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Bryan to lead lobbying team for higher education

CARSON CITY — Former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan has agreed to chair a team of six lobbyists who will work for free in representing the Nevada System of Higher Education at the 2011 Legislature.

Chancellor Dan Klaich announced Thursday that the team also will include veteran lobbyists Alfredo Alonso, Michael Hillerby, Rose McKinney-James, Keith Lee, John Pappageorge and The Capitol Co.

State support to the higher education system was cut by about 12 percent during the 2009 session, and moves to reduce it even more are likely as Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval and legislators will have $1 billion less in tax revenue to spend.

While he has not talked to Klaich about the system’s goals, Bryan said education "is a critical component" needed in reviving the state economy.

Having a high quality education system, both in the public schools and at the university and college level, is important to any business considering locating in Nevada, Bryan said.

"They all talk about the education system. It is important to have quality education for our diversification effort."

Bryan does not expect to be at the Legislature every day or week, but will be present when Klaich requests.

Now 73, Bryan is a full-time lawyer and shareholder for the Lionel, Sawyer and Collins firm. He has occasionally lobbied on behalf of the firm and its clients and expects to do that again in 2011.

As governor, Bryan said he appointed Klaich to serve on the Board of Regents.

Bryan is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. His children also are graduates of Nevada universities.

Klaich said the unpaid lobbying team will replace paid lobbyists the system employed in the past, but individual universities and colleges will continue to send government affairs officers to Carson City to lobby on their behalf.

"We are fortunate to have a team of all-stars who agreed to pro bono representation of Nevada’s higher education system," Klaich said. "Each member has a long history of service to this state and a passionate belief that public colleges and universities are critical in not only reviving Nevada’s economy, but improving our way of life for generations to come."

Marcia Turner, a supervisor in the higher education system’s Health Sciences System, will manage daily operations of the new lobbying team.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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