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A two-term Republican incumbent hopes to stave off three challengers as he tries to return to Carson City as the Assemblyman for District 22.

If he wants to keep his job, Lynn Stewart will have to finish ahead of Democrat Kevinn Donovan, Libertarian Nathan Santucci and Salli Durbin of the Independent American Party.

Stewart, who defeated three Republicans in the primary, said he has an advantage over all of them because of his experience. Many veteran lawmakers will be replaced this year because of term limits, making his knowledge of the system and how to get things done even more important, he said.

Legislators again will face a budget shortfall and need to make tough choices, especially after most of the fat in the budget was cut during the past session, he said.

Stewart said the state must look at consolidating services and using technology to improve efficiency, but he does not want to put a bigger tax burden on businesses.

Lawmakers also will wrangle with redistricting, which he said is "out of whack."

Stewart and other Republicans have large districts with many more voters than many Democratic Assembly members, he said. The new districts must be redrawn more fairly, he said.

Donovan, who emerged from the three-candidate Democratic primary, said his job as a construction project manager gives him key experience working with multimillion-dollar budgets.

"I know what budgets look like, and I know what it’s like to be the steward of someone else’s money," he said.

Lawmakers will need to comb through the state budget and cut unnecessary or duplicative programs, he said.

Donovan said he would also lead the charge to recruit new businesses and industries to Nevada by offering tax breaks and other incentives. The state must diversify the economy to ease the effects of future recessions, he said.

"Living on the Strip and construction — that didn’t work," Donovan said.

When it comes to education, Donovan believes in empowerment schools and vouchers for school choice. He also said the Clark County School District should cut the number of administrators and put more teachers in the classroom.

"We need to make sure our classrooms are funded before the administration," he said.

Durbin agrees, saying more school money should go toward teachers, especially in the lower grades.

She supports expanding high school vocational and technical training for students who might otherwise be tempted by the easy money of the service industry.

"This offers them a future outside of dropping out of high school or looking forward to parking cars for the next 30 years," she said.

High schools also should offer in-school day care programs so teen mothers could stay in school and continue to learn.

"The more we try to keep young people in school, regardless of their situation, the better off they’ll be," she said.

Durbin said she supports stronger drunken driving laws and raising taxes on industries such as gaming and mining.

Santucci supports school choice for parents and opposes raising taxes. The state will have to balance its budget by cutting services, he said.

"There’s no way around it," he said.

He wants to create a database where anyone could review state contracts and finances, which would improve transparency in how taxpayers’ money is spent.

"It’s a good way, I believe, of ferreting out wasteful spending," he said. "It might keep them a little more in check."

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281.

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