Las Vegas Sun

July 18, 2018

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Vying for Clark County Commission District B seat, Kirkpatrick and Ross bring experience

There’s no shortage of experience among the Democrats vying for the District B seat on the Clark County Commission, so for left-leaning primary voters, the decision may come down to what type of political pedigree they prefer.

The Democratic candidate options: Incumbent Marilyn Kirkpatrick, a former Nevada assemblywoman, or Steve Ross, a longtime Las Vegas city councilman.

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Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, left, and State Sen. Michael Roberson during the annual Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance dinner at Aria Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

District B covers a large swath of the north valley, stretching from Rancho Drive in the west to the rural, northeastern parts of the county. The district includes the much-hyped Apex Industrial Park, home of the electric carmaker Faraday Future and Hyperloop One, the technology company aiming to build a transportation system featuring high-speed pods propelled through pneumatic tubes.

Kirkpatrick, the newest member of the commission, spent Monday canvassing her district and plans to do the same today, her campaign manager, Bradley Mayer, said.

“At this point, we’re just working very hard trying to turn out our identified voters,” he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Kirkpatrick to the commission in August, filling the vacancy created by Tom Collins’ sudden resignation. Before serving on the commission, Kirkpatrick was elected to represent District 1 in the Nevada Assembly in 2004 and went on to become speaker of the Assembly in 2013.

Her campaign website lists economic and workforce development, transportation, public safety and social services as some of her top priorities as a commissioner, noting that her experience in state government helps her get things done at the local level.

“She has a knowledge of the inter-workings between state and local government that really helps her on the commission,” Mayer said, speaking on behalf of Kirkpatrick. “She can bring a different perspective on certain things.”

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From the left, City of Las Vegas Planning Director Tom Perrigo, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Ross, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman listen to a speaker during a press conference with NV Energy at Las Vegas City Hall on November 24, 2015..

But her opponent believes he can bring an equally important, different perspective to the position. Ross, the current mayor pro tem, declared his candidacy for the District B commission seat last year.

Ross, who has represented Ward 6 on the Las Vegas City Council for 11 years, said his top priority is mending relationships between the county and municipalities. The commission and city council recently have been tussling over funding for Metro Police, casting blame on each other for inadequate officer staffing.

He pointed to the potential of Apex Industrial Park as an example of much-needed collaboration.

“Clark County should be bending over backward for North Las Vegas,” he said. “They’re not, and I’m going to when I get elected.”

Ross’ campaign platform, as outlined on his website, touches on many of the same principles as his opponent’s — continuing to rebuild the community after the recession, in terms of both jobs and infrastructure, as well as maintaining public safety. Ross said he also supports building a light-rail system down Maryland Parkway that eventually would connect to downtown and North Las Vegas.

His can-do spirit and extensive community knowledge would serve the Clark County government well, he said.

“I love helping people. I love solving problems,” Ross said. “I love being the go-to guy on city council when it comes to just about anything.”

Kirkpatrick, however, has the fundraising edge in the campaign. She raised $1,082,618 since the beginning of 2015 through June 9. Ross raised $759,927 during that same time period.

Both candidates grew up in Clark County.

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