Editor's note: This is one in a series of profiles of freshman lawmakers in the 2011 Legislature.
By ED VOGEL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU
CARSON CITY -- New Assemblyman Kelly Kite isn't letting the recession take the smile off his face or dwelling on how bad times are in Nevada.
"I am an optimist. We are going to move forward," the Minden Republican said.
"If we keep in mind we are one Nevada and work together, this will be a great session. We will have some differences, but the person on the other side of the aisle isn't a bad person. We need to do right for the people who put us here. We will pull through this."
Kite served 12 years as a Douglas County commissioner. After District 39 Assemblyman James Settelmeyer announced he was running for the state Senate, constituents approached Kite about running for his seat.
With his local government background, Kite is concerned about moves by Gov. Brian Sandoval to take property taxes from counties and require them to pay the state to perform some services.
"I am not going to take a stand on anything until I see what it is. I feel a strong obligation to protect local government," Kite said.
He also is a proponent of the view that the best decisions on education are those made at a local level.
The local school boards should decide whether classes consist of one teacher per 20 pupils, or one for 22 pupils or even 30, he said.
"For me to tell the school superintendent what he needs to do seems wrong," Kite said. "What is good in Washoe County may not work in Douglas County. There needs to be oversight, but we need to give more control to the local school boards.
He has not proposed any bills, but Kite has special interest in other bills that he wants to see approved.
One is to protect from lawsuits the people who do volunteer work for organizations.
Another would amend the construction defects law to prevent some of the unnecessary lawsuits. "Homeowners should be protected, but the law has gone beyond that," Kite said.
He also wants to change bidding laws so in some cases the lowest bidder does not necessarily receive the project. Kite said he knows of an instance in which the winning bid on a street project went to an out-of-area contractor when the local contractor who would have used local workers finished a close second.
"The local taxpayers would be benefited from the employment of local people," he said.
With freshmen holding 21 of the 42 Assembly seats, Kite said there could not be a better session for a freshman to have an effect on what happens.
"If ever there was time a freshman could make a difference, it is now," he said. "I'm excited."
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at email@example.com or 775-687-3901.