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Crowded NLV race could see city’s first Black mayor

The city of North Las Vegas could very well elect its first Black mayor this year.

After incumbent Mayor John Lee, launched his bid for governor and switched from Democrat to Republican, he paved the way for business-minded candidates and politicians to succeed him.

Seven people have announced their bids to be mayor of Nevada’s fourth-largest city.

They each have a vision for the growing city, which has recovered from a fiscal emergency in 2011 and was once known as a bedroom community for the city of Las Vegas.

State Sen. Pat Spearman

“When I’m fighting for the right thing, I don’t back up,” said state Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas.

Spearman said her platform is one where everybody has an opportunity to succeed. And this election is a transformative one.

“Somebody is going to be the first African American mayor, and to me that is incidental,” she said. “The next mayor has got to address the issues and challenges that have been languishing in every neighborhood.”

Spearman won her state Senate seat in 2012, defeating incumbent Lee before he became mayor of North Las Vegas. The Army veteran is in her third and final term and is the first Black, openly gay veteran to serve in the state Senate. She is also an ordained minister and former pastor.

She most recently served as chief majority whip, chaired the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and served as vice-chair for the Committee on Health and Human Services.

As mayor, she said she would be able to make sure state policies are being implemented at the local level. Her campaign focuses on economic diversification, affordable housing, job creation, clean energy, technology and infrastructure.

When it comes to making the Apex Industrial Park operational, Spearman said she sees an opportunity for North Las Vegas residents to have a living wage in a “22nd-century job.”

“I want to be at a place where I can make a positive impact in people’s lives, closer to where they are living their lives,” she said. “We’re getting ready to turn this city around. We will have our own identity.”

Pamela Goynes-Brown

Goynes-Brown, who currently represents Ward 2, has served on the North Las Vegas City Council since 2011, when she made history as the first Black woman to be elected to that position.

Now she’s ready to take her public service efforts to the next level.

“My work isn’t done,” she said. “I just want to make my hometown a great place to live, work and raise my family.”

Goynes-Brown spent 35 years in the district, serving both in the classroom and as an assistant principal and has followed in the footsteps of her father, Theron Goynes, who served on the City Council for 20 years.

As councilwoman, she was involved in the Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy, a city-contracted education alternative to the Clark County School District that opened to students during the pandemic.

She was also part of the Council when it overcame a financial crisis that almost led to a state takeover, and said she wants to see a lot of the revitalization projects come to fruition under her leadership.

As mayor, she wants to create incentives to bring in Fortune 500 companies and start developing the Apex industrial park to make the city a global competitor for jobs.

As soon as she starts, Goynes-Brown plans to make the community more inclusive for its diverse populations, work to keep small businesses afloat and address the needs of each of the city’s departments.

She looks forward to building new retail spaces, revitalizing downtown, and continue providing resources to veterans and the homeless.

“There’s nothing that I would rather do right now than to serve the people in North Las Vegas,” she said. “The possibilities are endless.”

Laura Perkins

Perkins was the first to announce a bid for mayor.

She said the current administration has established a good foundation, and it’s now time to build on that.

Her main priority is to bring forward more housing and better access to health care in the city, including building at least two more hospitals around the city, one of which can be a teaching hospital to build future doctors.

“North Las Vegas has not seen the prosperity that the other parts of the valley have,” she said. “Now it’s time for looking in the future to bring North Las Vegas into its own.”

Perkins served as a planning commissioner for the city of North Las Vegas for 10 years and won a seat on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents in 2018. Her background includes work in academia and as an entrepreneur, according to her biography.

As planning commissioner, she learned how to make businesses thrive and bring in industries to keep the community growing, she said.

She said she is proud of her contributions to making it easier for cannabis manufacturers to flourish and to create more jobs with the Amazon warehouse.

As a regent, she said she is making decisions for institutions and students and has built relationships that can help boost the city forward. Perkins said she is an everyday candidate: She was raised by a single mother, she went to College of Southern Nevada and UNLV.

“Because of that I can connect and relate and do what’s right for the majority of North Las Vegas,” she said.

Robert “Twixx” Taylor

“They call me Mr. North Las Vegas,” Taylor said.

Taylor, an award-winning business owner of Fade ‘Em All barbershops and has employed more than 300 people with his promotional business, “Twixx Entertainment.”

