Incumbent Assemblyman Howard Watts III wants to protect his seat representing the central Las Vegas Valley against a Republican opponent in the race for Assembly District 15.
Steven Bang, a Republican, is likely to face a strong challenge as Democrats hold a significant registration advantage in the district. There are more than 12,000 active registered Democrats compared with about 5,400 active registered Republicans, according to August 2022 statistics.
Watts, a public relations consultant for nonprofits and businesses by trade, is running for his third term in the Legislature. He’s a Las Vegas native and alumnus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was first in his family to graduate college, he said.
Howard Watts III
Much of Watts legislative accomplishments are in environmental issues. He worked with the Southern Nevada Water Authority on the policy to remove nonfunctional turf and wants to look for new ways to lead the region in water conservation practices.
Watts said he wants the state to use federal funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, which included a historic investment in climate-related infrastructure, to support diversifying the state’s economy while addressing climate change.
“This provides a huge opportunity for Nevada to lead the economy of the future in terms of developing all this clean energy technology,” he said. “We’ve got the sun. We’ve got geothermal resources. We’ve got battery companies and others that want to locate here and so I’m excited that we can be solving issues that we face, but also do it in a way that is building a strong economy for the future.”
If reelected, Watts wants to focus on investing in K-12 and higher education and affordable housing – a topic on most of his voters’ minds, he said. He supports using unallocated funds from the state’s share of American Rescue Plan monies to make childcare, health care, housing and energy more affordable.
“We can’t wave a magic wand and fix the global supply chain or what’s going on in Ukraine, but I do think that we can help develop programs to help address these pocketbook issues,” he said.
Bang did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.