GR US

Greek-American U.S. Rep. Dina Titus Talks to TNH

Αssociated Press

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., speaks at a voter mobilization event on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Democratic Rep. Greek-American Dina Titus was reelected in the 1st Congressional District in Nevada.

Titus, the Dean of Nevada’s congressional delegation, won a rematch with Republican Joyce Bentley. She grew up in a small town in Georgia, where her grandfather operated a restaurant, with no Greek school and no Greek church around. But she learned the Hellenic principles that remain close to her heart. She was born in 1950 in Thomasville, Georgia and she earned her degrees at William & Mary, the University of Georgia, and Florida State University.

The National Herald: You are among several Greek Americans that were elected in the elections. How do you feel about that and how do you believe Greek Americans can “help” Greece (or cannot)?

Congresswoman Dina Titus: My family’s story of Greek heritage serves as an example of the American Dream. Growing up in a small town in Georgia, we had no Greek church or school, but the Hellenic principles that were taught by my grandfather remain close to my heart. In Congress, I have been a steadfast champion for Greek American issues, including opposing efforts to convert Aghia Sophia to a mosque. In partnership with President-elect Biden, we have an opportunity to strengthen US-Greece relations, bolster security in the East Mediterranean, and hold Turkey accountable for violations of religious freedom.

TNH: How do you comment on this Presidential race? Did you expect the result?

DT: I supported President-elect Biden from the early days of this election because I believe that he is the leader we need to get this virus under control, build our economy back better, and restore the soul of this nation. We simply cannot handle four more years of Donald Trump. Biden has the depth of knowledge, breadth of experience, and strength of compassion to lead this country on day one.

TNH: What is your comment about Trump's reaction to the results?

DT: The peaceful transfer of power is the foundation of our democracy. Anyone who seeks to undermine faith in our electoral process is a clear and present danger to the United States. The voters get to choose the president and they have chosen Joe Biden. Donald Trump does not get to pick and choose which votes count.

TNH: Do you believe Joe Biden will bring a new era in the United States of America?

DT: I believe Joe Biden will help restore the soul of this nation and help return the United States to its rightful place on the international stage. I feel hopeful for the future because of President-elect Biden and the record-setting number of people who voted for him.

TNH: Kamala Harris is the 1st woman and woman of color as vice president. Is this a new era for women?

DT: Vice President-elect Harris made history because of the talented and fearless women who came before her. She is the first woman to hold this position, but she will certainly not be the last. I hope the young girls who are watching her realize that anything is possible in this country.

TNH: What are your priorities in the 1st district, where you were elected? As for the pandemic, how did Nevada face COVID-19?

DT: The most important thing we can do right now to help Southern Nevadans is encourage people to listen to the health experts and help stop the spread of COVID-19. That is the key to bringing jobs back in our community. We must also be ready to broadly and efficiently distribute a safe vaccine once one becomes available.

My other top priorities include making investments in infrastructure, addressing the climate crisis, passing immigration reform, preventing gun violence, expanding access to quality and affordable health insurance, and restoring the U.S. role on the international stage.

TNH: Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Can you change that and how?

DT: The best way to get our economy back on track is to get the virus under control. I’m confident that President-elect Biden has the team in place to successfully manage the pandemic. Since our economy in Southern Nevada is so reliant on travel and tourism, our unemployment rate is much higher than the national average. People don’t want to travel for recreation or to attend conventions unless they feel safe and have some extra money in their pockets.

In addition to controlling the spread of the virus, I support passing a relief bill that would give another direct payment to Americans, expand unemployment assistance, provide rental and mortgage help, and develop the resources we need to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In the long term, investments in infrastructure can create many good-paying jobs in our community and funding for state and local governments can help pay for first responders, teachers, and other frontline programs.

TNH: What Greece means to you?

DT: My Greek heritage is an important part of my life even though I did not have the privilege of living in a large Greek community. My grandfather, who came to this country through Ellis Island, operated a restaurant in Georgia. The family would take 100-mile road trips to Jacksonville, Florida for feta cheese and Kalamata olives. I first traveled to Greece in 1980, to visit relatives in Athens and Trikala, and have since returned a number of times. I love to travel the country with books on Greece’s rich history in hand in order to get a deeper understanding of its regions, ruins, culture, and cuisine. Today, I still keep in close touch with fellow members of the Greek community in Las Vegas and around the country