Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2019

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Sun editorial:

Recommendations for top statewide races

This is no time for a complacent electorate, one that figures that with a shoo-in governor and no presidential race to agitate the masses, this is an easy election to take a pass.

For years, Nevada politicians have cloaked themselves in the status quo and kicked the can of progress and hard decisions down the road and into the Carson City briar patch, figuring someone else will come along to deal with it.

No more!

We can blame them but we also need to blame ourselves for not breathing down their necks. That’s something we can do this year, when — with an anticipated low turnout — every vote really will matter. If you care about education, about health care, about fairness in public funding of infrastructure and universities, if you care about Nevada’s next 150 years, then you must vote or forfeit your right to complain.

These are our recommendations.

Governor

Gov. Brian Sandoval will be re-elected this fall and for good reason. He has avoided any serious opposition for his re-election by presiding over the state’s turnaround effort. Besides his success, he has a great love for the state and has worked diligently on its behalf.

We would prefer our governor to be more active and take a stronger public leadership role, particularly on education and matters important to Southern Nevada. We want him to be more vocal and rally people to support the schools, but we get the sense he doesn’t trust the public. He should. The public has put its trust in him and will return him to office. We hope for great things in his second term. The Sun endorses Brian Sandoval.

Lieutenant governor

Mark Hutchison and Lucy Flores are both lawyers, state lawmakers and good candidates. It appears that Hutchison, a Republican and Sandoval’s hand-picked choice, is the odds-on favorite. We like Hutchison and don’t doubt his competence, but we see a different Nevada, one that celebrates the kind of life Lucy Flores has lived and values the kind of up-by-the-bootstraps experience she brings. While Hutchison is probably too conservative for most Nevadans, Flores has a story people can understand, and she can understand them. She knows what working Nevadans need because she has lived it, and it’s such empathy that gives her the edge in our view. The Sun endorses Lucy Flores.

Secretary of state

As treasurer, Kate Marshall has shown herself to be a sharp, energetic leader, taking on a variety of issues, including protecting the state’s finances, returning unclaimed property and helping parents pay for college tuition for their children. A skilled lawyer with practice in complex litigation, Marshall, a Democrat, has the right tools to run the Secretary of State’s Office and take over for Ross Miller. A fighter, Marshall won’t back down from any challenge, and that is exactly what the state needs. The Sun endorses Kate Marshall.

Treasurer

Democrat Kim Wallin did an outstanding job in two terms as state controller. She made sure the state’s books were in order, and she has won wide support and praise. In addition, her long background as a CPA and in the financial industry makes her the right fit for the job. The Sun endorses Kim Wallin.

Controller

Only one major candidate has the experience, skill and ability for the job of controller: Andrew Martin. He is a CPA and has long experience auditing public books, including the federal government’s. The Sun endorses Andrew Martin.

Attorney general

The race for attorney general has become the highest-profile race on the ballot. Adam Laxalt and Ross Miller are both from political families, but only one candidate has the necessary skills for the position.

Laxalt, a Republican, is the grandson of former governor and Sen. Paul Laxalt, but has scant legal experience. A performance review from his law firm called him a “train wreck.” He points to his experience as a Navy lawyer, and while we appreciate his service, none of it seems to be related to the Attorney General’s Office. Laxalt may one day be a good candidate, but he hasn’t been in Nevada long, and people barely know him. And the idea that someone described as a “train wreck” of a lawyer could be Nevada’s top lawyer and chief law enforcement officer is chilling.

Miller, on the other hand, has proven courtroom experience as a prosecutor, and he has run a state agency — the Secretary of State’s Office. In that role, he has distinguished himself as an aggressive advocate for transparency in government and campaign reporting. There is simply no comparison between the candidates. Given his experience in the courts and in state government, Miller is by far the best choice. He is skilled and well suited for the position. The Sun endorses Ross Miller.

Congress

District 1: As she has proved in more than two decades of public service in the Legislature and in Congress, Dina Titus, a Democrat, is a passionate advocate for the people she represents. She has not disappointed the people of her district and should be returned to Congress. The Sun endorses Dina Titus.

District 3: In the past election, we endorsed Joe Heck, and we respect and admire Heck. He cares about Nevada and its people. In this election, however, sending Heck back to Congress is endorsing his party and thus empowering the Tea Party, which has done nothing but keep Congress — and the nation — bottled up in gridlock.

As a solitary Republican, Heck hasn’t been able to stand up to the Tea Party, and we know that his Democratic challenger, Erin Bilbray, will. She’s a passionate advocate for Nevada, having grown up here, and she knows the political terrain well. Her recent work on a variety of women’s issues has been stellar, and we have no doubt she would represent the variety of needs of her district well. She is an outstanding candidate. The Sun endorses Erin Bilbray.

District 4: Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford has gone to great lengths to serve his entire district in his first term and regularly shows up in far-flung parts of it. His work in Congress was vital for the passage of a much-needed lands bill in the mining town of Yerington. And his work in the urban areas has been no less enthusiastic or diligent. Horsford has done a first-rate job in his freshman term. The Sun endorses Steven Horsford.

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