As a business owner, he said he has interactions with people from all backgrounds. As mayor, Taylor he would be a cheerleader for the city and cater to everybody.

“I know that when it comes to communicating, we have more in common than we don’t,” he said. “I’m dedicated to the people. I’m dedicated to giving a great product, and as a mayor, it’s the same thing.”

Taylor is running a grassroots campaign and said he felt called to serve the city he has always called home.

He acknowledges that if he were to be elected, he would be the city’s first Black mayor — an honor he says is commendable and important.

But, he said, he’s not running to be the first.

“I’m running to be the best,” he said.

Taylor envisions growth: building stadiums and other attractions to bring in tourism to the city; cybersecurity and technology jobs that make lasting careers; a downtown area with a grandiose sign; and building better relationships with union workers.

Taylor said he would focus on adding more hospitals and addressing staffing shortages in the city, which includes stepping up diversity and recruiting efforts for police officers and firefighters.

“I’m not running against anybody; I’m running for the people,” he said. “If I don’t win this race, I will help whoever wins as much as possible with all the resources I have. Because it’s not about me, it’s about the city.”

Nathan Atkins

Atkins, an Army veteran and Fortune 100 technology business consultant, is not a career politician.

But his business experience selling to government entities in Nevada and leading billion-dollar budgets has given him a good understanding of how government works, he said.

Atkins, a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, said he would aim toward projects that are beneficial for the city as a whole.

“I’m focused on making sure that I would be a good steward of the taxpayer dollar,” he said of being mayor. “I would work tirelessly to make sure that our brand in North Las Vegas becomes synonymous with excellence.”

After he is elected, Atkins said he would examine the city’s budget.

He explained that he is also focused on making North Las Vegas more vibrant, which includes improving public safety, diversifying the housing stock and attracting businesses from outside the valley.

He also envisions a flourishing downtown scene similar to the city of Las Vegas’ Arts District, with more sit-down restaurants for residents.

As mayor, Atkins would make sure the city’s economic development team is properly certified and has a specific goal in mind, he said. He wants North Las Vegas to be a strong partner in recruiting companies from all over, which includes having a strong presence in the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

Atkins said he has worked with people from all different backgrounds, especially during his time in the military. He wants to be a mayor with an open-door policy and to surround himself with people who have different approaches and different ideas.

“Creativity solves problems, not money,” he said. “Money is simply the grease that turns the wheels. It’s the creativity that makes something happen.”

Jesse Addison III

Addison said he believes his life experience can help North Las Vegas move forward.

Addison, a Navy veteran who had a leadership role with the Transportation Security Administration, said he is disciplined and has worked with thousands of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Now a law enforcement support technician with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Addison said business has its part to play in the city’s future — but he wants to emphasize growing smaller businesses over bigger businesses.

“My thing is helping uplift the community,” he said. “I’m a regular person; I work and live around people that talk to me about their issues all the time.”

Addison’s platform includes rent control, finding spaces for the elderly and children, resources for veterans, and helping people who struggle to make ends meet.

He envisions partnering with the private sector to create a “tiny home community” where people can also seek social services and job training. Addison also suggested adding charter and vocational schools to equip young people in North Las Vegas with the skills to jump into a career.

He also suggested attracting a major sports franchise to the city such as an indoor horse racing track, like the valley’s surrounding cities have.

“Everything that we have to do is based on making sure that the people in North Las Vegas have better lives,” he said. “If they’re doing better, we’re doing better.”

Gary Bouchard

Bouchard, a frequent commentator at City Council meetings and semi-retired entertainment professional, is running for mayor again, after an unsuccessful first bid in 2017.

This time, he is focusing on building more energy and water-efficient homes, recruiting businesses, repairing roads, and improving the city’s recreation centers and libraries, as well as providing constructive spaces for youth.

Bouchard said that as mayor he would institute a new and stronger city manager and cut wasteful spending.

“North Las Vegas is like an eight-cylinder truck running on two cylinders,” he said. “The town needs a tune-up.”

He pointed to his years of experience advocating for important issues at City Council meetings, which he said helped enact changes such as instituting more traffic signals and sidewalks.

“Ninety-five percent of the time I was down there, fighting for the taxpayers, without being elected to anything,” he said. “I just want to provide the taxpayers with a city that is working for the taxpayers.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

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