CARSON CITY -- For the second time in two days, a Hispanic Republican has announced plans to run for a seat in the Nevada Legislature.
Dr. Annette Teijeiro of Henderson said Thursday she is seeking the Senate District 5 seat now held by Democrat Shirley Breeden. Her announcement follows the declaration Wednesday by Republican David Espinosa of Sparks that he is seeking the Assembly District 31 seat in Northern Nevada held by Democrat Richard "Skip" Daly.
"I am first an American," Teijeiro said. "But I look at it (being Hispanic) as an overall benefit. The broader the experiences that we bring into the Legislature, the better we are in making good laws."
What the Republican Party lacked in the Legislature last year was Hispanic faces. More than 25 percent of the Nevada population is Hispanic, but none of the eight Hispanic legislators was a Republican. And of the 63 legislators, only three were Republican women.
Even Pete Goicoechea of Eureka, the Republican leader in the Assembly, said the party needed to do more to attract Hispanic, minority and female candidates. Of the 16 Republican Assembly members, 15 were middle age or older Caucasian men, and the only woman was Melissa Woodbury of Henderson.
Teijeiro, 49, will face a tough Republican primary fight against former Henderson City Councilman Steve Kirk, who has drawn the endorsement of the Senate Republican Caucus.
Breeden announced she would not seek re-election because she must help her ailing mother, and former Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, has declared her candidacy for the seat. Democrats have about a 2,000 registered voter advantage over Republicans in the district.
The Republican Senate Caucus also has endorsed Republican Assemblyman Scott Hammond of Las Vegas in the Senate District 18 race though his primary opponents include another Republican assemblyman with more legislative experience, Richard McArthur. In the past, party caucuses withheld their endorsements until after the primary election.
"The endorsements were done to discourage people like me from running," Teijeiro said. "I believe I am the best candidate."
Sen. Michael Roberson, the leader of the Senate Republican Caucus, said the endorsement of Kirk was "no slight against Annette, and whoever wins the primary we will support 100 percent."
But he said the caucus interviewed both candidates and decided Kirk, a 12-year city councilman, was the better and more electable candidate.
Born in Southern California, Teijeiro moved to Southern Nevada as a child and graduated from Bishop Gorman High School. She received a bachelor's degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, then went to the University of Nevada medical school and later to University of Washington. She works as an anesthesiologist.
Because she came from a low-income family, Teijeiro said, she learned from her parents the value of an education, and she will work to improve education in Nevada.
"I remember what it was like when Nevada had a better education system," she said. "I have since worked as an educator as well and will work to fix education, as it is critical to the growth, development and attraction of new businesses to Nevada."
Teijeiro said she has managed small medical practices and overseen large departments in the private sector and understands the needs of businesses, particularly the need for a low tax base.
"I will fight against uncontrolled government growth, against reactive tax increases, and propose economic initiatives and solutions to diversify the economy, attract new businesses and put Nevadans to work," she said.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at email@example.com or 775-687-3901.