Steve Sisolak, Nevada’s 30th governor, took the oath of office a few moments before noon Monday in an overcast and chilly Carson City. During a 15-minute address, he praised the hardscrabble nature of Nevadans as spirited people “who always blazed new trails” and are “dogged innovators, relentless entrepreneurs and roll-up-our-sleeves pioneers.”
Gov. Sisolak became emotional while thanking his daughters and discussing the “compassion and common decency” he saw from everyday Nevadans following the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting on the Strip. “We were broken on 1 October,” he said. “But I have never been more proud to be a Nevadan than I was that day.”
The new governor, a Democrat, comes to Carson City after serving nine years on the state Board of Regents and a decade on the Clark County Commission. He’s long been described as political moderate, and he didn’t back off that reputation on Monday.
Gov. Sisolak praised outgoing two-term Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for his “extraordinary service” and for “putting people above partisanship.” He pledged to follow his predecessor’s example, vowing to “find common ground, reach consensus, make a difference in people’s lives and keep moving this state forward.”
He continued with that theme, saying he will fight for “every Nevadan. Not just rural or urban. Not just Democrat or Republican. All of us.”
The chief executive’s affinity for bipartisanship will no doubt be tested in the coming weeks and months. Democrats enjoy healthy majorities in both houses of the Legislature and will likely seek to impose a broad and sweeping liberal agenda. Gov. Sisolak will play a significant role in how much of that agenda is enacted into statute — and whether Democrats choose to reach across the aisle to find areas of agreement with Republicans.
Gov. Sisolak advocated few policy specifics during his inaugural speech, but he made it clear his focus will be on education, job creation and health care — issues he pledged on the campaign trail to address. He hinted he will push for teacher pay increases and greater price controls on prescription medications.
Gov. Sisolak’s heartfelt remarks represented a humble and welcome effort to bridge the chasms that now characterize the political landscape in Nevada and across the country. “We are one Nevada,” he insisted, “with a common purpose and shared vision. It’s not a mirage. It’s our reality.”
Gov. Sisolak hit all the right notes with his emphasis on “the power of unity.” We’re optimistic he’ll now work to transform his lofty rhetoric into action.