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Knudsen launches re-election bid to Las Vegas council

Las Vegas Councilman Brian Knudsen is running for re-election.

“I love the job,” he told the Review-Journal after his Tuesday announcement.

Knudsen serves as mayor pro tem but said he did not put any thought into throwing his name into the growing list of candidates vying to replace Mayor Carolyn Goodman, whose third and final term ends in 2024.

“I really love Ward 1,” Knudsen said.

Former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, fellow City Hall colleagues Councilman Cedric Crear and Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, and Kara Jenkins, the head of the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, have declared their candidacy for mayor.

Knudsen was elected to his first term in 2019 after spending nearly a decade working at Las Vegas City Hall. He was briefly the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club and consulted with nonprofits.

Ward 1 encompasses much of central valley west of Interstate 15, and includes the Las Vegas Medical District, which he has championed.

It’s a “very diverse population (of over 113,000) that includes the extreme wealthy, and extremely poor, and everything in between,” he said.

A father to two children — ages 5 and 7 — who’ve experienced medical complications, Knudsen ran on a health care platform. And that continues to be a priority, along with public safety, housing, “neighborhood preservation,” and collaboration with other agencies.

He said Tuesday that up to $500 million will be invested in the medical district over the next two years. The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV recently opened its campus in the district.

He said he also wants to focus on transportation and increased mental health services.

“A major focus will be on collaborating with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, State of Nevada, Clark County, and hospital systems to develop and implement a crisis response system,” his campaign wrote.

The city is tied up in a yearslong and costly legal dispute with the developer of the defunct Badlands golf course. Judgements against Las Vegas could reach $100 million or more, while a proposed $64 million settlement collapsed last year.

Knudsen, 44, said he could not comment on the four pending lawsuits but noted that “the entire city council is eager to put the matter to rest.”

He is part of an increasingly diverse seven-member council that includes three Latinas, an Asian American and a Black man. Knudsen himself is the first openly LGBTQ member to serve on the council.

The married father of two said that his children are his main priority, and doesn’t expect to campaign much. Knudsen has earned master’s degrees in public administration, and science in education leadership from the University of Southern California and UNLV.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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