CARSON CITY — Less than a week after Assemblyman Jim Wheeler’s statement became public that he would vote for slavery if his constituents wanted it, the former chief of staff for Gov. Jim Gibbons has announced she will challenge him in the June Republican primary for Assembly District 39.
Declaring she wants to bring “common sense and a positive future” to Nevada, Robin Reedy, of Gardnerville, said Monday she will be a candidate in a district that is 2-to-1 Republican and has not elected a Democrat assemblyman since 1951.
Reedy, 56, has lived in District 39 for 25 years and worked more than 20 years in state government. For most of her state government career, she worked in the state treasurer’s office, including as deputy state treasurer, before joining the Gibbons’ administration.
“I was embarrassed,” she said about Wheeler’s comments. “I picked up a dozen texts and e-mail about those comments. ‘We want you to run.’”
When Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, did not respond to criticism about women in politics on a recent radio program she heard, Reedy said she had enough and decided to run.
“The people of my district deserve a representative who will actively communicate with all of them, listen to their ideas and effectively work within the system to create a better future. I will work to improve the economy, increase jobs and deal with the tough issues that face education and health care. Good government is possible and small government is best.”
Wheeler was unavailable for comment. He was repudiated unanimously by members of the Assembly Republican Caucus. The caucus met Sunday with Wheeler and reprimanded him “for his offensive comments regarding slavery and the relationship between Northern and Southern Nevada.”
The Republicans said his statements were “divisive and do not reflect the Republican values of the caucus.” They did not call for his resignation.
Over the weekend the Douglas and Storey counties Republican Central Committees both issued statement in support of Wheeler.
“The continued intentional misrepresentation of statements and positions of our elected representatives, as well as exertion of unwarranted pressure to resign, violate the constitutional rights of The People of Douglas County to choose our representatives, and must end now…” said the Douglas County resolution.
Reedy considered challenging Wheeler earlier but believed she should not seek a legislative seat so soon after serving in the executive branch of government.
But she became more serious when former Assemblyman Kelly Kite this fall raised questions about Wheeler’s residency. When Wheeler moved into her neighborhood, Reedy said she began questioning whether he even had lived in the district before the move.
Wheeler has said he had been living at least part of the time with a girlfriend in Washoe Valley, but they rented a home in Douglas County.
Reedy has been running a political consulting business for the past three years.
“I love this district: its rolling ranch and farm lands, the towering mountains surrounding us, the people who are hard-working, creative and kind. I would be honored to represent them and intend be the kind of representative of whom they can also be proud.”
Wheeler beat incumbent Kite in the Republican primary in 2012. He had challenged Kite’s support of continuing $600 million in taxes, a position advocated by Gov. Brian Sandoval.