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‘The government is broken’: Businesswoman vying to become Las Vegas’ next mayor

Until recently, Las Vegas mayoral candidate Irina Hansen had never aspired to run for office.

“It’s just that I’ve had enough,” the businesswoman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The government is broken. It no longer works for the people; it’s not serving the people.”

Hansen, a veteran real estate professional and Las Vegas salon owner, is one of 15 candidates vying to replace Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who is term-limited.

The race could be decided on Election Day Tuesday if one of the candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Otherwise, the top two hopefuls move on to a November runoff.

Hansen — who was born in Romania and was raised in the United States — said local government affects every facet of her life.

Her top priorities would include tackling homelessness, serving seniors and veterans, and public safety.

Hansen’s administration would advocate to increase oversight on how social services organizations spend tax dollars.

“We have a lot of viable organizations in place right now that serve those in our communities, but the problem is I think the leadership,” she said.

Hansen said she would work to streamline the licensing process for small business owners.

The city lures big businesses with incentives, including tax breaks, Hansen said. “We don’t do that for small business owners.”

Las Vegas has its own department of public safety and fire department, but also funds a significant portion of the Metropolitan Police Department’s budget.

“I think the police department is doing great,” she said. “We just need to give them the necessary tools that they need and get out of their way.”

Hansen said she would move to quickly settle the lawsuits with the would-be developer of the defunct Badlands golf course, a position taken by most of the candidates.

As mayor, she would take the resolution a step further by publicly apologizing to developer Yohan Lowie for what she described as mistreatment and slander from the city.

“He has a right (to develop),” she said. “He’s an investor, everyone has that opportunity and that right when you come to Las Vegas.”

Hansen said she would push for more transparency, noting that just researching the Badlands dispute required moving through muddled publicly available information.

Hansen would lean into her religious faith to do the right thing “during closed doors,” she said.

The candidate said her message has resonated with the constituents she’s met with. And under her tenure, the city would continue to collaborate with neighboring cities.

“I’m here to work for the people,” she said. “Right now we have a self-serving government, and it’s time that we get someone in there that has a will and a desire and a passion to work for the people.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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