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May 3, 2015

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Cow counties’ threaten stampede over legislative maps

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Senate District 19, covering most of eastern Nevada (shown in green), would also extend into Clark County, making it more difficult for a rural Nevadan to win.

Sun Coverage

The loudest protests about the new political boundaries are coming from Nevada’s hinterlands.

Rural lawmakers expressed dismay Tuesday with the latest redistricting maps that would add a big chunk of northern Clark County to the rural state Senate District 19.

While Washoe County would likely be represented by four state senators, the same number it currently has, rural Nevada would go from three representatives to two if not one.

“It dilutes the ‘cow counties,’ ” said Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka. (He’s a rancher, and therefore allowed to use the sometimes-pejorative vernacular for the state’s less-populated counties.)

“The rurals are entitled to be represented like any other minority.”

Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, also a rancher, represents Senate District 19. The new boundaries would cover the counties of Elko, Eureka, White Pine, Nye and Lincoln, but also take up a chunk of northern Clark County.

“I’m not in love with the maps, no,” said Rhoads, who is not able to run again because of term limits. “It’s going to be difficult for a rural legislator to get elected there.”

Goicoechea and Rhoads made the comments after a meeting of the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee.

During the redistricting fight, which officially began with the 2011 Legislature in February, both Democrats and Republicans believed that Sen. Bill Raggio’s old Washoe County Senate seat would be moved down south to reflect the population growth in Las Vegas. He had resigned before the session started, and Greg Brower was seen as a caretaker.

Instead of eliminating the Washoe seat, the court-appointed special master combined the seats of Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, and James Settelmeyer, R-Minden.

In court filings made on Monday, Democrats expressed no major objections to the maps filed.

Eureka County objected to the Senate maps. Former Elko Assemblyman John Carpenter, who served 24 years in the Legislature, also lodged the same complaint, saying Elko County would also include parts of Clark County including west of North Las Vegas and Mount Charleston.

Carpenter said, “My greatest fear is that someday the northern rural counties, the cow counties, would be represented by a senator from Southern Nevada.”

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  1. The state of Nevada wasn't awarded another seat because of the population growth in cow counties . Them boys better quit punchin cows and get in the hayloft.....

  2. Since the rural counties are controlled by the mining interests, it would be more appropriate to say "Cow counties threaten to bulldoze legislative maps".

  3. What is the court supposed to do? Over 70% of the state's population is here in Clark County! It's not our fault that rural population growth hasn't kept up with ours. The likes of Goicoechea and Carpenter are just trying to delay the inevitable.

  4. What they are trying to do is make fringe types more important than they should be.

  5. Political cover for water grab.

    American citizens in rural Nevada are loosing representation and having their votes diluted because of the failed immigration policies of the United States and subsequent population growth of illegals in Clark County.

    The redistricting map indicates rural Nevadans especially in eastern Nevada will have little if any political representation?

    The Nevada housing construction boom was built using labor of undocumented construction workers. Did they all leave Nevada or are they still here? see>

  6. Carpenter said, "My greatest fear is that someday the northern rural counties, the cow counties, would be represented by a senator from Southern Nevada."

    WOW, if that is Carpenters greatest fear he must have his head in the sand. Clark County basically supports the cow counties but the folks in those counties vote against Las Vegas and themselves all the time.

  7. We absolutely NEED to get rid of the cow counties overweening control of the electoral process. I like the map. It's contiguous and not at all gerrymandered.

  8. The Fringe and Minority elements are only important when they vote Republican and live in the rural domains. If they live in an urban area, minorities are welfare recipients.

  9. The cow counties want more say but they also live by on the money from Clark County.

    Start paying your own way if you want more say in how things are ran.

  10. Although there may or may not be some problems with inequities between the voting populace of the rural areas and the populated ones, it seems like the problem is a lot different than that.

    The only people who are complaining about how it is all breaking down are the lawyers representing the Nevada GOP.

    And it all boils down to the fact they fear the voters.

    So, they are trying to stack the deck any way shape or form they can to get things in their favor.

    For years and years, the GOP has demonized other races of people other than well attacking the middle class and the poor. Mix with that this horrible tendency to kowtow to the filthy rich...all at the expense of everyone else.

    Now, the day of reckoning is coming. Because those above classes of people have grown in volume. The minority is now the majority. And indeed the middle class has woken up and fully grasps the concept they outnumber the privileged class that always tries to influence the votes and get people to vote against their best interests.

    Republicans just absolutely LOVE to demonize rather than campaign for votes. Because it's in their nature. They have no new ideas other than stay the course of turning everyone into victims to serve their insatiability for money and power.

    Now, they are howling in indignation because it's coming back to bite them where the sun don't shine.

    Suck it up, Republicans. Your harmful rhetoric is the problem. Just because the population of Nevada has increased and how you perceive they will in fact vote against your destructive policies is the real problem. Nothing else.

    I guess your only alternative is to institute voter I.D. laws and try to prevent people from voting. That's all you got left.

    The steamroller is coming. You lose, GOoPers, because you lost the message. And if you ever did have the message, you lost it a long time ago by instituting class warfare against the vast majority of people here in Nevada. Bring on the elections in 2012. Time to vaporize the Republican Party and make them understand this stupid radical, extremist view of neo-conservatism you mistakenly grasp is the wrong way to go.

  11. Love the new map! All that sweet northern groundwater will be heading our way within a couple of years :P

    And if anyone up in "northern" Clark county is complaining, then they need to talk to their representative in Reno why they got shafted.

    I don't give a rat's @$$ that the growth came from illegal aliens, Area 51 aliens, cowboys, mormons, etc. The growth was in the south so we are due the additional representation.

  12. Gerald,
    Please go back on the anti psychotic medication.

  13. In many ways the new map is FAIR. There has been so much disparity for so very long, that this levels the playing field.

    Being a resident of both White Pine and Clark Counties puts me in a very unique position as whatever happens politically impacts me GREATLY. Bet the "Anyone BUTT Reid" camps up in White Pine County, are feeling like they are getting retaliation for their attitude. Since the mines reopened, they have been in tall cotton, and not paying attention to their politics (the money from the jobs are great, so they won't resist mining). Most of the ranches up north are owned by generational families who may or may not form corporations to protect their assets. All of them are very hard working. But BLM and Dept. of Forestry have driven up the costs for ranching, and the young people growing up on those ranches leave into other places and professions. Mostly the old folks are keeping the homesteads going.

    Due to the LDS Mormon population (which has a great stronghold in power and population up north), the new maps are now putting these folks in a unusual political position, pitting North versus South interests. Wonder HOW that will pan out!

    There should be concern over the "SNWA Water Grab." The water up north is a NOT SUSTAINABLE water resource, with recent water rationing in Ely, and local water wells suffering from dropping water tables in the aquifers. Las Vegas/Clark County needs to change its laws and policies and behaviors towards SUSTAINABLE living! Have a building moritorium, utilizing only previously used lots and tracts of property, install green energy and conservation devices and enforce sustainable behaviors.

    No more "Build, baby, build." I strongly suggest building only what can be SUSTAINABLY SUPPORTED by available resources from here on out.