The 2008 presidential campaign began on Oct. 20, 2006, at Teamsters Local 533 in Reno

EARLY START (Oct. 20, 2006) — Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a former member of the Teamsters union, campaigns for gubernatorial nominee State Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, left, at the Teamsters Local 533 hall in Reno. The Democratic leaders were welcomed by Local 533 Secretary-Treasurer Mark Tracy, right. In the November general election, Sen. Titus narrowly lost to GOP nominee Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev. She will return to the state senate as minority leader in the 2007 legislative session.

Governor Tom Vilsack is the senior Democratic governor in the country today. He is mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2008 and was the first such national figure to visit northern Nevada after the August, 2006, primary election.

He hails from Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation presidential preference caucuses every four years. The Democratic National Committee recently placed Nevada on the national political map by designating the Silver State as the second in the nation to hold precinct caucuses. As a result, 2008 presidential contenders will be visiting Nevada often over the next two years to listen to the concerns of voters in Washoe County and statewide.

Columnist Erin Neff Vilsack: V for Victory?
Las Vegas Review-Journal 12-7-2006
Vilsack lures Democratic voters at UNLV
Las Vegas Review-Journal 12-4-2006
Las Vegas Sun version


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Teamsters will fight to reinstate waiver program

NDOT waiver program could end this year
Commercial drivers seeking waivers must apply under federal program instead
by Lenita Powers
Copyright © 2006 Reno Gazette-Journal

RENO, Nev.(excerpted from the 2-1-2006 edition) — When a Nevada waiver program ends later this year, commercial drivers who are missing an arm or depend on insulin to treat their diabetes still will be able to operate trucks and buses in Nevada.

However, it will mean the end of the road for Victor Gierhart and other Nevada truck drivers who take medication to control their seizures, even if a doctor says they can drive safely….When the state program ends, commercial drivers applying for new licenses will have to apply for one under the Federal Medical Waiver Program, the DMV notice states.

Although commercial drivers who have lost a limb, have insulin-dependent diabetes or decreased vision in one eye can qualify for a waiver and obtain a commercial driver's license under the federal program, drivers with seizure disorders can't, the notice states.

"So the federal program will grant waivers to drivers with visual problems, diabetes or loss of limbs, but not people like me who haven't had a seizure since they've been on medication," said Gierhart, who's 56 and a native of Lovelock.

Henderson mayor, gubernatorial candidate, supports retention of DMV medical waiver
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Reno Gazette-Journal 2-3-2006

"I feel like I'm being discriminated against."

A local Teamsters representative said the union might lobby the 2007 Legislature to get the Nevada program reinstated.

Gierhart said he suffered a seizure after being shot in the head in a 1998 hunting accident but has not had one since he was put on the anti-seizure medication Depakote shortly after that. Common side effects include abnormal thinking, depression, dizziness, loss of coordination and insomnia, according to the Physician's Desk Reference.

"I have to go to the doctor and take blood tests to make sure the Depakote level is where it should be and show proof to the DMV every six months that my doctor says it's safe for me to drive," said Gierhart, who operates a mammoth Caterpillar hauling ore for the Couer Rochester mine northeast of Lovelock.

Gierhart, who would still be able to get a regular Nevada driver's license, said the change will put an end to his 25 years as a truck driver.

DMV Director Ginny Lewis decided to discontinue the waiver program to protect the state from liability, said agency spokesman Tom Jacobs....

Some states have boards with medical experts that review waiver requests, Jacobs said, but since Nevada has no such review board, the DMV opted to go by the federal guidelines….Nevada, which, began its waiver program in 1992, has 308 commercially licensed drivers with waivers: 110 for medical conditions and 198 for visual acuity problems….

Mark Tracy, secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters Union is considering lobbying legislators to reestablish the Nevada waiver program.

"We were very upset when they decided to eliminate the program and take away a benefit for Nevada employees," Tracy said.

He said the local represents about 2,200 commercially licensed drivers in Northern Nevada but could not say how many driver under waivers.

"It's a concern any time our members would suffer, and obviously, we have a lot or members who drive with commercial licenses," Tracy said.

"This is such a totally new issue, but we probably are going to get our lobbyists involved." LOCAL 533 ARCHIVES Teamsters 533 home page

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