Incumbent Clark County Commissioner Brager facing challengers in Democratic primary

Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager is running for a third and final four-year term in a crowded field with three opponents also seeking the Democratic nomination.

Brager’s challengers in the primary are Susan Bonaventura, Ellen Nakamura and former state Sen. Mike Schneider.

Two Republicans, Joe Krathwohl and Mitchell Tracy, are seeking the GOP nod.

The Democratic and Republican winners in the primary will face off in the Nov. 4 general election for the District F seat.

Schneider served four years in the Assembly and 16 as a state senator until 2012.

Schneider said he would push for bringing light rail to the county and developing an overlay map west of Interstate 15 to encourage development of apartments and condominiums.

Bringing light rail would boost economic development and ease congestion on the Strip, said Schneider, who as a state lawmaker helped pass a bill to study and implement light rail in Clark County.

Schneider also said funding for public safety, including road improvements and adequate police officers, must be a priority.

“You’ve got to work this,” the 47-year Clark County resident said of the job. “You can’t be a full-time Realtor and extreme part-time commissioner.”

Brager said she gives her all to the commissioner job and strongly pushed back against Schneider’s contention that she isn’t on the job full time.

Brager said she is accessible to people with an open-door policy, gives out her cellphone number and regularly meets with residents.

Getting feedback from residents about planning for future growth is a priority, she said.

Brager said the commission has balanced the need for safety in its budget without unnecessarily increasing the tax base. When the More Cops sales tax increase came up for a vote in the past year, Brager pushed for a pared-down version that would cut the increase in half. Neither version passed the full commission.

Brager, a county resident for more than 40 years, also has served on the Clark County School Board.

Brager, who voted for an increase in the fuel tax for road construction, said that will add thousands of jobs and provide tangible results with improved roads and safety.

Corridors for light rail needs to be closely studied before decisions are made, she said.

“We need to take careful steps in what we do and how we do it,” she said.

Bonaventura said she would have voted yes on the More Cops sales tax proposal, saying, “You can’t put a price on public safety.”

A Clark County resident for 35 years, she said she would support raising taxes if they create jobs and boost the economy.

“If it’s a tax increase for the good of the county, and if it’s good for jobs and bringing revenue to the county, I think it’s a good idea,” said Bonaventura, the former wife of Las Vegas Constable and County Commission Seat G candidate John Bonaventura.

The fuel tax increase, which commissioners passed last year to raise money for highway projects, is another example of an increase that creates jobs, she said.

Nakamura said she would focus on increasing ways people can provide feedback to commissioners.

She said she would have more town hall meetings in the district to talk about issues and keep close tabs on email communication from constituents who can’t attend commission meetings and give verbal feedback at hearings.

A Clark County resident since 1997, she said it’s “too soon” to raise taxes by much, but added she supports revisiting the More Cops sales tax proposal and analyzing how the increase would help lower the crime rate.

Krathwohl, a 24-year county resident, said he got involved after seeing the county approve high-density residential projects in his rural neighborhood, where residents have acreages with horses and other animals.

Krathwohl said he would offer a voice on the commission that isn’t beholden to developers.

“I started talking to people about this (and) they said, ‘Oh my gosh, you’ve got to run,’” he said.

Krathwohl, who owns condors and performs shows on the Strip and elsewhere, said his wildlife background would be an asset on the commission with issues such as attracting a zoo to the region, conservation, and federal endangered species.

Tracy said the county needs to stop raising taxes and fees.

Instead of looking at raising the sales tax for more police officers, he said, it would make more sense to add an extra dollar or two on hotel rooms so tourists chip in.

He noted that tourists wouldn’t notice the extra fee.

“An extra buck — they won’t even know about that,” he said.

Tracy, who has lived in the county since 1999, also said he would look to lower taxes and make government more efficient.

Tracy ran on the Republican ticket in 2010 against Brager, receiving 37.8 percent of the vote in the general election. Brager received 5 percent.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

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