The most crowded Las Vegas city race is for the open seat in Ward 6 that spans the city’s far northwest and since 2017 has been represented by Councilwoman Michele Fiore, who is now running for state treasurer.
With Fiore forgoing a reelection bid, seven candidates have stepped forward to fill the void for the nonpartisan seat. And they represent a wide range of backgrounds.
The race features three well-known candidates including Nancy Brune, the founder and former executive director of the Guinn Center; city Planning Commission Chairman Lou DeSalvio; and Metropolitan Police Department homicide section Lt. Ray Spencer, who has said he plans to retire before the June primary.
Brune narrowly outraised DeSalvio during the first quarter of the year, bringing in more than $146,000 to her campaign against DeSalvio’s $138,000-plus haul, according to campaign finance records.
Spencer reported raising more than $62,000 during the same time, records show.
But far less well-funded candidates are also in the mix: Luke Anderson, who penned the children’s “Hockey Penguin” book series; Paul Casey, founder of Paul Casey Entertainment LLC; David Dillie, a caretaker; and Matt Passalacqua, a state radiation control specialist.
Brune, 53, who recently left her job at the research and policy think tank, is a proponent of data-based policymaking and highlighted balanced growth and public safety as two important issues, saying that the district needed more neighborhood watch programs, a new fire station and a new police substation to add to one that is currently in Summerlin.
“I would argue that we really do need one out directly in the northwest,” she said.
Brune also pointed to her experience with education policy. She called for exploring micro or charter schools on a city level and greater accountability with the Clark County School District as widespread concerns about the district give rise to more city education programming.
DeSalvio, 50, the president of Laborers Union Local 872, said that he was the only candidate with a record in City Hall, and he touted his yearslong involvement with the city’s 2050 Master Plan, which sets the tone for long-term growth.
“My main focus is to protect what we have,” he said. “We have a lot of unique things in Ward 6.”
Farms and orchards are among the offerings in the district, which is why DeSalvio said it was crucial to provide new amenities sought after by residents but also to ensure that the district does not get overbuilt.
Spencer, 45, said the majority of voters were most concerned with public safety and “because of my experience in law enforcement, I think that background will give me an advantage.”
He said that he was frustrated with divisiveness and rhetoric in politics, which was an impetus for launching a council campaign as opposed to pursuing more lucrative post-career opportunities.
“It’s time to bring candidates into public office that are going to represent the people and not special interests,” he said.
Anderson, 40, described feeling unfulfilled by his former day job as a grocery store manager and compelled by a need to do something more. And while he acknowledged the competitive slate of candidates, he said he hoped his candidacy, if nothing else, allowed him to promote literacy.
Anderson has volunteered time for years to speak at schools for Nevada Reading Week and he said he sees the positive effect that it brings to the community. As a parent to two young children, he said he also wants to focus on helping to improve the school district, including by regularly attending meetings as parents do.
“I’m one of them,” he said about voters. “I know what it’s like to live a real life and I know what it’s like to want to make a change in the community.”
Casey, 64, whose company is behind the Abbey Road crossing in downtown and events such as Las Vegas Car Stars and Sin City Halloween, said he was inspired to run by his son and late daughter who had special needs.
“It was always my position to make sure that children inspire others and not to hide them if they had a disability,” he said.
Keenly aware that the city is highly reliant on visitation, Casey said his goal was to revive the tourism economy and create new jobs related to tourism and technology, noting that his funding priorities included public safety, infrastructure, veterans and people with disabilities.
Dillie, 20, a caretaker for his younger and older brother, each of whom have special needs, said that he sought to make a difference for those worried about the future of the city, particularly young people.
“We are important,” he said. “We want to be heard. We have concerns.”
Dillie, who has assisted his father’s businesses, including helping veterans with mental disabilities through art, said that he wanted long-term and meaningful responses to public safety, including by providing direction for youth. He is an advocate for career technical education as an alternative to the often expensive college option, and he proposed improving transportation from schools to community centers.
Passalacqua, 50, a school and church volunteer who said he has a master’s degree in finance and accounting, described fiscal responsibility and public safety as a key priorities.
The district has seen a rise in vandalism, break-ins and catalytic converter thefts, and the solution begins with direct communication with Metro and more patrols and police appreciation events, according to Passalacqua.
He said he wants to streamline business applications and potentially reduce fees to buoy the growth of small businesses and he said that he supported charter, private and home school options for parents of students.
“They know what is best for their child,” he said.
The primary election is June 14. Early voting runs May 28 through June 10.