Joe Heck may have the skilled hands of a physician, but his campaign for senator may need a more personal touch.
At first glance, Congressman Joe Heck’s official biography reads a great deal like a Wikipedia article.
It highlights his extensive background in community service, the multiple committees he has been a part of, his impressive 35-year history as a physician, and his success as a small business owner. However, what his biography provides in qualifications it lacks in personality.
“He [Joe Heck] enjoys reading and playing/coaching lacrosse,” states Heck’s biography on his website heck.house.gov. “Joe and his wife Lisa, a registered nurse, have three children: Monica, Chelsea, and Joseph III. They live in Henderson and have two rescue dogs, Aspen and Denver.”
As a member of the millennial generation and a new voter, a candidate’s character is important as I consider how I cast my ballot. I want to know who they are beyond the political posturing. I emailed the congressman to set up an interview to get a better sense of who he is to write a more comprehensive profile on him.
I am curious about what drew him to medicine. What gives him the strength to keep going, even on the hard days? Unfortunately, my questions would have to go unanswered.
“The bummer is that he is unreachable for most of the day today so I am not sure we will be able to meet your deadline,” replied Greg Lemon, Heck’s communications director. “The video on Heck4Nevada.us lays out some stuff that I think can relate to your questions.”
With a response from the congressman out of the question, I tried a different approach. I called the Friends of Joe Heck office in Las Vegas, who produced the video Lemon recommended, to interview the people working on his campaign. Maybe they could tell me why Heck would make a good senator, and why they are willing to volunteer for his campaign.
“I have never met anybody with better work ethic than Dr. Heck,” said Julian Batz, field director for Heck’s campaign.
Batz started as an intern at the Friends of Joe Heck office and now handles all of the interns and volunteers, logistics and recruitment. Batz stayed on as field director following his internship, because he was so impressed by Heck’s devotion and hard work.
“Dr. Heck actually goes to his events and has dialogues with the people he works with. He actually reads all of his bills,” said Batz. “Most people hold him in high opinion; they really do like the guy.”
Batz believes Heck is the obvious choice for Nevada’s senate due to his extensive experience in politics and foreign affairs, having served as a brigadier general.
My interview with Batz helped me understand why Joe Heck is the kind of politician a person could root for. In addition to the work involved in being a husband, father, general, doctor, and small business owner, Heck still gives his time and energy to serving Nevada.
However, I still wanted to know more about Joe Heck the man, not just the brand. I watched the video on the website. I learned Heck comes from a family of immigrants; When he was younger, his father was shot during a hold up at his work and spent three years recovering, motivating Heck to get a part time job to help support his family financially. Eventually, his family’s house was foreclosed, and they had to rely on their neighbors and social services to get by.
“I’ve seen suffering in my family and in our Nevada families,” Heck explained during the video. “That’s why I’ve devoted my life to healing the hurt, mending broken lives, and fixing problems. I’m a healer, that’s who I am and that’s what I do.”
It was nice to finally see some of Heck’s personality featured in his campaign. As a voter, I enjoy hearing anecdotes from a candidate’s life because it helps me relate. Even if the information seems trivial, it gives me a sense of who they are as a person.