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Fresh off election loss, Fiore appointed to Nye County post

Updated December 21, 2022 - 9:55 am

Former Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore was unanimously appointed a Nye County justice of the peace by the Nye County Commission late Tuesday.

Fiore was appointed to fill the rest of the term of the late Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson. The commissioners voted around 9:30 p.m. near the end of a meeting that began at 10 a.m.

Jasperson, who died in August, would have been be up for reelection in 2024 in Department B in Pahrump for a term running from 2025 to 2027, according to the Nye County Clerk’s office.

In September, Nye County commissioners decided to appoint someone to the office rather than hold a special election. Some 20 people expressed interest in the appointment.

Fiore, who served from 2012 to 2016 in the state Assembly, was a member of the Las Vegas City Council for five years.

During her pitch to commissioners for the judicial position, she said that she became a “qualified elector” as a Pahrump resident as of Nov. 15 when she rented a house in the area, and so is prepared to officially take office as justice of the peace.

She said she plans to complete a bachelor’s degree and ultimately take the Nevada State Bar exam to serve as an attorney during her term on the bench. (In smaller counties in Nevada, a law degree is not required to work as a justice of the peace.) Fiore said one of her priorities would be bringing in students from the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law to serve as interns and clerks in the court.

“I’ve been a servant leader for a decade,” she told the commission. “And I have zero conflicts. So as hopefully your next justice of the peace, the conflicts when you sit on that bench, as not being a police officer in law, the people that come before me I can actually help. So I will be fair, firm, compassionate and unbiased.”

Fiore, who claims to be adept at firing shotguns, rifles as well as handguns, said that she was in favor of permitting citizens to wear firearms into the courtroom.

“I’m 100 percent Second Amendment,” she said. “I think gun free zones leave everybody here a sitting duck.”

In answer to Commissioner Leo Blundo, Fiore said that she would “of course” run for reelection as justice, and not simply for the remainder of the term. (Blundo himself had applied for consideration for the justice of the peace job, but withdrew his application.)

Controversial councilwoman

Fiore, who initially announced a bid for governor, instead lost a bid for state treasurer this year. She has faced investigations reportedly related to her campaign finances, and the FBI raided her Las Vegas home in 2021. Charges have not been filed, however.

Fiore also drew headlines for a physical altercation at City Hall with fellow Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who later sued Fiore and the city over the incident. But an independent investigation faulted both women for the fight, and concluded that Seaman had begun the attack. Fiore told Nye County commissioners that “I aggressively ended it (the fight) and brought her to the mayor’s office.”

After applicants made their cases, 16 members of the public made comments. There was a mix of those voicing support for certain candidates as well as people who told the commissioners who they should not select. Some people said those who lost an election should not be appointed by the board.

The commissioners voted to narrow the applicants down to a top three: Fiore, Pro Tem Judge Michael Foley, and William Carns were the top three vote getters.

Commissioner Donna Cox made a motion to appoint Fiore based on the vote tallies, after reading into the record a letter supporting Fiore written by former President Donald Trump. Commissioner Debra Strickland seconded the motion.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter. Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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