Churchill politicians tout economy, warn of challenges ahead of NV Legislature
LVN Editor Emeritus
FALLON, Nev. — Churchill County’s representatives to the Nevada Legislature said this session will be an interesting one, considering a leadership change with the first Democratic governor in 20 years.
State Sen. James Settelmeyer, who represents District 17, and District 38 Assemblyman Robin Titus spoke on Jan. 9 the monthly Churchill Economic Development Authority’s breakfast meeting to give a quick rundown leading up to the legislative session that begins Feb. 4.
“Either you were shocked or encouraged with the outcome,” Titus said about the statewide elections that saw Democrats win five of the six state constitutional offices.
Steve Sisolak, a Las Vegas businessman and former chairman of the Clark County Commission, defeated Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt in November.
Kate Marshall, a Democrat, became the first person from her party to serve as lieutenant governor and president of the Senate since 1989.
“This year will be sort of a challenge for us,” Titus said. “But I represent all the 55,000 people in my district regardless of the political party you belong to.”
Titus, a Smith Valley physician, said she will introduce bills in the best interest of her District 38 constituents. The longtime Lyon County resident said she’s introducing bills on charter schools, family-practice doctors, of whom she said “aren’t enough out there” in rural Nevada, and physician assistants.
Titus said the Democrats have a super majority in the 42-member Assembly, and the Republicans have only 13 representatives. Because of the disparity, she said the Democrats could pass any legislation without Republican votes. The three-term assemblywoman said it’s key for all legislators to work together for the good of Nevada.
The economic outlook for Nevada shows the state to be in good shape, Titus said, noting the state Economic Forum’s report was positive. Nevada has added thousands of jobs, many in the technical fields, and Titus said lawmakers must realize the importance of two-year colleges such as Western Nevada College, which serves Douglas and Churchill counties and Carson City.
“It’s (WNC) a good feeder for the jobs in our state,” Titus said.
Titus, who’s beginning her third term, encouraged the attendees at the CEDA breakfast to reach out to her office if they have concerns or suggestions.
“I want to do my job better,” she said, citing the need for feedback.
Settelmeyer represents Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, and was first elected to the State Senate in 2010 after serving two terms in the Assembly. He is a Carson Valley rancher and currently serves as minority leader, a post retired Sen. Mike McGinness of Fallon held when he was a member of the same governing body.
“We will need your assistance,” Settelmeyer said, echoing Titus’ message for rural Nevadans to become more active in supporting their representatives. “We have a governor from Clark County who is unfamiliar with the rural counties. He will need to know the effects of a bill and how it will impact the rural areas and communities.”
Settelmeyer encouraged his constituents to write the governor if they have concerns with a particular issue or bill. He said Sisolak, though, is concerned with Nevada’s growing business climate and employment.
“He’s laser-focused on the economy and jobs, and he doesn’t want to put anyone out of a job,” Settelmeyer said.
Furthermore, he said Sisolak wants to eliminate bump stocks on guns, something the federal government has already done, and to limit magazine capacities, which Settelmeyer said he doesn’t agree with the governor. Settelmeyer said he has local bills to introduce that involve irrigation districts and the selection of directors and CC Communications.
During the session, he said Sisolak will rely heavily on legislators who are more versed on water issues and know that bi-state decrees can’t be arbitrarily changed by one state. The Alpine Decree, for example, is federally regulated to determine the appropriation of surface water rights of the Carson River.
“The state can’t change it,” Settelmeyer emphasized.
During the session, he said the Rural Caucus consisting of legislators from the smaller counties will meet every other week to examine issues affecting their constituents. As for the Senate makeup, only eight of the 21 senators are Republican.
Settelmeyer said constituents may send emails during the session at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nevada was honored in the 3- to 5-million population category, alongside Kentucky and Utah, while Alabama was awarded the Gold Shovel in the same Category. Other Gold Shovel Awards went to Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Mississippi.