Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman was sworn in for a third and final term on Wednesday in a ceremony that underscored the legacy of the Goodman name and celebrated her impact on the city, which began years before she and her husband started serving a combined 20 years leading City Hall.
Goodman, 80, founded The Meadows School in 1984, and the head of school, Jeremy Gregersen, framed her influence from the perspective of education.
“Usually in human events, when one works civically to try to support a community, it takes generations to see the fruition of that work,” Gregersen said. “And it’s really remarkable what the Goodman family has been able to do over the course of the last 20 years. It’s unequaled in the state, in the country.”
After Goodman, who was reelected April 2 in a landslide victory, was sworn into office by City Clerk LuAnn Holmes before a crowd inside the City Council chambers, she was treated to a song by students at The Meadows School who carried pink and white balloons in front of the dais.
One young boy presented her with a plaque and the school presented her with framed photos signed by 850 students, articulating messages of support. Gregersen said the school has the highest test scores in Nevada, students perform thousands of hours of community service yearly and the school will offer $1.8 million in tuition assistance in 2019 alone — all testaments to her efforts.
Gregersen also pointed to the rejuvenation of downtown, particularly Fremont East and the Arts District, along with new developments at Symphony Park as reflections of the Goodmans’ footprint in Las Vegas.
Goodman’s husband, Oscar, served as mayor from 1999 to 2011, meaning that the two will have served at least 24 consecutive years by the time her final term ends in 2023. A bill pending in the Legislature to align odd-year city elections with even-year state contests could extend that to mid-2024 if it passes.
Goodman told the Review-Journal she had not considered the extra time when running for reelection, although she insisted she was up for it while jokingly noting it would provide her with a lengthier tenure than her husband served.
“We’re two competitive people. I started to laugh when I heard the first presentation on the bill,” she said. “I don’t believe it — he is going to have a fit.”
Oscar and the couple’s four adopted children stood with Goodman during Wednesday’s ceremony, which occurred at the beginning of the regular City Council meeting, as Goodman emphasized, “There’s nothing more important than family. They’re the very essence of my soul.”
In January, Goodman announced she was fighting “manageable” Stage 2A cancer in her right breast and would undergo chemotherapy. She told the Review-Journal in late March that doctors had been “delighted” with how she had responded to treatment. Because she wasn’t feeling well, however, her swearing-in was postponed two weeks ago and she missed her election night party.
Goodman told the Review-Journal that her “very successful” chemotherapy sessions are behind her — four in total — yet the treatments had also affected her white blood cell count, causing a major infection that hospitalized her before she was first slated to be sworn in. After several treatments, and heavy-duty antibiotics, she recovered but not enough to attend the council meeting two weeks ago because the drugs had “zapped every ounce of strength.”
She added that she still needs an operation to remove what remains of the cancer, although “now I feel great and now it’s uphill.”
During the meeting on Wednesday, the mayor expressed gratitude for well-wishes, saying that “nobody’s life could have been better than mine.”
“There’s so many that are touched everyday by cancer, by somebody they know, somebody that’s a friend, somebody that’s a colleague, that’s a daughter, that’s an uncle,” she said. “But medicine today is moving along so incredibly and that’s why I have been given this wonderful opportunity to move on and do what I love and be with you all and ask you all to take this city to the next level.”
For Goodman, that means continued focus on “this spurt of economic development” that includes downtown and quality of life issues such as fixing parks, improving transportation and bolstering public safety.
Even after eight years of experience in City Hall, she said there is still more to learn but, “I feel very comfortable in my skin.”