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COVID-19 challenges await 2 new faces on Clark County Commission

Updated January 4, 2021 - 5:25 pm

Democrats William McCurdy II and Ross Miller officially joined the powerful Clark County Commission on Monday at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has severely weakened the economy and thrust public health into the spotlight.

McCurdy, a former Nevada assemblyman, and Miller, an ex-secretary of state, were sworn into office on stage at the county Government Center amphitheater. They later took their seats on the all-Democrat commission, which has been grappling with the pandemic since last spring.

“I think both of us understand that there’s a lot of learning to be done, and a lot of work, so I am very eager to join the board,” Miller said after the ceremony.

McCurdy, the former chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party who also led a moment of silence for the recently deceased former state Sen. Joe Neal, said he was “extremely honored” to serve alongside his new colleagues “during such an interesting time” in the county and state.

Commissioners Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Michael Naft also were sworn in at the ceremony after being reelected in November.

Optimistic despite challenges

The first commission meeting of 2021 also signaled that some members are optimistic the county will turn a corner this year despite the steep challenges that lie ahead.

Kirkpatrick, who was reappointed as board chairwoman, stated that she planned to relinquish the role, which includes leading meetings, after a year.

“I have a good feeling that we’re going to get through a lot of hard stuff in the next four to six months and then I look forward to someone else taking over the reigns,” Kirkpatrick said.

Meanwhile, the newest additions to the board were welcomed by their colleagues.

“There’s a lot of energy and a lot of background that will be really useful to us and the constituents of this county,” Commissioner Jim Gibson said.

McCurdy defeated former Las Vegas Fire Chief David Washington, with more than 77 percent of the vote, to win the seat representing District D, replacing term-limited Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.

Contested race

Miller’s victory was more controversial: He beat out Republican Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony by just 15 votes in what Miller said Monday was likely the smallest margin of victory by percentage in the state’s history.

Miller is now representing District C, succeeding term-limited Commissioner Larry Brown. But Anthony recently vowed to take his challenge of the razor-thin race to the Nevada Supreme Court, following rejections in county District Court. His appeal contends that a special election was necessary after discrepancies were identified in the initial count.

When the commission flirted in November with the idea of calling a special election to sort out the winner of the tight contest, Miller sued the board to block a redo, believing it was acting “beyond its constitutional limitations.”

From Brown’s office last month, where Miller was meeting as part of the transition, the new commissioner said he did not think his lawsuit, which he ended after the commission certified his victory, would create an awkwardness between him and his colleagues.

“I know how complicated elections sometimes are and no election’s perfect,” he said, adding that he simply had disagreed with the county’s decision not to initially certify the results. “I’ve talked to other commissioners. It seems to me they all understand that.”

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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