Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore first found her way into the public eye when she defended the unapologetically racist rancher Cliven Bundy during the standoff at his Nevada ranch in 2014. Fiore joined Bundy supporters at the ranch and spoke out against the feds in a bonkers interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes that earned her high praise from noted rhetorician Sean Hannity. Fiore quickly found herself a poster politician of the whole sensation.
One year later, Fiore is still cashing in on that Bundy buzz. In response to last year's standoff, the assemblywoman is sponsoring a new bill that attempts to bar the federal government from owning land in Nevada, unless the state says it's okay. Right now, the federal government owns over 80 percent of the land in Nevada. As Esquire's Charles Pierce points out, the "Nevadan's Resource Rights Bill" definitely doesn't gel with the Constitution. Regardless, during a Judiciary Committee hearing Monday Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy, joined Fiore at the state capital yesterday to drum up support for the bill, and has summoned his hordes to join him in Carson City next Tuesday, when Fiore and Co. are scheduled to present the legislation at an Assembly hearing.
This isn't Fiore's only controversial position, however. Earlier this month, she attracted some attention after congratulating Assemblyman Harvey Munford on "being the first colored man to graduate his college" during a committee hearing on a voter-ID bill. This was really Fiore's version of "I have black friends, so…" as to negate an incoming nugget of racism. Sure enough, she continued:
"We're in 2015 and we have a black president, in case anyone didn't notice. The color and the race issue, I think it's time that we put that to rest."
But Fiore—whose office did not respond to interview requests—has become well-known in Nevada for the bills she sponsors, as well as the outlandish rhetoric she uses to promote them. However, long before the 44-year-old started making her fellow Assembly members uncomfortable with weird comments about race, the self-described "conservative, Catholic, gun-toting, Second Amendment, strong-ass woman" was causing trouble.
In 2006, Fiore got her first taste of being in front of the camera when she wrote, financed, and starred in a musical drama titled Siren. (Judging by its trailer, it looks like Tommy Wiseau's take on Mariah Carey's Glitter.) According to the Los Angeles Times , Fiore put on 20 pounds and then lost 30 more to prepare for her role as Storm Fagan.
Fiore submitted Siren to the Sundance Film Festival, but the film was rejected. Spunky go-getter that she is, Fiore didn't let that stop her. She went to the festival anyway and handed out flyers in Park City promoting screenings that she personally put on inside a vacant real estate office.
Fiore eventually gravitated toward politics. In 2013, she was elected as Republican member of the Nevada Assembly, after campaigning on platforms of education reform and job creation. Then, last year, she became the first female GOP to serve as the Majority Leader of the Nevada Assembly and caught the national eye when she first supported Cliven Bundy in his attempt to not pay his government grazing bills.
But all of that's small potatoes to what Fiore has set out to accomplish in her second term. Right now, she has two big issues in her crosshairs: Cancer and Rape.
Just by looking at Fiore's PR photos, it's clear that she loves three things: guns, horses, and family. But mostly guns, judging by the gold AK-47 lamp in her office. So it's no surprise that Fiore is a huge proponent of the Second Amendment, and is currently sponsoring a bill that would allow guns on college campuses in Nevada. Specifically, Assembly Bill 148 would allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry firearms on school grounds, including college campuses, K-12 schools and day cares. Currently, 20 US states ban guns on campuses, 23 allow schools to decide (though most have chosen not to allow guns), and seven states have provisions allowing concealed carry weapons on campus, although several are considering bills to reverse that ban.
Fiore's explanation for the bill was best articulated in an interview with the New York Times in which she said, "If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head."
To support her argument, the assemblywoman has enlisted Amanda Collins—a concealed weapons permit holder who was unarmed when she was raped on University of Nevada, Reno campus in 2007—to testify on the bill's behalf. Collins, who has become the NRA's poster-girl for campus carry—contends that had she been carrying her gun, she would have been able to fend off her attacker.
"As someone that carries a firearm on me like my panties and bra," Fiore noted in a speech to the Assembly, "I do break the law because I generally carry my gun in places where they say is a gun-free zone, because I'm not going to be a victim of a stupid law."
This is the third attempt by Nevada Republicans to pass a so-called "campus carry" bill—it didn't pass in 2011 and the Assembly Judiciary Committee refused to hold a vote on Fiore's first bill in 2013. However, earlier this month, the committee voted to approve the legislation, and the bill heads to the full Assembly next for a vote. With Republicans in control of both chambers of the Nevada Legislature, Fiore said she is optimistic this time around.
Just when Fiore has administered her coup de (Nancy) grâce, she keeps going. Now she's also gunning for cancer. Fiore, who operates a home healthcare business, has announced she is sponsoring a bill that will change "provisions of our health care system" by basically allowing terminally ill patients to access non-FDA-approved treatments.
The proposed "Right to Try" law didn't garner much attention until Fiore elaborated on her radio show "Walk the Talk" (emphasis added):
"If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, we can put a pic line into your body and we're flushing with, say, salt water, sodium cardonate [sic] through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective."
Fiore continues on to say she knows a California-based doctor who "kinda coordinates" to fly people to Italy and Germany to have this procedure. "It costs more for the flight and the hotel than it does for the procedures," she said. "These are some of the things we have to be able to do here. I mean, Nevada [is] the capital of entertainment. Why not make it the medical capital of the world too?"
Naturally, Fiore's remarks sent ripples through the Internet. Not so much from rejoicing cancer patients, but from national news outlets blasting Fiore for plugging a widely debunked theory that the American Cancer Society specifically warns about. However, through it all, Fiore has stuck to her guns and continues to push for the bill.
In fact, the assemblywoman seems to thrive off her haters. Fiore also seems to thrive on defying logic and reason, and acquiring haters. She brushed off the recent backlash from media and her legislature peers in a recent post to Twitter, saying: "If they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left."
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