North Las Vegas Councilman Scott Black faces two political novices in the upcoming primary to represent Ward 3.
Black, the incumbent and businessman who was first elected in 2017, said he plans to continue the trajectory of growth that he has seen take shape during his first term in office.
His opponents, Air Force veteran and entrepreneur Mario Mitchell and mental health advocate Jovan Jackson, said they hope to bring fresh ideas to City Council.
Ward 3 runs along the western edge of North Las Vegas, encompassing the Crossroads Towne Center, a Department of Motor Vehicles office and part of the Aliante master-planned community.
Black, owner of the graphic design company LogoZoo, grew up in North Las Vegas.
In 2017, he rose from relative obscurity to unseat two-term incumbent Anita Wood and was first endorsed by North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, who is now running for governor.
Since then, Scott said he has been consistently available and engaged with his constituents.
“(Lee) helped me with the first tank of gas, but I drove the bus,” he said. “I won on my own merits.”
Black said that over the last four years, he has been able to serve on the boards of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Southern Nevada Housing Authority, Workforce Development Board and Southern Nevada Health District. He also served as the chair or vice-chair on three of those boards.
Those leadership positions enabled him to have a front-row seat to many issues that directly affect Ward 3 — especially when it came to meeting the needs of vulnerable populations at the height of the pandemic, he said.
“I’m a neighbor first,” Black said. “I’m a problem solver, I’m a helper, I love to serve. And hopefully, that’s been evident.”
Black said his experience in marketing helped him to elevate the brand of North Las Vegas and be an advocate and champion for the city. He noted that the City Council must do its part to run the city efficiently and effectively, like a business.
“I will give you my sales pitch on North Las Vegas: It’s a product that is a strong product that has great value and return on investment,” he said.
Black said the city is in a good place as it continues to grow and highlighted the decision to create the Apex Industrial Park for economic development. Now, North Las Vegas can be strategic and selective as the competition increases between businesses that want to come there, he said.
Black wants to see the Apex project come to fruition and to continue creating robust public safety agencies, which includes offering competitive salaries and beefing up recruiting efforts.
Black said he wants to continue to represent North Las Vegas in its entirety at the regional level, as well as his constituents in Ward 3.
“I’m humble, I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to learn,” he said. “And it’s just been a great honor to serve, and I hope I have the chance to continue to do so.”
Mitchell, who first moved to North Las Vegas when he was in high school, is an Air Force veteran and co-founder of Mech Ventures, a capital firm.
Raised by a single mom, the father of four said he felt compelled to run for City Council to help create a better community for his family and others in the city.
Mitchell said his military experience taught him how to navigate conversations with people from different backgrounds to solve problems — a skill he would bring to the table as a city councilman.
“As a veteran, we have to wear multiple hats, regardless of what our job was in the military. You always have to be willing to adapt,” he said.
Mitchell said he is running on the military’s core values: Integrity first, service before self and excellence.
After he got out of the military, Mitchell started the local chapter of Bunker Labs, a network that supports veteran entrepreneurs.
He said he wants to create more job training programs for youth and veterans, as well as build new community gardens, museums and interactive parks.
He also has a vision for a Technology District that would blend entrepreneurship and art in the ward.
Mitchell views a seat on City Council as a full-time job.
“To make change is not a part-time job, it is a full-time thing,” he said. “You can do a whole lot more for your community if you really stick your neck out there and try to represent and be that voice.”
Jackson, who started his first small business in 2011, at the age of 19, is the founder of two mental health facilities and is now the program director at True Family Services.
At age 22, Jackson had a mental breakdown that originated from substance abuse.
Jackson has been open about his past criminal conviction: He was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery and was released in 2018.
“I know my background will always be judged,” he said. “But the need is now, so I’m going to run now.”
Since his release, he has been dedicated to being the voice for the city’s vulnerable populations, including people stricken by poverty, mental health issues and substance abuse.
He wants to expand those efforts on the City Council.
Some of his ideas include reducing the recidivism rate by incorporating treatment and counseling in the jail and implementing more diversion programs within the city’s court programs.
“We need to address the underlying issues,” he said.
Jackson said he also wants to help with the branding of North Las Vegas and bring more money to the city.
“I represent the urban voice, the average day American, I represent the true demographics of North Las Vegas,” he said. ”The work doesn’t stop or begin with this councilman seat.”