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Steve Ross heads into his third consecutive term as councilman

Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross’ cell phone number is available to anyone who wants to find it.

It’s on his business card, his website and his campaign mailers. Some people call Ross’ number just to make sure it’s his.

The Ward 6 councilman suspects that level of accessibility is a big part of the reason he keeps getting re-elected.

“I’m the only elected official I know who does that,” Ross said. “I really just enjoy the heck out of my job.”

Ross has survived two re-election campaigns and two recall attempts in as many years and spent part of his second term fending off conflict-of-interest allegations surrounding his vote to support construction of a new Las Vegas City Hall while acting as secretary-treasurer for the Construction and Building Trades Council.

Ross, a master electrician who works for the Labor Management Cooperative Committee, overcame that 2009 Nevada Ethics Commission situation by getting 55 percent of the vote that year in Ward 6’s primary.

Less than two years later, only months removed from his first recall attempt, Ross butted heads with local car dealer Joe Scala over the then-suspended franchise car dealer franchise agreements in Ward 6.

Not long after, Ross emerged from a meeting to find angry protestors chanting “Toss Ross!” on Fremont Street.

“It was so ugly,” Ross said, laughing. “I’m on the phone trying to work out a deal for this guy, I didn’t want him to have to lay his people off, and I come around the corner and all his employees are picketing me.”

Ross walked away with 70 percent of all recall election ballots cast in January, part of a 4-1 campaign record marred only by the Democrat’s ill-fated bid for the mayor’s seat in 2011.

The three-term councilman hasn’t run against especially weak opposition : Conservative Suzette LaGrange spent more than $80,000 on her failed bid to defeat Ross this month , part of the reason Ross believes Ward 6 tends to lean his way out of “conviction.”

“Politicians serve themselves ; public servants serve those who elect them,” Ross said. “I’ve never been that guy who got elected, closed the door, sat on my hands and did nothing. That’s why I get so many rocks thrown at me .”

Ross, who fell ill and had to watch most of his April 2 primary victory from a hospital bed, said he’s feeling much better now. He’s well enough, according to his assistant, Michelle Thackston, who said Ross is set to continue revamping the city’s phone book-thick business code.

“He’s working right now on multi-jurisdictional business licensing, sort of a one-stop shopping for business applications,” Thackston said. “Getting rid of stupid, that’s what ( business licensing manager) Karen Duddleston calls it.”

Whether it’s streamlining the business application process or reviving the Helldorado Days rodeo, Ross doesn’t shrink from listing his accomplishments. The father of five counts everything from Summerlin’s Fire Station No. 48 to Centennial H ills’ Community Center as among a lengthy list of Las Vegas City Council credits . The list of things he’d like to do includes reconfiguring U.S. Highway 95 and the Las Vegas Beltway interchange and completing the first phase of a planned equestrian center north of North Jones Boulevard .

The to-do list is too long, Ross said, to wrap up before leaving office in 2017.

That could be why he’s leaving future political doors open, if only a crack.

“I’m a firm believer in opportunities and options,” Ross said of his post-council plans. “But mostly, I’m going fishing.”

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at jdehaven@viewnews.com or 702-477-3839.

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