Both candidates running to represent Ward 1 on the North Las Vegas City Council hope to attract jobs, assist small businesses and revitalize the downtown area.
Experience is what sets them apart.
Councilman Isaac Barron is seeking a second term, with a challenge from Hector Rivera, a political organizer who worked last year on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
The winner following the April 5 municipal primary will represent an oddly shaped district along the eastern edge of North Las Vegas that covers downtown, the College of Southern Nevada campus, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Apex Industrial Park.
More than 60,500 people live in Ward 1, about 27,175 of whom are registered to vote, according to city officials.
“We just wanted to make the city solid when I was elected four years ago, and we were able to balance the city budget and start moving ahead,” said Barron, a 47-year-old government and history teacher at Rancho High School.
“We’re not out of the woods financially, but we’re starting to grow again,” Barron said. “We need to hire more police officers, firefighters and people to handle city services, but do it in a way that will allow us to be fiscally responsible and sustainable over the long term.”
Along with campaigning for Sanders, Rivera said he has also worked for For Our Future, a political action committee that focuses on electing Democratic candidates.
Like Barron, Rivera said that he wants to improve the quality of life for people living in the blue-collar neighborhoods of Ward 1 by attracting medical clinics and securing 24-hour access to public transit.
“North Las Vegas is becoming a great city, but we need to have a good reason for people to stay here during the evenings and give people a reason to come visit here,” Rivera, 37, said. “The people in North Las Vegas work difficult jobs and deserve to be properly represented, and I think I can do better than the current council member.”
As head of the city’s Redevelopment Agency, Barron said he wants to make sure that planned mixed-use housing and shopping projects are completed as part of an effort to revitalize downtown. He hopes to overhaul the Neighborhood Recreation Center at 1638 North Bruce Street, along with attracting manufacturing, warehouse and tech jobs to Apex Industrial Plant.
“If everything goes well, we’ll have larger businesses and more jobs so that people will want to work and play in North Las Vegas,” Barron said.
Rivera said he wants to install brighter streetlights as a way to improve neighborhood safety, attract “environmentally friendly” companies to Apex and expand the VA Hospital as a way to create new jobs.
Rivera also said that he believes the positions of City Manager and City Attorney should be elected, rather than appointed by the City Council, as a way “to give residents a chance to know who these people are.”
Contact Art Marroquin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0336. Follow @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.
NORTH LAS VEGAS CITY COUNCIL WARD 1
Occupation: Government and history teacher, Rancho High School
Education: Masters degree in education, Nova Southeastern University
Past political experience: Elected to North Las Vegas City Council in 2013.
Three priorities: Continue downtown redevelopment; make it easier for small businesses to open in the city; hire more police officers, firefighters and other city workers.
Occupation: Political organizer
Education: Bachelor’s degree in sociology, University of California, Riverside
Past political experience: Unsuccessfully ran in 2014 for a seat on Kern Community College District in California; unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Sweetwater Union High School District board in Chula Vista, California, in 2010.
Three priorities: Require City Attorney and City Manager position to be elected, rather than appointed; downtown revitalization; brighter streetlights.