The season of reasonable partisanship is here

For more about the high stakes game of politics, check out the Nevada News Bureau story.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee on Monday announced the creation of a $20 million redistricting fund to assist 2010 races “that will have the greatest impact on reapportionment,” according to a DLCC memo.

Nevada Assembly candidate Pat Hickey takes center stage in this potpourri column as the primary election looms. Potpourri columns cover several topics; legislative jockeying earns top billing now because it is key.

Hickey is one of five Republican candidates in Reno’s Assembly District 25. He seeks the nomination in his effort to retain GOP control of the seat being vacated by Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert. Hickey brings brains and background.

A late ’90s assemblyman, he is needed again because term limits are ousting experience from Nevada’s Legislature. Some see term limits as sacred. Greenhorn legislators, however, mean that lobbyists, legislative staff and bureaucrats enjoy greater influence than in times when graybeards hold office.

No problem here with new blood, but a mix of freshmen and veterans is necessary. Hickey will be freshman-esque but with veteran chops, a plus for both the term limits crowd and their detractors.

He also has an intriguing idea for new revenue, proposing a levy on undocumented workers’ remittances to help our hurting state treasury.

Owner of a painting contractor business as well as a former newsman/columnist, Hickey knows how to meet a payroll and is a Reagan Republican.

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In three other GOP area primary legislative races, I favor:

• Assemblyman James Settelmeyer to get the nomination for the capital city district Nevada Senate seat being vacated by term-limited state Sen. Mark Amodei.

• Carson City Supervisor Pete Livermore for the GOP nod in Assembly District 40 for the seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, a Democrat.

• Ben Kieckhefer, former media man for Gov. Jim Gibbons now shouldering a similar load at Health & Human Services. He wants the GOP nod to seek the state Senate seat in south Reno/Washoe County District 4.

• • •

Legislative races are important because Nevada faces huge issues: Coping with frayed tax receipts, pressure to fund services and re-drawing political maps after the census. Mapmaking may trump others.

If Democrats retain legislative control, they will redistrict legislative and congressional seat boundaries to favor their own party. By the way, census results could well add another Nevada congressional seat.

This means Republican inroads, or an outright 2011 GOP majority in at least one legislative chamber, are critical to conservatives.

• • •

Despite my preference for former federal Judge Brian Sandoval in the GOP gubernatorial primary June 8, Gov. Gibbons and former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon deserve recognition for some positions.

Gibbons wants teachers’ pay talks in public, as does the Nevada Press Association (NPA), because taxpayers pay the freight after collective bargaining sets the rate. For the record, RN&R is an NPA member, and I’m an associate NPA member.

Montandon calls for competition in education, another way to keep costs for public education from constant upward pressure. Competition is a keystone of cost containment in commerce, so why not in education?

Nevada’s governor in 2011 must get a handle on education spending. All three GOP candidates are preferable to Democrat Rory Reid on this and other issues.

• • •

I recently voiced hope for a coalition English parliament with Conservative party leader David Cameron as prime minister and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg in the mix as glue in the coalition.

That happened, so Labour’s Gordon Brown is history. About a decade ago as exchequer, Brown sold England’s gold for $274.92 per ounce on average. It was dubbed the Brown bottom. Gold these days crowds or tops $1,200 an ounce.

Brown-out time. Better late than later.