LAS VEGAS - Cynthia Salcido may make a living cleaning casino restrooms and picking up broken glass, but she and the members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 make up the backbone of the casino industry in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The union is training its members to encourage people to vote. They also have plans to make sure their voices are heard when all eyes are on Las Vegas for the last presidential debate.
“It’s a hard election but I’m pretty excited with Hillary [Clinton]. Hopefully if she wins we will have our first female president,” said Salcido, who has two daughters, one of them named Hillary.
She said it is sometimes hard, as a single mom, to make ends meet, but it could be worse.
More tourists are coming back since the 2008 recession, when Las Vegas was hit hard, said University of Nevada, Las Vegas, public policy professor Robert Lang.
“It was over reliant on tourism and when the fun ended on the last decade and people stopped spending freely on consumerism then the crash happened. And it happened deeper here. There was a big loss, especially in construction employment, that never really recovered,” Lang said. “The tourism sector has been booming again.. conventions are back. We’re going to build a large stadium. We’ve got an expansion of the convention center due. So there’s a kind of optimism about how things are going with the economy in the larger sense.”
Small businesses, housing market
The Fashion Show mall on the Vegas Strip has thriving small businesses, such as Flip Flop Workshop. In less than a year, the build-your-own flip flop store has grown to include two locations in Las Vegas, and it’s looking to hire more employees.
“We have approximately 20 employees total but we’re growing,” said Regional Manager Shaunna Fisk. “We’ve seen definitely in this mall especially we’ve seen new businesses that are coming from all over the world and the United States.”
Nevada’s housing market is also bouncing back from the recession. Scott Beaudry with the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors remembered how homeowners suffered during the recession.
“They went from selling gobs and gobs of new homes, resale home to virtually, a sharp 75 percent decrease in sales.”
Beaudry said people are starting to buy again.
“Now we actually see those boomerang buyers who actually lost their homes able to come back, actually get approved for a mortgage and get that American Dream right back which is home ownership.”
Marsala Hottot is now looking for a new house. She said the economy is a big issue for her when choosing a presidential candidate.
“I don't really like either one of them but ideally I want the one that's going to make and put emphasis on making this country and economy stable,” said Hottot.
The economy is also one of the main issues that drives Luis Espinosa’s choice for president.
“I think Trump is the better choice. Personally I think the greedier, the more money the business owner wants, common sense tells me he’s going to have to open up more businesses. When he opens up more businesses he’s going to employ more people,” said Espinosa.
Espinosa is not alone in supporting Trump. Lang said some people support Trump because of the painful recession.
“There is a share of voters who were stung by that who feel still the residual anger of that loss, and there’s also a large number of white working class in the state, that is whites who do not hold college degrees, high school degrees and Trump has pretty good in with those voters, that’s been one of his key bases,” Lang said.
Lang said about 10 percent of voters in the state are still undecided or are voting for a third party candidate. He says with a strong union effort to get Democrats to the polls, more people in the state, may be voting for Clinton on election day. But no one is making a real prediction, because Lang said, this election has been so unpredictable.