Before being appointed to the Henderson City Council in 2011, John Marz stood in front of Mayor Andy Hafen and council members and said, “I make a commitment to you that I will not run for re-election, and I will give those people who serve after me an opportunity to run for this seat.”
Incumbents have an advantage in elections, he said, and it would not be fair to Ward 3 residents for an appointee to run as the incumbent.
Yet he ran for the seat in 2013, and is running again this year.
“I didn’t intend to seek retention,” Marz said. “Once I rolled up my sleeves and got to work inside City Hall, however, it became clear Henderson needed a strong small-business voice to help make city government run more like a business.”
The 70-year-old president and founder of a marketing and advertising consultancy touts his 45 years of business experience as a key element in his qualifications as councilman.
Marz said his priority is to focus on protecting Henderson’s unique quality of life by working to preserve and maintain older neighborhoods and ensuring that there are enough police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
“Henderson has emerged with its finances intact, but we’re just starting to deal with our infrastructure issues,” Marz said. “I am seeking one additional term to address critical needs in our neighborhoods and throughout our great city.”
He is running against 51-year-old political novice Carrie Cox and 29-year-old Army veteran Matthew DeFalco.
Cox is a businesswoman and longtime PTA volunteer at Somerset Academy and her primary focus is to preserve Henderson’s way of life.
“Unfortunately, the incumbent is really out of touch with what a lot of citizens want,” she said. “My purpose for running will be to make sure that a larger demographic is incorporated into the decisions that City Council makes. I’m not going to flip-flop when I make decisions.”
A mother of seven, Cox said she wants to focus on building schools, increase the presence of police officers, firefighters and paramedics; continue economic growth and infrastructure maintenance.
“This isn’t going to be a steppingstone for me,” she said. “I’m not going to go in and then run for mayor. I just want to get in and serve the people.”
DeFalco is a former federal wild-lands firefighter who also worked on the Nevada Background Checks for Gun Purchases Initiative, also known as Question 1.
“I want to bring a fresh breath of air into City Hall,” DeFalco said. “I plan to work full-time as councilman to get rid of that lack of trust and nepotism that people see.”
DeFalco said he wants to focus on hiring more veterans for city government jobs and address the lack of transparency and accessibility of local government. He also said he wants to aid small businesses by getting rid of the business tax for the first year.
DeFalco had run-ins with the law, which include two convictions for an open container in 2011 in South Carolina; a misdemeanor battery charge that was dismissed in 2011 in Las Vegas; and assault on a female charge that was dismissed in 2009 in North Carolina.
“I make no excuses for a couple dumb things I did when was younger, but in no way do they reflect on who I am now,” DeFalco said. “The military made me better as a person and as a man. It gave me responsibilities, a direction in life and great leadership skills. My service gave me the discipline to grow up and learn from these things, and to become a better citizen.”
As of March 14, Henderson has a population of about 302,070 with 166,270 registered to vote.