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2012 Voter Guide: Nevada Senate District 7

It’s a David and Goliath race, only in this case Goliath is actually David Parks, a veteran politician who received $100,000 in campaign contributions. As for the David, that would be Patricia Marsh, a pro-business candidate with no political experience and who funded her own campaign to the tune of $5,000.

At stake: the state Senate District 7 seat.

For 16 years, Parks has held political office in Nevada, first in the Assembly, and now the Senate. Among his signature achievements is authoring the domestic partnership law three years ago. He’s also the only openly gay member of the Legislature and is waiting on an important federal court decision in Reno this November before deciding whether he will author a gay marriage bill for the Silver State.

Marsh, who would oppose a gay marriage bill, said Parks should concentrate on other matters. She said he hasn’t done enough to relieve everyday citizens of their tax burdens in a state that’s heavily taxed.

As for herself, she says she’s gone so far as signing a "No Tax" pledge.

"Fines, taxes, corporate taxes, corporate fees, more taxes," said Marsh, who makes a living selling Point of Sale debit machine systems for CardSmart Merchant Services in Las Vegas. "Quite honestly, it’s time to start consolidating departments across the board. At the state and local levels. It’s time to introduce the concept of ‘one-stop shopping’ to folks."

Parks, who’s all for raising taxes if it’s absolutely necessary and he has no other recourse, is waiting to see what the next Legislative brings. He has voted for them in the past. However, his idea right now is to remove needless tax exemptions that he says do very little to bring new business to the Silver State.

He also said he plans to try to lower the state sales tax by at least 1 percentage point.

"As it stands the sales tax is too high and it was always only meant to be temporary," he said. "But we extended it. It could be a lot lower. I know it generates a lot of revenue from the tourism industry, but it also has a significant impact on the low-income residents here. It makes the daily lives more difficult. They can use every little bit of money."

A little bit about the professional careers of the two candidates: Parks served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War era, was born in inner-city Boston and grew up in rural New Hampshire before getting his master’s degree in business administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

His influence on local government and infrastructure is not to be underestimated. He served as a budget director for the city of Las Vegas in the mid-1970s to the mid-’80s, and also helped to oversee the development of Laughlin during its boom times while working in the Clark County manager’s office.

Throughout the 1990s, he was the assistant director at the Regional Transportation Commission, where he was the chief administrative officer.

As for Marsh, she was an account representative for various armored car companies in Las Vegas. Among her clients were major casinos. These days, she’s a mother of a 10-year-old girl. She said she would like to make Nevada a better place for its future generations.

"I also want to help the elderly," she said.

Contact reporter Tom Ragan at tragan@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512.

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