Two Republicans, including the great-grandson of “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum, are running in the June 14 primary for a chance to represent Assembly District 1, but voter demographics suggest the seat will stay in Democratic hands come November.
The district was long represented by Democrat and North Las Vegas resident Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who was termed out of office. She is running for a full term on the Clark County Commission.
So District 1 is an open seat in 2016, and Roger “Oz” Baum, a children’s author who has carried on his great-grandfather’s literary creations, and Howard Brean, who works for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, are vying for the GOP nomination.
The winner will face Democrat Daniele Monroe-Moreno in the Nov. 8 general election.
The district has 15,336 registered Democrats, 9,634 Republicans and 6,283 nonpartisan voters.
Baum ran against Kirkpatrick in 2014 but lost by a 20 percentage-point margin.
Baum, a guest teacher in Clark County schools, said education will be a priority for him if he’s elected.
“We need better schools,” he said. “It’s not so much the teachers. We’ve just gotten away from the basics. We stressed math and science about 10 years ago and now we’re not providing much time for government, history or geography. How can you have allegiance to a country you don’t know anything about?”
Baum said he is opposed to tax increases generally, and would be selective if revenue increases were proposed. One way to improve student performance without more funding is to establish more discipline, he said.
Brean said he would not automatically conform to the GOP party line if elected.
“I would do what my constituents want,” he said. “If voters want more programs for education and families then it is my job to get that done, not tell them no.”
Brean said that with a career in social services, he would work to improve families’ lives, but in a fiscally responsible manner.
“There isn’t a lot getting done in a cooperative way,” he said.
Brean, who served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine, said more needs to be done to help the nation’s veterans.
“We’re not doing enough,” he said. “Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day.”
Contact Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-461-3820. Find @seanw801 on Twitter.