Children and idealists seem to like the notion of such jarring non sequiturs as “jumbo shrimp” and “citizen legislator.” That last one is almost as daffy a thought as “amateur prostitute.” With that cynical introduction, it was with considerable interest that I entertained the Tuesday announcement that former state legislator Bob Coffin had decided to jump back into politics.
Talk about a slow learner.
Coffin revealed his plan to run for the Ward 3 City Council seat currently held by Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese, who is term limited and retiring.
Coffin served in the state Assembly and Senate from 1982 to 2010. He has been a Ward 3 area resident for most of his life.
“I’m excited about the opportunity, given the knowledge I’ve accumulated during my time in public service,” Coffin said in a prepared statement. “The City of Ls Vegas is at a crucial time in its history, and I know my experience on the Senate and Assembly money committees could prove valuable in protecting city taxpayer dollars.” By my count, Coffin is pushing 70 and has a job, a hobby, a wife, and three children. He seems of sound mind and body and had a reputation as an independent legislator who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and criticize Nevada’s considerable power elite. But if you’ve put nearly 30 years in at the Legislature, akin to swimming in shark infested waters for months at a time, you’re no longer simply a citizen legislator.
You’re a professional. And I mean that in a good way.
Although he’s not the only one running, and heaven knows the field is bound to fill up with citizen candidates and maybe even a few of the qualified kind, Coffin’s experience would make him a valuable asset to the council at a time of unprecedented budget scalping and political horse trading.