Keith Shimada / Special to the Home News
Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 | midnight
To reach Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, call his office at 455-3500 or e-mail [email protected].
Newly minted Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak is no stranger to public office, having spent nearly a decade overseeing Nevada's system of higher education on the Board of Regents.
But even with that experience under his belt, Sisolak said, being a commissioner comes with a sharp learning curve.
"I'm learning, I'm learning," he said. "I feel like I'm back in school, and I'm really enjoying it."
Sisolak, who defeated Brian Scroggins in November to succeed longtime County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury, now represents District A, the county's largest, with more than 376,000 residents. District A includes areas of Paradise, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, Searchlight and Laughlin, among others.
Sisolak was sworn in prior to his first commission meeting Monday.
"It was exciting," he said. "I was a little nervous. … I had my family and friends there, so it was nice. Then we went straight into a meeting. I hit the ground running."
Sisolak said he is used to dealing with a range of issues from his time as a regent, but that the breadth of issues he will now face as a commissioner is much larger.
"These issues are so varied," he said. "When you're dealing with the hospital one minute, the airport the next, then the water district and social services, it's a lot to deal with."
But after weeks of going over the county's books and meeting in briefings with county staff, Sisolak said, he feels ready and excited to face the challenges.
After developing a reputation for crunching budget numbers as a regent, Sisolak said following his election that he was looking forward to applying that same skill to the county's budget. He has reviewed the numbers and met with the county's financial experts, he said, and is confident in the ability of the county to navigate the current financial crisis.
But it won't be easy, he cautioned.
"There's a shortage of money and an increased demand for services," he said. "You have to prioritize your needs — and there's a difference between needs and wants — so you need to prioritize your needs and leave the wants for another day."
Sisolak said he has already heard from several constituents. Some of them are calling about concerns as simple as a burned-out street light.
Sisolak said he has already called back many residents who have called him.
"I'm big on returning phone calls," he said.
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].