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Appointed state senator running for election to a full term

The Democratic primary for Senate District 10 features a young incumbent senator seeking to fend off a challenge from a lifelong Democrat.

Fabian Donate was 24 when he was appointed to the District 10 seat last February, replacing Yvanna Cancela after Cancela took a job in the administration of President Joe Biden. Donate’s opponent in the primary is Jack “JT” Absher, who is a small business owner and an 11-year resident of Las Vegas who said he wants to advocate for seniors, children and working people in both District 10 and the state.

Donate said he learned a lot in the last year, representing a district of about 129,000 people that includes the Las Vegas Strip and Harry Reid International Airport.

“The district I represent is where I grew up and it is where most of my family actually resides in,” Donate said. “About seven households.”

Donate is a graduate of UNLV who works as a health care administrator. He said he is a strong advocate for public health and helping Nevada rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic started, because my family members were all casino workers, a lot of them got laid off,” Donate said.

Donate said he introduced two pieces of legislation during his time in the Legislature. The first was aimed at helping businesses and their employees get vaccinated in part because “vaccinations were the mechanism that would help move us toward the recovery phase.” The legislation also facilitated a study on the ramifications of COVID-19 on Nevada and how the state can move forward to better protect itself from future public health emergencies.

Donate also introduced legislation that sought to have public health information translated into other languages for constituents.

“I want to focus on workforce development to make sure that the workers who have been displaced are set up for success,” Donate said. “We are in a trajectory for economic recovery.”

Absher is a small-business owner in the hospitality, entertainment and real estate fields.

“I’ve been in and around Democratic politics all of my life,” he said. “I worked and volunteered on numerous campaigns as a young person. I was a delegate at the Democratic convention in 2004.”

He said he’s running for office because he wants to give back to the community.

“I believe we need to get health care costs under control and reduce the price of prescription drugs,” Absher said. “We need to fund education and bring more mental health and social services inside school buildings. We need to grow the economy in a fair way that grows the middle class and benefits everyone.”

He said he has real-world experience running businesses, managing payrolls, budgeting and accomplishing goals through up and down business cycles.

“I understand what families are going through with inflation, high gas prices, out-of-control health care costs,” Absher said. “I understand the effect this has. I understand what families are dealing with. I’m in this race to give voters the opportunity to choose a true life-long Democrat with real world experience who is ready to lead on Day 1.”

Absher said his legislative priorities would be addressing “Health care costs, underfunded education, mental health and jobs” and pursuing a “progressive, family-first agenda.”

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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