Help wanted: New state legislators

If you generally like public school teachers, have half a brain (maybe even a college degree) and live in, say, the Vistas of east Sparks, please oh please oh please consider running for the Nevada Assembly in 2004.

You’ll be taking on incumbent John Marvel, a Republican assemblyman-rancher from Battle Mountain. You’ll need to do a bit of campaigning, as just about everyone in Battle Mountain thinks Marvel is the bee’s knees. You’ll need to raise a bit of money, but hey, I might send you your first check.

Marvel is one of a handful in the Nevada Legislature who recently blew off close to a million dollars on legislative special sessions just to make a point about government waste.

Let’s make sure Marvel doesn’t return to the 2005 Legislature.

Many, many state legislators did a mighty fine job of law-making this session. The state made headway in plenty of areas, from consumer protections to prison reforms.

Hooray.

But now, with the state’s fate in the hands of the Nevada Supreme Court, it’s clear that a few individuals can’t handle the responsibility of public service. A few Republican Assembly folk—wielding a disproportionate share of power—protected the interests of big businesses while harboring an amazing willingness to screw the average Nevadan via payroll taxes.

Not all Assembly Republicans are mindless mules. Among those who’ve supported Gov. Guinn—and yes, who’ve even taken a stand for broad-based business taxes—are four Republicans who’ve shown common sense and good hearts. Big ups to Dawn Gibbons (R-Reno), Jason Geddes (R-Reno), Josh “Son of former Reno Mayor Jeff” Griffin (R-Henderson) and Joe Hardy (R-Boulder City). Hugs to Democrats in the Assembly who led the march for education and human services funding alongside Gov. Kenny Guinn for the good of the state.

But there are some lawmakers who need to go. And you, oh mighty voters, hold their futures in your hands.

Besides Marvel, there’s Sharron Angle (R-Reno), who’s plagued with a lack of logic. (At a recent meeting with the Washoe County School Board, Angle defended her failure to support educators with the following faulty syllogism: School administrators worry over a lack of state funding because they can’t hire excellent teachers; the district hasn’t hired one of her constituents who is an aspiring teacher; ergo, there must not be a teacher shortage and it wouldn’t really matter if schools received state funding.)

If you live in District 26, which stretches from west of McCarran Boulevard to the California state line, north to Highway 395, and south to Incline Village, please consider running against Angle.

Or perhaps you’d like to take on Chief Waster of the Public’s Time and Money Lynn Hettrick. Hettrick’s district stretches from the eastern part of Incline Village—where Angle’s district leaves off—along the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, including parts of Carson City, then clear down through Douglas County. Hettrick will turn 60 next year. It’s time for him to retire.

Speaking of Carson, someone please run to replace Ron Knecht, Dist. 40. Knecht seems to deeply fear both helping the poor (during a KKOH radio show, he plugged cuts to the state’s already bloodless assistance programs) and aiding educators (during a Washoe County School Board meeting, he referred to proposed cuts by the school board as “terrorism").

Finally, Don Gustavson. If you live in the North Valleys, please. Pretty please, no more Gustavson.

If you can’t envision yourself campaigning, subjecting yourself to public scrutiny and giving up four or five months in 2005 to improve life in our fair state, I understand.

But when you do head out to vote next year, try to remember who’s who.

Lawmakers are counting on our short memories.