Webmaster David Bobzien was elected to the Nevada Assembly in November and has just finished his first legislative session.
What was the experience of your first legislature like?
It was a lot of hard work, but it was a lot of fun, and at the end of the day, I feel like I accomplished some important things and thought the experience was very worthwhile.
What were the things you were pleased you got done?
Well, I passed six bills, and they were on a pretty wide range of issues. So I was happy I was able to engage on a number of issues and get some stuff done. … The big one that was probably the biggest success story came at the very end, and that was A.B. 178, which is the renewable energy bill. It started out dealing with net metering [a system where structures that generate their own electricity can get power credits from the utility company’s supply] and wind power, so it expands the size of net metering projects that are eligible to plug into the grid and sell back power. So it provides incentives for larger-scale projects, so that we can see solar panels on top of, say, grocery stores or retail centers or warehouses, that sort of thing. And then it also creates a wind incentives program similar to the Solar Generations program that’s been in place for the last two years. In the end, it also took on some other issues, and once the governor signs the bill, Nevada will be the first state in the nation with a law dealing with light-bulb efficiency. The idea is that it sets a higher standard for lumens per watt because the average incandescent light bulb expends about 90 percent of its energy on heat rather than light itself. Whether the industry will respond with just more emphasis on compact fluorescents or if they build a better incandescent light bulb, Nevada will be leading the country on the standard. Hopefully, that’ll actually have an impact on conversations that are happening at the federal level on the topic, as well.
How was the experience of the legislature different from what you expected?
Well, I like to think that I didn’t go into it with too many expectations. I think the No. 1 goal that I had for myself was to learn as much as possible. And you know, recognize that I was going in as a freshman, that I didn’t really know a lot about the process, and that I was going to be more effective if I just listened and took in as much information as possible. I think, in the end, that my ability to engage in all the different issues and pass some legislation … shows that I did a good job in all of that.
Who was the legislator you ended up being closest to?
You know, that one’s tough. I think our Assembly Democratic caucus as a whole is extremely cohesive and has some great working relationships there. I’m really proud of being able to work well with Debbie Smith, with Sheila Leslie, with Bernie Anderson. … But I think the other thing that surprised me was how well I worked with some of the rural legislators, folks like Pete Goicoechea and Tom Grady. You know, it’s pretty easy in the legislature to get past the partisan divides, depend on the issues, and I think that’s the key to successful legislating, is just realizing what others bring to the table and being able to work with them, come up with good solutions.
How did your wife react? How did the routine of your household change?
It changed pretty significantly, just due to the fact of the long hours and then not being right down the street from each other during the day. That’s definitely different, but I think that relative to what the Southern Nevada legislators have to go through, where they’re literally moving for four months, and that they’re lucky if they fly home to Vegas on the weekends, I don’t think it was as much of an impact. But that said, it’s nice to be back. It’s nice to be home.