Wheeler steps down as Assembly Republican leader, Titus to take his place
Assemblywoman Robin Titus was voted the new Assembly Republican Caucus leader on Tuesday after Assemblyman Jim Wheeler stepped down from the role for personal reasons.
Privately, some members of the caucus had voiced concerns about Wheeler’s leadership style, his ability to effectively communicate a cohesive Republican strategy during the legislative session and his ability to fundraise in the 2018 election cycle. Republicans had a 13-member minority this session after losing two seats in November, leaving them unable to prevent Democrats from advancing their priorities in the body.
Wheeler’s resignation comes about 12 hours after the end of the 2019 legislative session. Wheeler had served as the Republican leader in the Assembly since the previous leader, former Assemblyman Paul Anderson, resigned his seat in September 2017.
Titus, who represents Churchill and Lyon counties, was unanimously elected as the caucus’s new leader. Assembly members Tom Roberts, who represents the northwest portion of the Las Vegas Valley, and Jill Tolles, who represents a portion of Reno, were chosen as assistant co-minority leaders.
In a brief phone interview Tuesday, Titus called Wheeler a “dedicated Nevadan” who has been dedicated to the Republican party, but voiced concerns about issues with communication.
“You have to be able to communicate what you’re doing and all your deeds go unnoticed if you can’t communicate and share that with folks,” Titus said.
She touted a vision of a more inclusive Republican Party, both geographically and across gender lines.
“We can’t continue to lose Republicans, especially Republican women,” Titus said. “We have to let them know that we are a party for businesses, we are a party for the taxpayers, and we want to make sure folks recognize that.”
With most of the swing Assembly seats in Clark County, Titus said that she plans to spend a significant amount of time down Southover the next year and a half and is paring back her role in her private medical practice to do so. She also said she wants to work on getting Northern Nevadans to understand that “Clark County is not that evil monster that we think it is.”
“We need to embrace Clark County,” Titus said. “I think for me it’s recognizing that the folks in Clark County need things that I don’t necessarily see, and I need things that they don’t.”
She believes the party needs to be talking more about limited government, limited taxes, supporting small businesses and health care.
“They key for me is having a plan and going forward, having some thoughtful dialogue and moving forward,” Titus said. “I will tell you my goal is not to just have 13 of us here next time around.”
Wheeler could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Updated 6-4-19 at 5:07 p.m. to include comments from Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus.