Unnatural election

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

The presidential election race this year is so bizarre—historic, aggravating and surreal—that it’s even easier than usual to overlook what’s happening in the so-called “down-ticket” races. I know 8-year-olds who can tell you 20 surprising facts about both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but can’t name a single member of their hometown’s city council—let alone which of those members are tangled up in contentious reelection bids. Hell, I know 40-year-olds who are the same way.

With that in mind, we’re launching a new weekly feature in this week’s issue—Elections 2016. In every issue between now and Nov. 8, we’ll examine an election race, from the U.S. Senate race to local city council contests, that could seriously affect the lives of folks in our region, arguably far more directly than the presidential race.

This week, we’re launching the series with a story about the race in Nevada Assembly District 31, which includes a big chunk of Sparks and the North Valleys. This race is between Republican Jill Dickman and Democrat Richard “Skip” Daly.

Our focus for these stories isn’t so much “who’s ahead?” horseracing stats for oddsmakers, but rather short profiles of the candidates themselves and, even more importantly, their policy differences on issues like education tax bills, voter ID laws, and Second Amendment issues. The idea is to give us all some actual nuts and bolts to use when building our decisions in the voting booths.

The bad news is that, in order to make room for these election stories, we’ve had to drop our weekly Green column—at least temporarily. But don’t worry, environmental issues are very important to us here at the RN&R, and we’re dedicated to continuing to cover issues like wildlife protection, water management, sustainable farming and climate change research, but those kinds of stories will appear in other parts of the paper, as in news this week.

Brad Bynum