|Candidates meet & greet at WRW mixer|
|Written by Dee Holzel/Photography by Michael Michaelsen|
|Friday, April 30 2010 06:45|
WINNEMUCCA — Candidates for public office turned out for Winnemucca Wednesday (April 28) to mingle with attendees and answer questions posed by the voters. The event was sponsored by the Winnemucca Republican Women who continue in their efforts to get the candidates together with the voters. President Tracy Guinn introduced the candidates in attendance, which included Governor Jim Gibbons, Sharron Angle, candidate for US Senate, Nevada Assembly District 32 candidate Jodi Stephens, and candidates for Humboldt County Commission. Here's what they had to say for themselves:
GOVERNOR JIM GIBBONS: Nevada’s embattled governor attended the event to make his case for a second term. Gibbons noted his chances for a second term were good and commented, “I would not be in this race if I weren’t confident I could win the primary and the general election.”
He said he intended to keep the same promise in his second term that he kept in his first term, “I won’t raise taxes. It’s the same promise. I stood by that promise and have kept that promise.” He reminded voters he consistently vetoed tax increases – actions that were overridden by the Nevada Assembly – and argued that Nevada doesn’t have a revenue problem it has a spending problem. He called the current budget crisis a “wake-up call for the Legislature” that they must reduce spending.
The governor said as he campaigns the issue Nevadans are most concerned about is government. He said the voters are concerned about Healthcare reform and the trampling on rights guaranteed in the Constitution. He said they also express their concerns about government spending and taxes.
Ultimately, though, people are worried about keeping their jobs. He said in his second term he’ll work to improve the economy and get people back to work by attracting more tourists to the state.
SHARRON ANGLE: Running in the June primary against a host of Republican candidates vying to unseat Harry Reid is Sharron Angle. Having served four terms in the Nevada Assembly, Angle is campaigning on her conservative voting record and wants voters to know they can expect the same consistent voting pattern if she’s elected to the US Senate. She commented, “My conservative record is battle tested.”
When asked what was being said of her that was either unfair or untrue, she refuted the rumor that she’s a Scientologist. But what’s untrue and unfair, she added, was the notion she’s rigid in her beliefs. She said, “I’m consistent …. principled, and I don’t compromise on my principles.”
She described herself as a middle-class grandmother and joked, “If you can’t trust your grandmother who can you trust?” On a more serious note she referenced the men and women fighting and risking their lives for American values and said those stateside should be doing the same. She commented, “Truly, we’re in a war for our culture and Constitution. If we have asked our children to sacrifice their lives for the Constitution we should be willing to do the same.”
Angle said she will always uphold the Constitution as it’s up to each generation to preserve it. She said “It’s my turn” and later added, “I would never knowingly cast a vote in conflict with the Constitution.”
JODI STEPHENS: The first-time political candidate is campaigning for Nevada Assembly District 32, the seat currently held by Assemblyman Don Gustavson who is not seeking a second term in order to run for State Senate.
Stephens has been out & about talking to the voters and reports one of their chief concerns is an overreaching government. She notes the people voiced concerns over the recent Healthcare Reform bill passed by Congress, which they argued did not have the support of the voters but was passed anyway. Actions like that, she notes, makes the voters distrust the people in the system and they ask, “Are you going to listen to me or just do what you want?”
Stephens previously worked as Governor Gibbons’s Legislative Director, which she noted will give her an advantage if elected because she’ll have a greater understanding of how the Legislature works. She demonstrated the depth of her knowledge by referencing the Nevada SAGE (Spending and Government Efficiency) Commission, which recommended a Sunset Commission that was modeled after a Texas program. The program meets about every ten years and examines all state agencies to determine if they’re meeting their missions, are working effectively, or are overreaching in any way. Texas has been able to save about $700 million by utilizing this program, she noted.
The public is also concerned about education and once again Stephens was able to draw on her experience in order to promote Empowerment Legislation, which gives individual school districts more authority in educating and meeting the needs of their students. The Empowerment Legislation previously failed because legislators argued there wasn’t money for it in the budget. Stephens said she would like to see the project move forward without the funding attachments.
