is discouraging potential investors from the state.
She believes the reason that Republicans are against the three of them is that there is set to be redistricting and the Republicans see this as a way of getting more of their people into the state senate. Senator Farley says that she left the Republican caucus because of the structure in the caucus. She states a case where she was put in committees which met late at night by Senator Roberson even though he knew that she was a single mother with young kids and when asked by Kaufman if she confronted Senator Roberson Farley stated, “Absolutely, I sent an email to the entire caucus about committees meeting late, but they didn’t say anything.” Another issue Senator Farley had was the prevailing wage issue. She said that three was a bill that came out that funded the schools but basically killed the prevailing wage. Farley said the committee would have “Poison Pill Bills” which was basically that they would tie two things together and one would be that everyone will vote for and the poison pill would be the piece that one side does not like. She says they would spend a whole session doing this and that it was very partisan and divisive and that there would be months were decisions were not being made and this slowed down people jobs. Kaufman asked Farley if she ever talked about the need to stop doing poison pill on prevailing wage in the caucus. Farley states that she tried but apparently her eighteen years in construction and the $2,000,000 she signed in paychecks in prevailing wage did not make her qualified. She even goes on to say that the Assistant Majority Leader told her she was confusing prevailing wage with material and then they stopped talking about it with her. Farley is also asked by Kaufman about the case of former Senator Debbie Smith. Farley tells her that Senator Smith was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to attend various sessions of treatment that consumed her energy. Senator Roberson is said to have mistreated her by scheduling her bills for late in the evening when she was exhausted and could not concentrate properly and if she did stay then the bills would roll over to the next day. Roberson was keeping her from fronting bills which were important to her. Her bills were about education and these matters were close to her and Roberson stood in her way even though the bills eventually went through. Farley even states that Senator Smith’s family asked the committee to stop pushing the bills that were important to her late at night when she was tired. Senator Farley speculates on the fact that this is also a sexist move because all the Senators being targeted for recall are women. In the interview Kaufman states, “There are a lot of people who say that this recall is sexist, and that Senator Roberson is targeting strong women, there are a lot of people who think that it’s not sexist, that it’s just politics” and asked Senator Farley her take on that. Farley thinks that they have to break apart the two parties. She says republicans aren’t sexist and that there are certain people within the party that she does not approve of their actions, but she does not want to come across as bashing the Republican party. Senator Farley’s point when she says there is sexism is that when certain people get to leadership positions and there is jealousy or inadequacy and particularly maybe against the opposite gender you will see behaviors come out that are destructive to the unification of a team and disadvantaging to a gender. She believes that is what is in place with the Senate Caucus of 2015. Farley also states that this is the first time in the nation that Nevada is second with the number of women within the legislature session and lo and behold three women are up for recall right after that session and she thinks that says a lot.
Senator Farley also says that she was surprised that the Republican party was not in any way keen on keeping promises. She cites a case where she had promised firefighters to front a “heart and lung” bill which is basically a special workers compensation for firefighters and police officers, but Senator Roberson was not interested in having it passed even though she had made the promise on behalf of the Republicans. She also claims that the Republican showed her disrespect by telling her how to vote without being consulted. Farley claims that women in the legislature are being treated differently. Her opinion also seems to not have been respected based on the fact that she is a woman. She says that words were put in her mouth in many situations under Roberson’s leadership and disregarded even though she had expertise as a businesswoman. She further says that she was more respected when she joined the Democratic party and was given a chance to be heard.
KNPR News has reached out to State Senator Michael Roberson to come on KNPR’s State of Nevada to respond to what Farley has said. Senator Roberson responded with the following statement on the Nevada Senate Republican Caucus website:
“Senator Farley has decided to end her time as a state senator by knowingly spreading falsehoods and making outrageous claims that have no basis in fact. It is sad because many women do encounter horrible situations and work environments and they must have their voices heard. When someone makes false claims, it hurts all those who have legitimate issues. Politically-motivated slander is gutter politics, it drags everyone down, and shows the true character of an individual.” Nevada State Senator Becky Harris also says that Michael Roberson is a person who has shown respect for differing views. Senator Harris says that Roberson is a strong supporter for women in the government. Jodi Stephens who is a former director of the Senate Republican Caucus says that Senator Roberson has shown unprecedented effort in recruiting female candidates into higher office. Jodi Poley who works as a legislative assistant to Senator Michael Roberson says that he is a class act who has never acted unprofessionally or in a sexist way. All the supporters of Roberson seem to say that State Senator Farley is being ridiculous in her claims.
Kaufman, C. (2017, October 12). State Senator Farley On Roberson, Recall and Good Leadership. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://knpr.org/knpr/2017-10/state-senator-farley-roberson-recall-and-good-leadership