The Clark County Commission created another vacancy in the Nevada Legislature on Tuesday when they appointed an assemblyman to the state Senate.
Assemblyman Chris Brooks was appointed to District 3 to replace Tick Segerblom, who last month was elected to the county commission. Dallas Harris, an attorney for the Public Utilities Commission, was chosen to represent District 11. She replaces former Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, who was elected attorney general.
“Senate District 3 is where five generations of my family have lived and it’s my favorite part of the great state of Nevada,” Brooks told the commission prior to his selection.
Harris credited her successes to the community support in Las Vegas, saying she sought to use her education and experience “to create more opportunities for a lot of the people who are from this community, just like myself.”
But her appointment was not without some controversy. It followed more than two dozen public comments in favor of Reuben D’Silva, a war-injured Marine veteran and teacher.
D’Silva and fellow candidate Ngoc Duy V. Nguyen were supported by One APIA Nevada, a group that advocates for Asian- and Pacific Islander-American representation in elected offices.
“We cannot expect policies and decisions to reflect the needs and desires of the APIA community, if we are not part of the discussion,” Evan Louie, chair of the advocacy group, said in a statement. “We need, and must demand, a voice in the legislature.”
The new senators are both Democrats because their predecessors are Democrats and state law requires appointees to be of the same political party. Brooks and Harris, who were both elected unanimously, will serve until 2020. Harris was selected from a pool of 10 applicants. Brooks was chosen from a field of nine.
By selecting Brooks, who represented Assembly District 10, the commission departure created a second opening in the Assembly. Olivia Diaz, who was elected last month to a fourth term in Assembly District 11, resigned her seat on Monday because she will run for Las Vegas City Council next year.
Commissioners also selected Gregory Hafen to replace Dennis Hof in Assembly District 36. Because the district also covers portions of Nye and Lincoln counties, each board of county commissioners selects a candidate and convenes to pick the representative. Most of the district is in Nye County, so the Nye County Commission has more weight in the selection.
Lincoln County on Monday voted to appoint Hafen to the seat. Hof, a Republican, died in October but remained on the November ballot.
Clark County is accepting applications to fill the Assembly 10 and 11 seats and make the appointments at a future meeting.
The 2019 legislative session begins Feb. 4. Democrats have a 13-8 advantage in the Senate and a 29-13 majority in the Assembly.