Assembly District 14 lawmaker faces Democrat opponent

In his third bid for elected office, Jack Brooks is trying to unseat longtime legislator Maggie Carlton in the Democratic primary race for Assembly District 14.

Carlton has represented the east Las Vegas Valley area since 1998, first as a state senator, serving the maximum term limit of 12 years before winning the District 14 Assembly seat in 2010.

The Democrat with the most votes in the primary will face unopposed Republican primary candidate Matthew Yarbrough in the November general election.

Democrats have a voter registration advantage of 3-to-1 in the district.

Brooks and Carlton, who have both worked in the food-and-beverage service industry, take slightly different aims on the tasks before them if elected.

For example, when discussing taxes to increase revenue, Carlton believes all options should be on the table. She said legislators on both sides of the aisle setting aside partisan views and working “on real solutions for the state of Nevada.”

“Just saying no doesn’t work anymore,” she said. “We need to do the people’s work and come up with solutions.”

Carlton voted in favor of last year’s main tax bill, SB475.

She also favored a measure for putting a mining tax question on the ballot that, if approved, would allow legislators in 2015 to adjust the 5 percent tax rate on net proceeds of minerals now in the state constitution.

Brooks ran unsuccessfully for the state Board of Education and the Clark County School Board.

In the 2010 school District G race, he lost to Erin Cranor, receiving 47 percent of the votes compared to Cranor’s 53 percent.

Brooks has an open mind about some tax options but is against raising property taxes because of the history of mismanagement in North Las Vegas.

“I don’t think taxpayers should be punished for the incompetence of officials,” he said.

A proposed business margins tax to support education, should it receive the required majority support, would have to be well-tailored to be effective, Brooks said.

“It’s a blunt hammer when you need a scalpel in this situation,” he said.

Brooks said if an increase on what he describes as a “token” mining tax comes up, he would be in favor of it. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be getting some of that (money), considering the amount of environmental damage.”

Carlton said among the most pressing challenges on her radar screen is dealing with the state’s mental health crisis.

“Getting folks out of the emergency room into mental health facilities is truly a jigsaw puzzle, and there are a lot of good people working on it. They’re looking outside of the box.”

On the education front, Brooks said one of his goals is to reduce the “appalling” number of thousands of homeless students in the state.

“Nobody is cracking the whip” to correct the problem, he said.

Carlton said education can be greatly improved by focusing resources on giving young students a head start from kindergarten through the second grade “to make sure they didn’t get behind.”

“When kids are in school more, they learn more,” she said. “If we want to take education seriously we need to have our kids in school learning.”

Contact Keith Rogers at or 702-383-0308. Follow @KeithRogers2 on Twitter.

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