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Shelley Dishes On Election Year

The great thing about attending Consumer Electronics Association events is that you oftentimes get to hear and meet members of Congress and the administration.

Today we met and heard Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), a 45-year resident of Nevada, who sounded — and was later confirmed to be — originally from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Rep. Berkley’s folksy and direct manner told those assembled at the CEA Industry Forum lunch what is likely to happen if there is an Obama administration.

For his part, Gary Shapiro, CEA president/CEO, introduced her in an equally down-home New York/Nevada

manner and volunteered his views of what an Obama or McCain Administration may be like for the CE business. (Check our video here at to debut soon.) Shelley worked for a competing show developer years ago when she first met Gary, but now they are friends and admirers.

Rep. Berkley represents Vegas and surrounding areas and said some on Capitol Hill call her “the Representative of gambling, liquor and loose women,” and then added, “and a lot of hard-working families who are trying to make a living in this economy.” And, she added, “I asked Gary at the table if I should be absolutely honest, and he said, ‘Yes.’” She certainly was.

But she did get down to cases in terms of politics and these points were thought-provoking:

  • Obama has a 3 percent to 7 percent lead in Nevada so far, a state that has voted Republican for years and could be typical of what will go on in many formerly secure Republican states on Nov. 4.
  • Democrats could gain 20 to 30 seats in the House and quoted Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) that the Democrats could gain a controlling majority in the Senate of 60 seats on Election Day.
  • In free trade, agreements are up with Korea, Panama and Columbia. While she — and many Democrats — want to move on those bills and approve them, Berkley thinks that after the election those agreements will be stopped in both Houses of Congress.
  • Card Check, a method of organizing employees into a labor union in which employers enter into an agreement to recognize the unionization of its employees if a majority of employees in a bargaining unit sign authorization forms, or “cards,” will probably be approved by the next Congress. Berkley urged CEA members to back its CEAPAC to see if changes in the bill can be made after Election Day to make it more agreeable to the CE industry.
  • Renewable energy will be as big as issue as ever if there is an Obama Administration. Rep. Berkley said that renewable energy is “an environmental and national security issue” to this country.

We’ll see if Rep. Berkley is right on Nov. 4 and beyond.