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Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick replacing Tom Collins on Clark County Commission

Tesla Special Session Day 2

Cathleen Allison / AP

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, speaks on the Assembly floor during the second day of a special session at the Nevada Legislature on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in Carson City.

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 | 4:50 p.m.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Gov. Brian Sandoval today appointed Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick to serve out the remainder of Tom Collins’ term on the Clark County Commission.

“Throughout her tenure in the Nevada State Assembly, Marilyn Kirkpatrick earned a solid reputation for her in-depth policy knowledge and tremendous hard work,” Sandoval said in a statement.

Kirkpatrick said she was humbled by the appointment.

"I started as a PTA mother and Girl Scout leader, and not much has changed in the last decade," she said. "At heart I am a mother and grandmother who will go about every day with a commitment to do what's best for the families of Commission District B."

Collins’ seat came open earlier this month when he abruptly resigned from the commission, citing “family matters.”

The outspoken Collins, known as the “cowboy commissioner,” was often at odds with his fellow commissioners and some county staff. He was blocked from emailing certain county staff last month after sending a pair of profanity-laced emails to an unidentified employee and County Manager Don Burnette.

Kirkpatrick was first elected to the Assembly in 2004 representing a North Las Vegas district and later ascended to serve as Speaker during the 2013 session. She was term-limited after the most recent session. She played a key role in helping Sandoval pass a $1.1 billion tax package to increase education funding, and she also worked with the governor to develop a tax incentive to lure automaker Tesla to build a $5 billion battery factory in Northern Nevada.

Kirkpatrick will serve out the remainder of Collins' term on the commission, which ends Jan 1, 2017.

It's been speculated that Collins may try to unseat North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, who was elected to a four-year term in 2013.

Collins has been part of the political landscape in Southern Nevada for decades, starting when he was elected to the Nevada Legislature as an assemblyman in 1992. He began serving on the county commission in 2005.

A strong supporter of the proposed More Cops tax increase to boost Metro Police staff, Collins had made headlines in recent years for brash — at times volatile — behavior. In July 2012, his neighbors called police after hearing gunshots fired at his property. Collins told officers he had become frustrated while trying to cut down a tree on his property, and fired a handgun at it Collins also drew criticism for comments he made about Utahans in relation to controversial Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, calling them "inbred bastards" and saying they had "better have funeral plans" if they chose to come to Bundy's aid. Afterward, Collins said he was misquoted but "had been in a downward spiral for a couple of years; I admit it."

Kirkpatrick forged a successful career in sales and became recognized as one of the Legislature's most knowledgeable members on state finances, all despite having no college degree.

At 14, she was placed in a home for neglected and abused children after being taken from what she described as a broken home. She legally emancipated herself from her parents at age 16, then worked at night at a restaurant while attending Western High School by day. She eventually obtained a GED.

Kirkpatrick got her start in politics as a PTA member, then was appointed to the North Las Vegas Planning Commission.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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