Patrick Ketterer has been constable in Laughlin since 1991. He has won five elections, but this race — probably his last — is the first time he has had an opponent.
The salary for the job is modest. Ketterer earned just $18,610 last year, an amount on which his retirement will be based.
So why does he do it?
“I’m honest and I’ve been in Laughlin going on 23 years,” he said. “I love the service that I give the people.”
His opponent Jordan Ross is active in state and local politics, is wealthy and hails from the opposing party. He has no complaints about Ketterer or the job Ketterer has done as constable.
Ross, if elected, wants to use the constable’s job to accomplish a much larger goal: get Laughlin incorporated.
“We have no other opportunity for representation,” he said. “I’m going to take advantage of the bully pulpit.”
He said the recent controversy over Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak’s appointment of members to the town board – rather than honor the results of the town’s long-held straw polls – has galvanized the community. It has also made residents realize that the town needs to be incorporated so they can elect their own leaders, he said.
If he becomes constable, he will not be easily dismissed “as another angry resident with a pitchfork and a torch” when he lobbies county and state officials, he said. He knows that using the constable’s role for that will make people uncomfortable.
“What I’m doing is out of the box,” he said. “A lot of people are having a hard time getting their head around that.”
He said he still will focus on improvements, such as upgrading equipment, establishing a hot line for consumer education questions and setting up a network so volunteers can help local groups. Any additional costs to the office would be paid for by him personally, Ross said.
Ketterer disagrees with using the constable’s position to lobby for other things. He said he should be re-elected because he is also a sworn police officer and because he has always handled his duties fairly and humanely.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.2010 GENERAL ELECTION VOTER GUIDE
Constables serve Justice Court orders, including arrest warrants, garnishments of wages and evictions. The Las Vegas Township constable is paid $103,456 per year while others get county benefits plus a small stipend. Almost all of their compensation comes from fees for each service. All are elected to four-year terms.
NOT PICTUREDName: Patrick Ketterer (incumbent)Party: DemocratAge: 68Occupation: Constable
Name: Jordan RossParty: RepublicanAge: 53Occupation: Recruiter for law firms