EDITORIAL: Adam Laxalt is the clear choice for governor

The Review-Journal enthusiastically endorses Attorney General Adam Laxalt to serve as Nevada’s next governor.

Here’s why:

Under the administration of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, Nevada has emerged from the depths of the Great Recession. Unemployment — which hit 13.7 percent 2010 — is now near all-time lows. Robust job growth and a revitalized housing market are in stark contrast to the dire conditions that existed less than a decade ago. Meanwhile, sales and gaming tax collections — which constitute more than half the state’s general fund — are again at healthy levels and growing.

Term limits prevent Gov. Sandoval seeking re-election this year. And as the November election approaches, Nevada voters have a clear choice. Do they prefer a candidate who will continue to pursue an agenda of growth, opportunity and prosperity through policies that encourage scholarship, entrepreneurship and innovation, or would they rather support a candidate likely to raise taxes, preserve the status quo when it comes to public schools and oversee an expansion of Nevada’s regulatory state?

Those who favor the former will support Mr. Laxalt over Democrat Steve Sisolak, particularly given the likely makeup of the state Legislature.

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Mr. Laxalt, 40, has built an impressive resume. After graduating from Georgetown Law in 2005, he served in the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps for five years, earning the rank of lieutenant. He followed that up with a four-year stint at a Reno law firm before being elected in 2014 as Nevada’s attorney general.

Mr. Laxalt, the grandson of Paul Laxalt, who served one term as Nevada governor before representing the state for 13 years in the U.S. Senate, emphasizes his “absolute priority” is to bolster the state’s ailing K-12 educational system. He vows to protect the reforms legislative Republicans passed during their short time in the majority during the 2015 session and to overhaul budget priorities to boost funding for state public schools by $500 million.

Mr. Laxalt unapologetically supports providing parents with more educational choice for their children, calling such freedom a “transformational opportunity.” As such, his platform includes supporting Education Savings Accounts and Opportunity Scholarships, both of which offer alternatives to students in failing public schools. Mr. Laxalt also proposes scholarships for prospective public school teachers, rewards for high-performing educators and, in an effort to improve accountability, the creation of an online system to help taxpayers access details on how school districts are spending education dollars.

Also high on Mr. Laxalt’s list is preserving the state’s reputation as a low-tax state while promoting policies that will attract jobs and new private investment to Nevada. He supports paring back protectionist occupational licensing barriers and advocates for the creation of a panel to examine how local governments can shed regulations that hinder job creation.

When it comes to health care, Mr. Laxalt says he won’t roll back Gov. Sandoval’s expansion of Medicaid, but he does support a work requirement for those enrolled in the program. He also seeks to attract more doctors and health care providers to the state by relaxing laws that prevent established medical professionals from transferring their licenses to Nevada.

On other issues, Mr. Laxalt is a friend of the Second Amendment, strongly committed to improving the safety of Nevada communities, eager to ensure the federal public lands bureaucracy doesn’t smother our rural residents and in favor of strong measures to ensure transparency of government records.

Of equal importance as his market-oriented policy positions, Mr. Laxalt would serve as a vital check on a Democratic Legislature that continues to drift further to the left.

By contrast, Mr. Sisolak would sanction all manner of mischief emerging from the legislative chambers. Education reform and school choice? Not a chance. Read by 3 to ensure Nevada kids are literate by third grade? Killed. Collective bargaining reform to restore sanity to public-sector pay and benefits? A dead letter.

Legislative Democrats, emboldened by a compliant Sisolak in the Governor’s Mansion, could also be expected to push for a repeal of the state’s right-to-work law, the imposition of single-payer health care, a massive minimum wage hike, a slew of new regulations on job creators and higher property taxes for Nevada businesses and homeowners.

Such initiatives represent a real danger to Nevada’s future prosperity. The choice here is obvious: Adam Laxalt for governor.

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