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Three attorneys running for spot in Las Vegas Municipal Court

Three attorneys are running for an empty seat in Las Vegas Municipal Court, a down-ballot race that has become one of the few contested judicial seats in the upcoming primary election.

Deputy City Attorney Rebecca Wolfson, the daughter of current Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, is vying for the seat against Shannon Nordstrom, a former hearing commissioner in Las Vegas Municipal Court and civil attorney, and attorney Rae Canady, the former administrator for the municipal court.

The seat was left open after Judge Cedric Kerns retired in March.

Rebecca Wolfson

Wolfson, 32, graduated from Boyd Law School in 2016 and has been employed at the Las Vegas city attorney’s office for seven years. She worked as a prosecutor for four years before she joined the civil division of the city attorney’s office, representing the city at public meetings and helping with code enforcement matters for the city.

Wolfson said that as the “proud daughter” of two public figures — her mother is former District Judge Jackie Glass — she was “basically born into the courtroom.”

“It’s always been in the back of my mind that one day I might run,” she said. “This is my opportunity to take this next

step and to give back to the community even more than I’ve already been doing.”

If elected, Wolfson said she wants to develop a reputation as a hardworking judge who is “accessible and available.” She also spoke about expanding the acceptance rate of defendants looking to get into diversion programs.

“I care about the community, public safety is my No. 1 priority,” she said. “But second and not far behind, I truly want to help people.”

Wolfson said her age should not deter voters, and she said she is the only candidate in the race with “excellent relationships” with the current sitting municipal court judges.

“My youth is almost a benefit,” she said. “I think I can bring fresh perspective and fresh ideas to the court.”

Rae Canady

Canady, 48, was a social worker for five years before graduating from Marquette University Law School in 2004. She was the director of District Court’s Family Mediation Center from 2014 through 2018, and then worked as a court administrator overseeing the Las Vegas Municipal Court’s community support services division from 2018 through 2021. Canady is currently an attorney with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Canady said she wants to run for judge because she did not agree with all of the decisions made by the municipal court judges when she was an administrator. She said policies had to be approved by the judges, and she felt that almost every policy she advanced “was shot down by the judges.”

“I decided since they are the gatekeepers of change, if I wanted to be a positive agent of change in our community, then I’m going to have to run for judge,” Canady said.

She said her experience as a social worker helps set her apart from other candidates, and gives her a different perspective when working with defendants who have addictions or mental illness.

If elected, Canady said she wants to advocate for a “community-centered court that is transparent, innovative, fiscally responsible and efficient.”

Shannon Nordstrom

Nordstrom, 50, was appointed as a hearing master in Las Vegas Municipal Court in 2018. Nordstrom said she left the position late last year.

While she was a hearing master, Nordstrom helped create the Fresh Start Traffic court, a diversionary program that connected homeless defendants with community resources in lieu of paying for traffic tickets. Nordstrom then helped develop the Fresh Start Specialty Court, a similar program aimed at defendants with criminal misdemeanors.

“I saw a need and I tried to fix it,” Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom graduated from the University of the Pacific’s law school in 2001, and worked in civil litigation before she was a hearing master.

Nordstrom said she enjoyed serving the community as a hearing master, and wants to continue helping people in municipal court as an elected judge. She emphasized ensuring that defendants are heard when they appear in court, especially the large number of defendants in municipal court who represent themselves.

“I always try to be respectful and even if we don’t agree on the outcome at the end, I want people to feel that things were fair,” she said.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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