June 15, 2016
With primary over, battle for control of Legislature heats up
By SEAN WHALEY
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (link to article)
CARSON CITY — Now that the Republican primary legislative skirmishes are history, it’s time for the real battle as GOP state lawmakers attempt to hold their majorities in the Senate and Assembly, and Democrats work to regain control of the Nevada Legislature in 2017.
Democrats learned the hard way during the 2015 legislative session what poor voter turnout meant for the party. They spent the session playing defense on issues such as voter ID, which ultimately failed, and construction defect legislation, which passed.
For their part, Republicans pushed through a number of measures they had wanted for years, including a controversial school choice law now being challenged in the courts.
The outcome will boil down to voter turnout in November, driven primarily by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the presumptive party nominees.
Perhaps the most significant legislative contest will pit anti-tax GOP Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman against Democrat Nicole Cannizzaro in the open Senate District 6 seat in Las Vegas.
Seaman won a bruising primary Tuesday against former GOP Assemblyman Erv Nelson, who supported Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1.5 billion tax package.
The seat will be the crucial race for Republicans and Democrats to control the Senate. The 21-member Senate now has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The Senate 6 seat has been held by a Republican, and a Democratic victory in the November general election would likely tip the house in the Democrats’ favor by a one-vote margin.
As of the close of registration for the primary, the district had 27,424 Democrats, 23,580 Republicans and 12,178 nonpartisan voters.
Cannizzaro’s credentials as a Democratic Senate candidate include being a lifelong Nevadan and working as a Clark County deputy district attorney.
State Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, who lost his bid for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional race, said he now will work to retain party control of the house in November. Roberson will return to the Legislature in 2017 because he is in the middle of a four-year term, but it remains to be seen if he will be the majority leader or the minority leader.
Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said in comments Wednesday that the primary has set the table for Democrats to take control of the state Senate.
“While Republicans have nominated extremist candidates who are more interested in pursuing right-wing politics than in growing our middle class, Democrats will be talking about the issues that matter to Nevadans,” he said.
Cannizzaro has done a great job of getting her name out there, knocking on doors and talking with constituents, Ford said.
“She’s going to be our No. 11 — our key to the majority,” he said.
Ford said while he’s confident his party is ahead, they’re going to be running as if they’re 20 points down.
“Sen. (Richard) Bryan used to say there are only two ways to run — unopposed or scared — so we’re running scared,” he
In the Assembly, where Republicans have a 25-17 edge as a result of the GOP sweep in 2014, many political observers believe Democrats will regain control in November. The 2015 session was the first time Republicans controlled the Assembly outright since 1985.
GOP Assembly leaders have essentially conceded three seats they hold now, meaning Democrats must only gain two more seats to take a 22-20 majority. Several seats now held by Republicans have Democratic voter registration edges.
In comments to the media in Las Vegas, Assembly Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Irene Bustamante Adams said her members are “hungry to take back the majority.”
“The rift in the Republican Party is apparent up and down the ticket, and the GOP looks more divided than ever after tonight’s primary election,” she said.
“Next session will be very important for Nevada families, and they have a clear choice between leaders who will expand opportunities for every Nevadans, and leaders who will be obsessed with Donald Trump values,” Bustamante Adams said. “Democrats are ready to outwork and out-communicate Republicans to convince Nevadans that Democrats are in their corner.”
Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson, who won outright in his Tuesday primary, helped a number of his colleagues win re-election against anti-tax GOP challengers. Anderson believes his more moderate colleagues stand a better chance of winning in November than the primary challengers, most of whom failed to advance Tuesday.
“It will be an uphill battle,” he acknowledged Wednesday. “We are going to be an underdog. But I think we will prove to be very worthy opponents to anyone we stand up against.”
With the tax debate now over, Anderson said he and GOP colleagues will focus on the accomplishments of the 2015 session, from economic development to the new medical school at UNLV to the many reforms to public education.
“There were decades of accomplishments that we squeezed into that 2015 session that as a caucus we can run on,” he said. “I think we’ve got one of the best chances to hang in there.”
Anderson said that while his group backed losing incumbents P.K. O’Neill in Carson City and Glenn Trowbridge in Las Vegas, he can work with the GOP winners, Al Kramer in Carson City and Jim Marchant in Las Vegas.
But Anderson said some of the personal attacks leveled at him and colleagues by Assemblyman Brent Jones of Las Vegas, who won his GOP primary, and Ira Hansen of Sparks, who will win re-election without any opponent, will not be easily forgotten.
For immediate release
April 6, 2016
Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle appointed to prestigious National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities
SPARKS, NV — Today, the Assembly Democratic Caucus announced that Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle of Sparks has earned an appointment to represent Nevada on the bipartisan National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities. The Task Force is composed of state legislators from across the United States and works to assess how policy changes can address barriers facing individuals with disabilities.
Specifically, Assemblyman Sprinkle will co-chair the Committee for Transportation, Technology & other Employment Support to identify mobility, information technology, affordable housing and other challenges facing Americans with disabilities seeking employment and consider new state policy initiatives focused on increasing delivery of services. As a co-chair he will also serve on the eight member National Task Force committee.
