Las Vegas Sun

July 6, 2015

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Letter to the readers:

Does who’s running in local, state races matter?

Dear reader,

This fall’s ballot will be hefty, topped by the presidential race and the congressional elections. That’s obviously where most of the attention will be. But that’s not where the ballot ends.

In Clark County, a lengthy ballot will have a variety of state and local government races. Those races don’t command the attention they probably should, so let’s steer away from the federal races for a minute — there will be plenty of opportunity for those discussions — and take a moment to look more locally.

Consider that state and local governments provide a variety of services that affect people directly — water, sewer, police, emergency services and building and health standards, among others. The role of the leaders we elect to state and local offices is important. Whether it’s the Legislature limiting the use of handheld cellphones or commissioners setting zoning boundaries or a judge handing out a sentence, there’s an impact on the local community. And we haven’t mentioned the role of the local school board and its role in education.

This year in Clark County, there are 10 state Senate seats on the ballot along with 31 Assembly seats. Voters will fill four positions on both the Clark County Commission and the Clark County School District’s board. There are three seats on both the university system’s board of regents and the state Board of Education that Clark County voters will fill. And there are also a handful of races for District Court and justice of the peace.

As we start to review the candidates for state and local offices this year, we want to know your thoughts about those races and what issues and concerns you might have. Here are some questions to consider:

• Which races matter to you? Or do they? Why?

• How important is education to you? What, if anything, do you think the state and School District should do to improve it?

• What do you think the Legislature, the county commission and any other state or local leader can or should do about the economy? (For example, if you believe taxes and regulations are problems, let us know which ones and how. If you think tax incentives are the way to go, tell us what you would propose.)

• What do local and state officials need to do more of or less of?

• Do you vote on the judicial races? How do you make your choices?

• Are there issues, concerns or questions you’d raise with the candidates in any of the local or state races?

We would love to hear your thoughts. We’ll use them as we prepare to talk to candidates this year, and we’ll ask them to address some of your questions and concerns. We’ll also print some of your answers in the future.

You can send an email to and be sure to put elections in the subject line. You can also mail your ideas to Letters to the editor, Las Vegas Sun, 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074.

Thanks for your thoughts,


Matt Hufman is the assistant managing editor/opinion.

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  1. Education, as it always is, will be a key issue.

    One problem in education is that in the 1960's our societal norms changed. Fewer two parent families, more permissiveness, less emhphasis on key subjects and phonics for reading, less parent involvement, etc.

    Another problem is the proliferation of 'administration'. Huge amounts of money and resources are sucked away from 'teaching' and 'Teachers' to pay for expensive buildings, high administrative salaries, etc.

    As always, tax payers will be asked for more money to 'fix the problems'. That won't fix the problems. Never has, never will.

    Our school systems must change and so must our society.


  2. To fix budgetary problems that have plagued Nevada for nearly a century, the Nevada Constitution must be changed by our LAWMAKERS. Kicking the political can down the road no longer cuts it---Nevada is in a crisis mode financially, with little hope of getting out of that mode unless it is effectively addressed by our LAWMAKERS.

    Had Nevada changed the tax structure in the Nevada Constitution years ago, our mineral wealthy state would have had more than enough funds available to care for its infrastructure. But instead, MINING pays a pittance for the wealth of minerals foreign corporations extract from the state. This must change.

    In contrast, the gaming/resort industry, has capitalized on low taxes, a huge pool of cheap labor, and has not only highly profitted, but has even extended itself to other USA states, and onto building casino/resorts on foreign soil. They pay MORE taxes elsewhere as well, so go figure. Nevada is used. This must change.

    Maybe its me, but somehow requests by the school district for millions of dollars for technology did NOT have the crucial data that would support the need. Where and how has student achievement IMPROVED significantly to justify such huge sums of taxpayer money??? The Las Vegas Sun article recently cited all the uses for such bond money, but failed to provide proof that we are getting any bang for the bucks. You still need teachers to set the foundations for learning, technology provides information, practice, and application opportunities.

    Just as one shoe size does not fit all feet, it is faulty thinking to believe any one way of instructional delivery will satisfy the needs of all students/learners. Online education may be a fit for older students who are self-motivated, have home support, and are organized. It takes incredible supervision and monitoring with the younger children.

    So what are the hard statistics on student outcomes with all our current technology??? This would be important to know before asking for more money from our struggling taxpayers.

    Blessings and Peace,

  3. CarmineD wrote: All state and local issues are preempted by national level issues and debates. The important national and local elections and winners will be those who hitch their stars to the presidential candidates.
    This is the issue, isn't it? Some of the issues that people should care about -- education, water, police, etc. -- get overlooked because of the focus on the national races. And it's true that presidential race can carry influence down ticket.

    Should it? (That's a real question, not a rhetorical one.) If a candidate for county commission, for example, tied his/her campaign to a presidential candidate, would that be helpful to you as a voter?

    I see the value in knowing a person's political beliefs, but I'm not sure that would help me when it comes to understanding their ideas about zoning or water or transportation. I think I'd rather that person talk about county issues rather than national ones. What do you think?


    P.S. -- Jon Ralston's Sunday column on political platforms touches on this issue and is worth a read: