Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: October 30, 1961, Jamaica, NY

Home: Henderson

Education: PA St. U., B.S. 1984; Philadelphia Col. of Osteopathic Medicine, D.O. 1988; U.S. Army War Col., M.S.S. 2006.

Professional Career: Emergency physician, Southwest Emergency Associates, 1992-98; medical dir., Uniformed Services U. of Health Sciences, 1998-2003; emergency physician, U. Medical Center, 2002-10; president, Specialized Medical Operations Inc., 2002-10.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: Married (Lisa) , 3 children

Republican Joe Heck was known as a moderate in the Nevada legislature, but he defeated freshman Democratic Rep. Dina Titus in 2010 by embracing some of the then-ascendant tea party’s positions. He has since returned to his moderate ways.

Heck was born in Queens, N.Y., and raised in Pennsylvania in a tight-knit family where he says he learned the values of service and giving back. As a young man, he became a volunteer firefighter and ambulance attendant. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in health education, he got a doctorate of osteopathy from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and went on to complete a residency in emergency medicine at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. In 1992, his work took him to southern Nevada. Heck said that his career in emergency medicine put him on the “front lines of health care. … I get to see what works and what doesn’t work,” he told National Journal.

A member of the Army Reserve, Heck was called to active duty in 1996 during the Bosnian war and was deployed again in Iraq, where he ran an Army hospital in 2010. “I was militarily inclined as a kid,” he said. “I thought about going into the service earlier, but I had decided I wanted to go into medicine and didn’t want the military to dictate what my specialty would be.” From 1998 to 2003, Heck was the medical director of the casualty care research center of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He provided medical support for federal law enforcement agencies, and the experience sparked his interest in the political process. Returning to Nevada, he won a state Senate seat in 2004, and also started a medical consulting business.

Heck considered running for the governorship in Nevada, but decided instead to challenge Titus, a former state Senate colleague, in 2010. With the tea party gaining strength in Nevada, and excited by Sharron Angle’s challenge to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Heck tacked to the right during the campaign, taking more conservative, tea party-style positions than he had as a state senator. He called for the abolition of the U.S. Education Department and the addition of optional private accounts to Social Security. On the stump, Heck described himself as conservative but “a very pragmatic lawmaker, unafraid to cross party lines.”

Titus accused him of using “the Republican talking points” and ran an ad calling Heck and Angle “two peas in a pod with the same bad ideas.” She also characterized him as dangerous to women for voting against a bill that would have required insurance companies to cover a vaccine for the HPV virus, a precursor to cervical cancer. Her ads featured testimonials from homeowners thanking her for saving their houses from foreclosure.

Heck had substantial help from outside Republican groups, including Americans for Tax Reform, which spent $600,000 for him. But Titus got help from AFSCME and the SEIU unions representing government workers and service industry employees. Heck raised $1.5 million, while Titus raised and spent much more, $2.6 million. Still, Heck won, although only narrowly, 48% to 47.5%, with three minor candidates splitting the rest. Heck’s victory margin was 1,748 votes out of about 268,000 cast. (Titus won the neighboring 1st District seat in 2012).

In the House, Heck landed on good committees—Armed Services and Intelligence—as a reward for beating an incumbent Democrat, and got a seat on the Steering Committee, which makes committee assignments. But he proved to be far less conservative than most other GOP freshmen. He distanced himself in March 2012 from presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s call to let the housing foreclosure process “hit bottom,” saying in response, “We have been bouncing along the bottom for years.” He introduced a bill that month creating a federal program to ensure fresh loans to foreclosed homeowners. His other legislative proposals included an attempt to streamline federal workforce training programs and to increase foreign tourism by speeding up the process for foreigners to receive travel visas.

Democrats hoped to snatch the seat back in 2012, although Titus was running in the neighboring 1st District after redistricting moved her home there. Heck’s Democratic opponent was John Oceguera, the state Assembly speaker. Oceguera drew poor reviews for his evasive answers on a political talk show, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that he collected $452,516 in salary and unused sick leave for working just five months in 2011 as an assistant fire chief in North Las Vegas. National Democrats decided to focus on helping Steven Horsford in the neighboring 4th District. Meanwhile, Heck made regular visits to Hispanic chambers of commerce, Filipino businesses, and even an out-of-district Chinatown where many of his constituents shop, to connect with minority voters. He also outraised Oceguera, $2.4 million to $1.5 million, and won with 50% of the vote to Oceguera’s 43%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3252

(202) 225-2185

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 132
Washington, DC 20515-2803

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3252

(202) 225-2185

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 132
Washington, DC 20515-2803

DISTRICT OFFICE

(702) 387-4941

(702) 837-0728

8872 South Eastern Avenue Suite 220
Las Vegas, NV 89123

DISTRICT OFFICE

(702) 387-4941

(702) 837-0728

8872 South Eastern Avenue Suite 220
Las Vegas, NV 89123

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(702) 803-1185

PO Box 750114
Las Vegas, NV 89136

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(702) 803-1185

PO Box 750114
Las Vegas, NV 89136

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(702) 803-1185

PO Box 753908
Las Vegas, NV 89136

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(702) 803-1185

PO Box 753908
Las Vegas, NV 89136

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Noelle Verhelst
Legislative Aide

Aerospace

John Mark Kolb
Legislative Aide

Agriculture

Kelsey Wolfgram
Legislative Correspondent

Animal Rights

John Mark Kolb
Legislative Aide

Appropriations

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Budget

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Commerce

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Crime

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Education

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Environment

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Finance

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Foreign

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

John Mark Kolb
Legislative Aide

Govt Ops

John Mark Kolb
Legislative Aide

Gun Issues

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Health

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Noelle Verhelst
Legislative Aide

Immigration

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Eric Skoczenski
Marine Corps Fellow

Judiciary

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Military

Eric Skoczenski
Marine Corps Fellow

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Science

Noelle Verhelst
Legislative Aide

Small Business

Noelle Verhelst
Legislative Aide

Social Security

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Technology

Noelle Verhelst
Legislative Aide

Telecommunications

John Mark Kolb
Legislative Aide

Trade

Scott Hughes
Acting Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Assistant

Transportation

John Mark Kolb
Legislative Aide

Veterans

Eric Skoczenski
Marine Corps Fellow

James Langenderfer
Legislative Director (On Leave)

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Michael Lisowski
Legislative Assistant

Women

Noelle Verhelst
Legislative Aide

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Joe Heck
Votes: 137,244
Percent: 50.36%
John Oceguera
Votes: 116,823
Percent: 42.87%
2012 PRIMARY
Joe Heck
Votes: 20,798
Percent: 90.05%
Chris Dyer
Votes: 2,298
Percent: 9.95%
2010 GENERAL
Joe Heck
Votes: 128,916
Percent: 48.13%
Dina Titus-OLD
Votes: 127,168
Percent: 47.47%
2010 PRIMARY
Joe Heck
Votes: 36,898
Percent: 68.8%
Steven Nohrden
Votes: 8,853
Percent: 16.51%
Ed Bridges
Votes: 6,066
Percent: 11.31%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (48%)

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