For months, GOP frontrunner Kenny Guinn has presented himself as "union friendly" and opposed to his own party's anti-union petition campaign. He has reversed himself. Here is a verbatim transcript of Kenny Guinn's comments on the Ed Bernstein Show; taped 3-25-98; aired on KRNV TV-4 (Reno) on 3-29-98 and on KVBC TV-3 Las Vegas on or about the same date.
Ed Bernstein: There has been, in the, there seems to be somewhat of a polarization between the Republican Party and the unions. There is some ballot initiatives being circulated around, petitions. You have broken, somewhat of, into somewhat of an independent stand.
I'm not siding, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but you appear to me not to be breaking away from what the Republican political position is and have, appear to have, sided with the union on some of these issues. I want to talk with you just philosophically about the polarization and why, why you feel that is, it's not appropriate.
Kenny Guinn: Well there's two general reasons that I've taken the position. I'm not for either side at this point. I'm looking at, as an individual, who have always said that you need to put yourself in a position to stand for what you stand for, and I stand for fairness. The doctrine of fairness is very important to me, Ed.
And so, when I look at the initiative petition that's been issued by the state Republican Party working with some individuals in the southern Nevada, I look at that and say wait a minute. As Republicans, we want less government in our lives, less intrusiveness, less rules and regulations.
And so now, all of a sudden, we want to take this and put on an initiative petition which means that it's changing the constitution of the state of Nevada and every word goes in that and once it's passed twice by the voters, then the legislative body sanctions it, which they would, ah, it takes six years to change a single word in that and this initiative petition's put together by lawyers and there's a number of pages and there's can be discrepancies in it and if it's not good for the people it takes you about a six year period to change a single word in it and so my thrust is let's don't initiate our legislative process through changing the constitution of Nevada.
Let's put it on a referendum and a referendum, I must tell you, is entirely different. It, a referendum, says the people want this changed and you legislators, by our vote, says you'll put it into law. And when you put something into law as opposed to this initiative petition, the law then gets so that there is debate, there is open debate by both, everybody who is concerned. If there's two sides or three sides, they all get to debate the issues in a public forum. You can take out things that you think that will hurt business people, take out things you think that hurts the unions over here, and it becomes the process that we've used.
And so that's what I'm looking at is because you see if we start legislating and making our rules and setting forth what we want as individuals in this state by changing our constitution through this initiative petition, then what we're doing is we're going to say to other people: if you want to go out and double the business tax, just get 46,000 signatures and double the business tax and then the business person has got one of two choices. You either pay those taxes or get out of business, and that's not a fair way because there's not an open debate and discussion.
It's passed on a petition that people don't get the good background on and so that's my concern. It's the process that is bothering me and I just have to stick with that. I'm not a, if that's what the people want and they vote it on a referendum and it goes there and it goes through the process, that's what we do with our laws today. And that's critical to me, to have open debate and discussion on a law that I would want to get passed. I don't want to pass a law even if I could just sign it. I want the people to debate it and to take a position on it and then to have a open vote on it from a bipartisan position and that's what I think is important to us because initiative petition, running your government by that, will hurt our people. It will hurt our people who can't afford to get these initiative petitions and then truly the rich and the powerful can get those petitions out and that's wrong.
Ed Bernstein: Thank you very much, Ken Guinn, candidate for governor.
Kenny Guinn: Thank you, Ed.
Bernstein: Thanks. See you next week.