Sad news from Carson City

In the last year, Nevada has lost three sitting members of the Assembly.

Assemblyman Pete Livermore, R-Carson City, passed away today. Livermore was a Carson City businessman and a veteran of local politics before he was elected to the Assembly in 2010. He was also a former U.S. Marine. Livermore had decided not to run for re-election this year.

“Pete Livermore was a champion of Carson City. His legacy touched the lives of countless families across Northern Nevada through his commitment to youth athletics and public service,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval in a statement. “Pete dedicated his life to his constituents while serving as a Carson City Supervisor and Nevada state assemblyman. I had great respect for Pete and his passion for helping others. He always brightened everyone’s day with his attitude, smile and kindness. Nevada and the Legislature lost a great man today and he will be missed.”

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick said: “I am saddened today to hear of the passing of Assemblyman Pete Livermore. Pete was always full of life, and a fantastic friend in Carson City, a town he chose to raise his family in, start his career, and loved so dearly. Pete will be missed, but not soon forgotten. His speeches on the Assembly floor were always heartfelt and impassioned, and he could bring a smile to everyone’s face. Myself, and the entire Assembly Democratic Caucus extend our heartfelt condolences to his family at this difficult time.”

Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said: “Pete epitomized Carson City. He was extremely proud of representing Nevada’s capital city in the Legislature. Peter was like a grandfather to his legislative colleagues. Hard-nosed and cantankerous one moment, generous and full of wisdom the next, Pete will be long remembered by the citizens of Carson City as he will be [by] the members had the privilege of serving with him in the halls of the Legislature.”

Last week, Assemblyman Joe Hogan, D-Las Vegas, died, about two months after suffering a massive stroke in Washington, D.C. while looking for a house.

“I was saddened to hear of the Assemblyman Joe Hogan. Joe was a good man who bravely served his country as an officer in the Navy and dedicated himself to Nevada as a kind and determined member of the Legislature,” Sandoval said. “We will be forever grateful for his passion and commitment to fighting for the rights of us all. Nevada is a better place because of his service. His wife Sandy, and their children, will remain in my thoughts and prayers.”

“Assemblyman Joe Hogan was an outstanding public servant who always put the needs of his constituents first,” said Roberta Lange, chairwoman of the Nevada Democratic Party. “As a civil rights attorney, and as a member of the Nevada Assembly, Joe fought tirelessly for equality and served as a voice for the people who needed help most. I am heartened to know he was surrounded by his family when he passed away. My thoughts and prayers are with them in this difficult time.”

Added Kirkpatrick: “The Assembly Democratic Caucus is profoundly saddened by the news that Assemblyman Joe Hogan has passed away. Joe was a friend to all, and one of the kindest and gentlest souls to ever grace the legislative building. His care and compassion for members of minority or disadvantaged status were always on display as he fought for their full representation in the eyes of the law. Joe’s spirit will live on in our state, and in the legislature for a very long time. The kindness he exhibited from his first day in the building until his very last will not soon be forgotten.”

I will personally miss Hogan — a U.S. Navy veteran — because of his courage. He introduced a bill in the 2013 Legislature that would have made it illegal for employers to take tips away from their employees without consent. His bill anticipated a Nevada Supreme Court ruling issued in October 2013 that allowed the Wynn Las Vegas to force dealers to share tips with “casino team leads,” employees who were formerly classified as pit bosses, despite a state law that seems clearly to prohibit the practice.

Hogan got virtually no support for his bill, despite his long history in Carson City. The measure was opposed by Wynn, and it never got so much as a hearing in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee because — as Chairman David Bobzien, D-Reno, said — labor groups could not agree. (A dealers union favored the bill, but the Culinary Union opposed it.) Although he never said so publicly at the time, Hogan felt his long tenure in office should have accorded him at least the courtesy of getting a vote on his legislation.

In addition, Hogan proposed a bill that would have legalized and taxed marijuana for recreational use outright. It also was bottled up in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. But that idea is now the subject of a petition that’s gathering signatures statewide, which may come before the 2015 Legislature.

Hogan had elected not to seek re-election because of health issues.

Hogan and Livermore aren’t the only recent lawmaker deaths, either. Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, lost a long battle with cancer in October 2013.

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