More Assembly endorsements:
In District 18, Democrat Mark Manendo faces a challenge from first-time candidate Tim Williams, a Republican. Mr. Manendo is an incumbent worth retaining. He’s one of the few lawmakers who understands and defends the benefits of public-private partnerships in improving highway capacity. Mr. Manendo favors starting new teachers at higher salaries in exchange for reduced retirement benefits, and giving incentive pay to math, science and special education teachers. The Review-Journal endorses Mark Manendo in District 18.
Incumbent Democrat Jerry Claborn faces Republican newcomer Nicholas "Nick" Daka in the District 19 race. Mr. Claborn is a reliable vote for expanding the role of government and nourishing its many bureaucracies, but Mr. Daka, a UNLV student, brings a libertarian perspective to the state’s most pressing issues. He wants to mandate four years of math and four years of science classes in Nevada high schools, privatize some departments and move future state hires off the Public Employees Retirement System and into a 401(k)-style savings plan. The Review-Journal endorses Nicholas Daka in District 19.
In District 20, Republican Joe Hardy is running against Democrat Dan Briggs and Independent American Richard Wayne O’Dell. Dr. Hardy proposes giving a private company the opportunity to build a toll-funded Boulder City bypass highway that would connect to the Hoover Dam bypass bridge currently under construction. Saying the "Board of Medical Examiners is doing a very good job keeping doctors out of Nevada," he wants to streamline its reciprocity arrangement with other states to get physicians licensed elsewhere working here more quickly. Nevada’s current six-month process is "ludicrous," Dr. Hardy says. The Review-Journal endorses Joe Hardy in District 20.
Assemblyman Bob Beers (no relation to the state senator of the same name) was ousted in the District 21 Republican primary by Jon Ozark, who now faces Democrat Ellen Spiegel. Mr. Ozark is a Wharton School of Business graduate who’s focused on helping the state’s economy recover by keeping taxes low and government efficient and accountable. "Only in government do you get more funding for not succeeding," he says, instead supporting more autonomy for public school teachers and principals. District 21 voters can confidently cast their ballots for the promising Jon Ozark.
Democrats took a pass on District 22, leaving Republican incumbent Lynn Stewart to face challenges from Libertarian Nathan Santucci and Independent American Joshua M. Starbuck. Mr. Stewart, a retired high school government teacher, has lived in Southern Nevada for about 60 years and recognizes that money alone can’t fix what ails public schools. Mr. Santucci wants to maintain an attractive business climate in Nevada. He’s "tired of seeing casinos taking a hit for making money" and being targeted for tax increases. We think Mr. Santucci is more inclined to shake things up in Carson City. If a minor-party candidate is ever going to break into the Legislature, we hope it’s Nathan Santucci in District 22.
In District 23, Democrat Allison Herr faces Republican Melissa Woodbury for the office being vacated by RoseMary Womack. Ms. Herr, a family law and elder law attorney in private practice, says she wants to improve the voice of small business in the Legislature, but she’s awfully sympathetic to the interests of government at the same time. Ms. Woodbury, the daughter of longtime, outgoing Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury, is a bilingual special education teacher in the Clark County School District who left its union years ago. She wants to create incentives for in-demand teachers, reward the most productive instructors with merit pay and grant more autonomy to campuses. Ms. Woodbury needs to familiarize herself with issues beyond public and higher education, but we like her perspective. The Review-Journal endorses Melissa Woodbury in District 23.
The District 28 race pits Democrat Mo Denis against Republican Augustin "Tino" Mendoza. Mr. Denis is an ardent defender of the state’s public employee retirement benefits, which have a combined unfunded liability of about $10 billion, and he believes funding for state programs was inadequate even before the economy soured. Such thinking spells trouble for taxpayers. Mr. Mendoza, a U.S. Army veteran and retired school truancy officer, wants to keep taxes and government spending in check and combat illegal immigration by passing Arizona-style laws that punish the employers who give them jobs. The Review-Journal endorses Tino Mendoza in District 28.
In District 29, Republican Sean Fellows faces Democrat April Mastroluca for the seat being vacated by Susan Gerhardt. Mr. Fellows is an intelligence specialist and captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves who says the state’s budgeting process is largely to blame for the government’s fiscal woes. Rather than project revenues over two years and spend every dime, he wants the Legislature to adopt zero-based budgeting. And he says he’ll do "everything in my power to make sure tax increases aren’t on the agenda in 2009." District 29 voters should elect the impressive Sean Fellows.
District 34 incumbent William Horne, a Democrat, faces Republican Richard Deeds and Libertarian William Hols. Mr. Deeds is concerned that Assembly Democrats including Mr. Horne "haven’t seen a tax increase they don’t like," and that tax increases next year would cause further damage to the economy. He wants to rein in public school administrative spending, particularly within the Clark County School District. The Review-Journal endorses Richard Deeds in District 34.
The voters of District 37 will choose between incumbent Democrat Marcus Conklin and Republican Ron "Garrett" Giarratano. Although we disagree with Mr. Conklin on a variety of policy issues, including the need for PERS reform, we like his open-minded approach to problem-solving and his willingness to vigorously debate ideas. Mr. Conklin has 15 years of business experience and a master’s degree in economics, and he’ll continue to serve the residents of District 37 well. The Review-Journal endorses Marcus Conklin.
In Assembly District 41, Democrat Paul Aizley, Republican Tim Rowland and Independent American Kenneth Rex are vying for the seat being vacated by David Parks. Mr. Aizley has been a math professor at UNLV for four decades. On the verge of retirement, he wants to take his experience in higher education and budgeting to Carson City. He knows first-hand that "the average kid coming out of our public schools isn’t ready for college," and he wants to attract and retain the best possible teachers to change that. We like Paul Aizley in District 41.
District 42 incumbent Harry Mortenson, a Democrat, faces Republican challenger Carole Donald. Mr. Mortenson recognizes the threat the state’s expensive, underfunded pension and retirement health care benefits pose to all state programs. Whatever fixes might be considered by the Legislature, "the taxpayer should not have to bail out the retirement system," Mr. Mortenson says. He supports Assemblyman Joe Hardy’s bill to explore the construction of a toll-funded Boulder City bypass highway. The Review-Journal endorses the affable Harry Mortenson in District 42.