“Every Nevadan deserves a fair shot at a good job, but individuals with disabilities face even more basic obstacles to finding fulfilling work,” said Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle. “States can do their part to ensure that our infrastructure and support services make it easier for everyone who works hard, regardless of disabilities, to find success in the workplace. The recommendations of this National Task Force will help states create more inclusive employment opportunities so that everyone can find their own path to prosperity.”
The National Task Force conducted their first meeting March 19-20 in Chicago and will hold additional meetings in April in Washington, DC to evaluate and consider existing programs and emerging practices for state governments.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) launched the State Exchange
on Employment & Disability (SEED), a collaborative effort with state intermediary organizations, including the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments (CSG), to help state legislators effectively address policy barriers that may hinder the employment of people with disabilities.
The Task Force is co-chaired by Governor Jack Merkell (D-Delaware) and State Senator Beau McCoy (R-Nebraska).
Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus
For Immediate Release
March 10, 2016
Assembly Dems Ready to Take Back Majority in 2016
By Patrick Walker, Kyle Zuelke
Updated 03/09 2016 10:40PM
LAS VEGAS – The Nevada legislature turned all-republican in 2014. It was part of a “red wave” across the country that saw 11 democratic-majority legislative bodies turn to GOP control bodies after the mid-term elections
However, still reeling from the swing in Carson City, Nevada Democrats announced Wednesday their push to regain control of the state assembly. The announcement was made outside the Clark County Elections office.
“Republicans will come back with these very obstructionist views,” said Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, D-NV, AD-11. “We don’t want Washington D.C. style politics coming to our state house.”
Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Irene Bustamante Adams says her party is focusing endorsements on a single candidate in each targeted district. Democrats need five seats to regain the majority in Carson City, and the party believes former Assemblyman Jason Frierson, D-NV, AD-8, is a shoe-in for one of them.
“The math is on our side,” Frierson said. “There are nine Assembly seats here in Clark County alone that have a Democratic advantage.”
District 9 candidate Steve Yeager, an attorney with the public defender’s office, says the ballot initiatives dealing with recreational marijuana and background checks for gun purchases, have high interest with younger voters. That’s an advantage for Democratic candidates.
“The goal there is going to be to make sure they vote all the way down the ballot, and just don’t come and vote the ballot initiatives,” Yeager said.
Democrats believe three of the nine districts they are targeting are “slam dunks,” where registered Democratic voters significantly outnumber Republicans. The other six districts have slightly more Democratic voters even though Republicans hold the seats.
No matter how the election goes in November, Democrats say working with the remaining Republicans will be a top priority.
“I’ll say this, the Republicans who were working on serious issues were the ones who were working with Democrats, and those are the ones who helped get actual good policy done,” said Frierson.
The filing period for candidates wraps up Mar. 18. Voters will hit the polls for the primary election three months later, on June 14.
BY JEFF GILLAN – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9TH 2016
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — 2014. What 2014?
Democrats are putting their election disaster of two years behind them, saying 2016 is a whole new ballgame. Today, Assembly Democrats said they’re targeting nine local districts, in an effort to recapture control of the state’s lower house.
The Democratic plan targets nine seats where they have registration advantages. They consider three “slam dunks,” where their advantage is in the double digits: Districts 8, 10 and 34. The six others, Districts 5, 9, 21, 29, 35 and 41 are considered “top targets.”
In the 42-seat Assembly, Republicans hold the majority 25 to 17. A swing of five seats would put Democrats back in charge.
Businessman Chris Brooks was among the Democrats filing today. He’s hoping to unseat freshman Republican incumbent Shelly Shelton in District 10, whom Democrats have labeled an “extreme politician.”
“I have very deep roots in that district,” Brooks told News 3, “and I understand that district.”
Brooks was one of the handfuls who filed today.
“I think that the Democratic Party, and me individually, more accurately reflect what that district wants to see in a representative in the State Legislature,” Brooks continued.
I tried to reach Shelton, but as of this story my voicemail had not been returned.
By BEN BOTKIN
Posted March 9, 2016
Wednesday was an active day for legislative races, too. Democrats spoke at a press conference before filing to run for Assembly seats in Clark County.
The group included former Assemblyman Jason Jason Frierson, who lost his Assembly District 8 seat by 40 votes in 2014. He’s running for another term in the seat, now held by incumbent John Moore, who left the GOP and joined the Libertarian Party.
Democrats have 17 seats out of 42 in the Assembly and need a net gain of five seats to reclaim control. They have identified nine seats in which Democrats have an advantage in voter registration. Frierson said it’s important to reach out to people, as winning will take more than an edge in voter registration.
He said the party will bring back “integrity and stability” to the body.
Other Democrats who filed Wednesday included Chris Brooks in Assembly District 10, a seat held by incumbent Shelley Shelton, a Republican.
Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, also chairwoman of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, filed for re-election to her District 42 seat. So did Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz of District 11.