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Candidates for Henderson City Council say public safety top priority

Six candidates are vying to replace Henderson Councilman John Marz in the city’s 3rd Ward with a majority saying their primary goal is to keep Henderson as one of the safest places to live in the United States.

Carrie Cox, who came close to unseating Marz in 2017, is endorsed by the Henderson Police Officers Association and says that crime is increasing and the city is having trouble recruiting new cadets and retaining experienced officers.

“We are becoming very short on officers and those wanting to become officers,” she said. “They’re doing the very best they can do with what staff they have but with growth we have created an issue.”

Cox, a kindergarten teacher at Pinecrest Academy, said if elected she will help with recruiting events at high schools and other places to make sure the city has good candidates to fill new positions and retirement vacancies.

“We need people to look at a criminal justice career,” she said. Henderson is regularly designated as one of the safest cities by Forbes magazine and other media organizations.

Cox served on the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Educational Excellence and Youth Opportunity and the Clark County Community Development Advisory Committee. She also said she would like to see Henderson have its own school system separate from Clark County School District, which regularly registers low performance.

Realtor Trish Nash, who has served for years on the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, including as its chairwoman, agrees that public safety and education are priorities for the city. She said her negotiating skills in real estate transactions would serve her well in finding solutions for residents and her main priority is to make sure voters are heard on issues that are important to them.

“There needs to be a sounding board for residents, and I want to make sure I’m available to hear their concerns,” said Nash, who also served as vice chairwoman of the City of Henderson Comprehensive Plan Implementation Advisory Committee.

According to a background check the Review-Journal ran on all candidates, Nash was arrested for DUI in 2003, and pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

“I made a mistake when I was a young professional, nearly 20 years ago,” she said. “I have learned from my mistakes and take full responsibility for what happened. I am very grateful for our law enforcement. They have a difficult job, and we need to ensure they continue to have the resources needed to keep our communities safe.”

Keep the city safe

John Niland, a power company project manager, moved to Henderson four years ago and likes living in the suburb so much that he decided he wants to serve on the city council. He served as president of his local homeowners association for three years and said he will work to sustain the city’s safety and work to improve education.

“We love living in Henderson and the city has done a great job across the board,” he said. “We just want to keep it going.”

Niland has an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was a U.S. Navy submarine officer for seven years.

Doug Perns, a retired Metro corrections officer, said public safety is his No. 1 focus especially in some areas of the ward that have been neglected.

“Somebody needs take a stand and be in their corner,” said Perns, who was appointed to the Henderson Parks and Recreation Board in 2015.

Perns said the city is growing so fast that basic services like fire and police can’t keep up, and he would be an advocate for more resources going to those agencies.

“It’s very tough for our officers to keep up with the influx of population into town,” he said.

Steve Rice, a business and real estate attorney, also said public safety, including fire and emergency response, are the top issues he would support. He was endorsed by the Henderson Professional Fire Fighters union and said he was disappointed there were no interviews before the police union endorsed Cox.

Rice said he has never held public office or served on an appointed government board but has dedicated his volunteer work as a fundraiser and president of the Henderson Symphony.

If elected city councilman, he said he would push for “intelligent growth,” creation of good quality jobs and work to deal with the water shortage in Southern Nevada.

“We have very complex challenges on the horizon to solve,” he said.

Helping the less fortunate

Jodi Tyson, who is vice president at Three Square food bank, was the only candidate who did not cite public safety as a top priority. She said she is running to help under-served and low-income populations in the city.

“I’m running for city council to help addresses the root causes of food insecurity, poverty and inequity,” she said.

She wants to revitalize the Boulder Highway corridor, increasing transit and pedestrian safety so that businesses would be attracted to the area. She would like to see Boulder Highway undergo redevelopment similar to what was done to Water Street downtown.

Tyson said federal funds, such as pandemic recovery money, could be used to fund those efforts and not burden residents and businesses with more taxes.

While never holding elected office, Tyson served on the Henderson Strong Comprehensive Plan advisory committee that was adopted in 2017 and Henderson Community Education Advisory Board.

The non-partisan primary will be held June 14 with early voting starting May 28. If none of the candidates receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in the general election on Nov. 8.

Contact Arthur Kane at akane@reviewjournal.com and follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter.

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