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Two more say they’ll run for Las Vegas City Council

Updated January 14, 2019 - 9:34 am

A former Assembly candidate and a special education teacher are the latest to declare intentions to run for the Las Vegas City Council with less than two weeks before the candidate filing period opens.

Jesse “Jake” Holder said he will be a candidate for the Ward 1 seat. Aaron Bautista plans to throw his hat into the Ward 3 ring.

Mayor Pro Tem Lois Tarkanian is term-limited in Ward 1, home to the city’s growing Medical District, while Councilman Bob Coffin has said he will not seek re-election in Ward 3, encompassing downtown. The filing period for candidates is Jan. 22 through Feb. 1.

“I really want to focus on creating an environment for the city so that we can have thriving businesses without excessive regulations or taxes,” Holder said.

A part-owner of a commercial marijuana business, Holder described himself as a former Navy lieutenant commander who has the ability to find compromise on the seven-member board. He said the arrow is pointing up for Las Vegas, but he cited homelessness as a disrupting force that the city should treat compassionately and with existing resources.

“I think it’s a disgrace to our city, or any major city, to have the amount of homeless people that we have,” he said.

Holder, 55, has lived in the ward for the past five years and the Las Vegas area for 15. He unsuccessfully pursued the Assembly District 10 seat by appointment last month and by election in 2014, when he was declared ineligible prior to the general election after his opponent challenged his residency.

Holder still appeared on the ballot — it was too late to change — and lost by 68 votes. He said Wednesday that he “absolutely lived in that district,” but that his lawyer simply failed to submit substantiating documentation to the courts.

He suggested a nonpartisan council race may be a better fit because, even though a Democrat, his values match tenets of both major parties.

Bautista, a special education teacher at Legacy Traditional School, North Valley, said he was galvanized to seek office as a lifelong resident of the district.

“I’ve seen where changes need to happen, and I want to help make them happen,” he said.

Bautista, 35, described a quality of life that he has seen plateau while the population has boomed, saying infrastructure, jobs and homelessness were issues to target. Having performed homeless outreach with the social services nonprofit Help of Southern Nevada, he said he was in tune with the stakeholders who can help the city form needed community partnerships.

He added that in nearly four years of teaching, he witnessed parents fall on hard times, including one who routinely missed parent-teacher conferences due to working two jobs.

“You’re hearing about how families are being affected by the economy,” he said, concluding the time was right for “some fresher minds” on the council.

The Ward 5 seat, occupied by Councilman Cedric Crear, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s seat are also up for grabs. Both are seeking re-election. The primary election is April 2, and the general election is June 11.

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

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