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New leadership

Carson City is on the cusp of a new era in cordiality.

Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, is leaving the state Senate to run for Congress. His brief reign as Senate majority leader was defined by his combativeness and unnecessary hostility toward minority Republicans, even though he needed some of their votes to achieve his policy goals.

In line to replace him is Sen. Moises “Mo” Denis, D-Las Vegas, a man whose temperament and political style resemble those of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval: disarmingly pleasant, respectful and guided by integrity and principle.

After last year’s elections, when Republicans picked up a seat in the Senate to narrow the Democratic majority to 11-10, Sen. Horsford effectively declared war on the GOP. Before the 2011 session even started, he picked foolish fights over committee assignments and office space. He made no attempts to meet the new members of the caucus he would have to work with.It is next to impossible to imagine Sen. Denis conducting himself or his party’s business in such a way.

“At the Nevada Legislature, we need to work together,” Sen. Denis told the Review-Journal’s Ed Vogel. “I always try to have good thoughts about people. People say I am too nice. But life is too short. We can focus on the negative, but why not focus on the positive?”

This is not to suggest that Sen. Denis will be a pushover on policy issues. He’s loyal to his party and its platform. He passionately disagrees with Republicans on issues ranging from taxation to education to immigration. When the 2013 Legislature convenes, no doubt there will be issues on which Sen. Denis will not compromise.

But regardless of whether Sen. Denis is majority leader or minority leader one year from now, we hope his ascension will bring a welcome culture change to the capital.

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