Two candidates perhaps best-known for their mothers will face off for the right to represent Assembly District 12.
Democratic incumbent James Ohrenschall, 36, is the son of longtime legislator Genie Ohrenschall. Republican challenger Dallas Augustine, 29, is the daughter of Kathy Augustine, who served in the Legislature and as state controller before she was murdered in 2006 by her husband, Chaz Higgs.
Each candidate's mother once represented District 12.
Ohrenschall is a Las Vegas native and UNLV graduate who is seeking his second term in the Assembly.
Among his accomplishments in his first term, he lists successful bills strengthening protections for workers and medical patients and an unsuccessful push for a tax credit for people who buy hybrid vehicles.
He has made bill draft requests for measures that would open car pool lanes to individuals in hybrids and would seek to curb copper theft. He has proposed a state registry of people convicted of domestic battery, an idea that has received a tepid response from victim advocacy groups and the American Civil Liberties Union.
But Ohrenschall acknowledged that much of the Assembly's work next year will involve cutting existing services, not adding new ones.
He said he supports efforts to restructure the state's tax system and bring stability to the budget process. Specifically, he favors such ideas a toll roads and a four-day work week for state employees.
But he said any solution must be executed carefully to prevent damage to the economy or harm to "people who are struggling to survive."
"You can't walk a street in my district without seeing a house that's been foreclosed upon. It's eerie," Ohrenschall said.
Augustine is a Bishop Gorman High School graduate who has lived in Las Vegas off and on for 18 years. She said she decided to run for office when she noticed the increase in graffiti and other crime in District 12, where she said the quality of life is in decline.
"I looked around at the neighborhood where I grew up, and I was appalled," she said. "I feel like a window is closing on the central neighborhood."
Her campaign literature refers to sociologist James Q. Wilson's "Broken Windows" theory of urban crime and decay, in which he suggests that if the broken window in a building goes unrepaired, the rest of the windows soon will be broken.
She promised, if elected, to use her position in the Legislature to unite District 12 residents and "shine a light" on the conditions in their neighborhoods.
She said would focus her efforts in the areas of education and mental health care but said she is not ready to discuss any specific legislation she might introduce or support.
Mostly, she pledged to work hard for her constituents.
"I know how to run. I know how to campaign. My mom taught me that," Augustine said. "It's sort of the family business."
She could have her work cut out for her. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1 in District 12.
But Augustine is convinced that voters will swing her way. "I'm out talking to them," she said, "and they say they want a change."
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350.