Nevadan feels Palin kinship

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Heidi Gansert knows what it’s like to be a politician and a mom at the same time.

The Nevada Assembly minority leader from Reno knows how it feels to have people whisper about whether you’re a good enough mother to your children, what with all the time you spend running for office.

“During my first campaign, one of my opponents questioned whether I could do everything,” she said. “It backfired. People knew how committed I am to my community. People knew me and where my heart is.”

Gansert, the highest-ranking Republican woman serving in Nevada elected office, sympathizes with her party’s vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has faced a barrage of scrutiny into her family life as she has been introduced to the nation over the past week.

“I am extremely impressed with her,” Gansert said. “I can see she has it together. She’s done so much for her state.”

Gansert has four children from 9 to 15 years old. She helps run the 45-member physicians’ group in which her husband, an emergency doctor, is a partner. In her spare time, she runs marathons and does triathlons.

This week in St. Paul, where the 45-year-old is a member of Nevada’s delegation to the Republican National Convention, she has gotten up early every morning for a six-mile run.

The McCain campaign has been full of outrage over the questions about Palin and her family, saying she has being asked personal things that no male politician would ever be expected to address.

But the one question — how do you do it all? — doesn’t faze Gansert, whose coolly analytical mien traces to her training as an engineer.

The answer, she said, is “first of all, I have the support of my family — my husband, my nieces. And then you need to be really well-organized, to get the kids to soccer and swimming and guitar and violin and everything else.”

During the 2007 legislative session, she said, “I participated in five carpools. Every Sunday, I would just sit down and go through the list. I live by my calendar.”

It’s not always possible to do everything, she admits. “I always put my family first,” she said. “If I have to cancel something, I will. Our lives are always busy. But in the end, it’s worth it. I’m working to effect positive changes in my state for my family and for the future.”

Gansert, a Reno native, followed, like Palin, her children into politics. Palin went from the PTA to the city council; Gansert became president of the board at her daughters’ school.

She worked on the campaign of former Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval, with whom she went to high school, and once her youngest child had started school full-time, she decided to run for office.

“I didn’t have a specific agenda,” she said. “I just wanted to contribute.”

Running for Assembly in 2004, Gansert faced a three-way Republican primary against two other women in the Reno district once represented by Gov. Jim Gibbons. She pounded the pavement, enlisting her children to walk from door to door asking for votes, and won with 60 percent of the vote.

In her two sessions, she has championed legislation to better identify convicted sex offenders, to make initiative petitions more understandable and to crack down on Internet predators.

She became the Republicans’ leader last year after Assemblyman Garn Mabey decided not to run for re-election.

Gansert has watched the furor over Palin and is not surprised or perturbed. She said Palin will rise above it all just by being herself and pursuing her ideals.

“There are always those who want to bring people’s personal life into politics, especially at that level,” she said. “I understand it. But when I saw her walk out and talk about her passion for government, I was extremely impressed. I was just inspired. It was very moving.”

Several women in the Nevada delegation said that having juggled family and career, they identified with Palin and her story.

Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden said she feels a kinship with Palin as a fellow former beauty queen and a fellow “hockey mom.”

“I love her,” she said. “I say, ‘You go, girl!'”

Lowden said she understands where Palin is coming from. “She knows what it’s like to get up at three in the morning and take the kids to hockey practice,” she said. “She knows what it’s like to clean blood from hockey shirts.”

“I’ve been a working mother all my life,” businesswoman Sharon Petty of Henderson said. “You have to be very focused, very smart and very organized in everything you do. She clearly is all those things.”

Petty said she loves the choice of Palin for the ticket for her qualifications, not just her gender. “She makes people accountable,” she said. “She’s raised the bar on ethics. She’s not a pushover. I don’t think she’s going to back down on anything.”

As for the news that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, she said, “Almost every family I know has had a situation like that. My mother was the daughter of an unwed mother. You hope you raise them so they don’t do something like that, but sometimes they do.”

Petty, 64, said she thinks voters will be understanding.

“You can do everything right and still have something like this happen,” she said.

Gansert said she thinks Palin will weather the storm of attention. “I think the more scrutiny she gets, the more it helps her because all families have their difficulties,” she said. “When people start maligning someone for something so personal, it seems very judgmental, and I don’t think that’s right to judge people that way.”

She will admit to no aspirations for higher office, though her Assembly district is many times the size of the town, Wasilla, of which Palin was mayor two years ago.

But Gansert giggles over something that happened a few months ago, before Palin was nominated, when her youngest child saw her giving a political speech.

“My 9-year-old boy asked me if I was going to run for president,” she said. “Children, you know, they don’t know the difference.”

Contact reporter Molly Ball at ro 702 387-2919.

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like