In attendance were four of the six candidates vying for County Commission seat E, which is being vacated by Commissioner Chuck Giordano who is prevented by term limits from seeking reelection. The six Republican candidates will face off in the June primary and the two top vote-getters will move on to the general election. John Arant and Marshall Keller were not in attendance Wednesday.
RICH BROWN: The candidate reports his campaign is going well. He’s been meeting with voters in order to outline his qualifications for the job of county commissioner and getting feedback from them on their concerns.
When asked, Brown said the landfill was the issue most voters wanted to talk about. He commented, “It’s the first thing people ask.” However, Brown noted the chief issue facing the county during the next few years would be the budget. With declining revenue and an increasing cost of doing business, he said, “We have to get our budget in line ... but people don't want to hear about that."
He added legacy obligations must be addressed as people are retiring and living longer, and that obligation builds up over time.
BILL DOUGLAS: Douglas has been putting the shoe leather to the pavement in getting out and talking to the voters. He has spent considerable time in the rural areas of Humboldt County and said overwhelmingly those voters are concerned about public safety. Voters have said they'd like greater opportunity for more firefighters in Golconda through expanded jurisdiction, more EMT’s in Denio, and additional law enforcement in McDermitt.
Douglas said his philosophy is that elected leaders should follow the will of the people. If the voters overwhelmingly are against a project, such as the proposed Jungo Rd. landfill, he would vote against it. He said, “I believe we’re elected by the people for the people and we have to follow what the majority of the people want …. even though that’s not the way we personally feel.”
JIM FRENCH: The candidate said as he goes door-to-door the voters have expressed concerns about the proposed Jungo Rd. landfill and some are looking for a win-win scenario where the county could benefit from industry and business while still mitigating environmental risk. As an example of a win-win scenario, he pointed to the possibility of a recycling facility where garbage is processed for re-use as opposed to just storage.
French identified the county’s chief issues in the upcoming years as employment and the economy. He noted, “If there’s a downturn in business it will actually impact our ability to provide services.” He said the commissioners must be proactive with the budget and pointed to the good work being done by the Humboldt Development Authority in developing job potential outside of gold mining and looking at economic diversification. However, he noted there needs to be good dialogue with the community in order to determine if potential businesses/industry is a good fit for the community.
French also supports development of green energy sources. In addition, he feels the upcoming years will be critical for land-use issues.
A life-long resident of Humboldt County, Hummel has seen many boom-and-bust cycles and knows the current high price of gold will not last forever. He pointed out the benefit of mining is that it keeps people employed. When people are employed they have purchasing power, which has the double benefit of keeping businesses open and adding revenue to the county coffers via the sales tax.
Hummel said Humboldt County is going to have to “tighten its belt” to get through the tough times ahead while still protecting services and infrastructure.
If the mining jobs go, Hummel would like to see something in place that will keep people in Humboldt County and employed. To that end, he has been researching the potential for alternative energy operations. While he has some doubts Humboldt County is right for wind power, there’s either too much or not enough, he thinks Nevada has great potential for solar energy.
Herb Clarno is seeking Humboldt County commission seat C currently held by Commissioner Dan Cassinelli. Clarno is running on the Democratic ticket and does not have a June primary election. On the theory it’s never too early to get started on a big project, Clarno was in attendance Wednesday night to meet voters.
HERB CLARNO: The candidate reports he has been meeting with the voters in an effort to introduce himself, outline his ideas, and get feedback from the public. He said the voters are frustrated because there’s a sense they’re not being heard by their elected representatives. Clarno said he wants discussions with the voters to be more like communications at his ranch where folks sit down at the table and discuss issues over coffee.
While Clarno has been approached about his position on the Jungo Rd. landfill, he said voters have to understand he has two positions: his official one and his personal one. Whatever his personal feelings may be, he explained, as an elected representative his job would be to listen carefully to the voters and take his direction from them. Clarno added it’s important for the elected leaders to hear all the facts, to hear the desires and will of the people, to get good information – including information from business and industry – and to get good information on financial impacts of business and industry before making decisions. He commented, “All of these things must be considered before the commission acts.”