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January 28, 2015

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Gov. Jim Gibbons official portrait unceremoniously unveiled


Julie Duewel / Nevada Transportation Department

State buildings and grounds workers straighten Gov. Jim Gibbons’ official portrait, which was hung Friday in the Capitol.

Updated Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 | 5:18 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Gibbons has indicated that he is happy with his portrait, which was painted by Michele Rushworth of Sammamish, Wash., at a cost of $20,000 plus $2,000 for travel and other business expenses.

CARSON CITY — Storytellers and historians love a circle. So appropriately, the official portrait of Gov. Jim Gibbons, sworn in secretly four years ago in the dead of night, was hung without ceremony this morning in the Capitol.

The portrait is a soft-focus of the former Air Force pilot with a fighter jet in the background. There’s lots of blue — the color of Nevada’s Battle Born flag.

Shortly after 10 a.m., three guys from buildings and grounds, ladder in tow, hung the portrait. The portrait of late-Gov. Kenny Guinn had been shifted last week to make room for it. Now Gibbons is the first governor visitors see as they enter the historic grounds of state government.

Gibbons’ portrait joins the 28 other governors and another Nevada Territorial governor decorating the building, another middle-aged-to-old white man who lead the state.

Despite his rough tenure as the state’s CEO, Gibbons has a broad smile.

He is only the second governor to appear unapologetically happy in his portrait (the other: a toothily grinning Gov. Charles Russell, 1951-1959.)

By contrast, the late Gov. Kenny Guinn’s looks grim; Gov. Bob Miller stern and serious; Gov. Richard Bryan wears a slight smirk at what could be a private joke; and Gov. Bob List, the last one-term Nevada governor, looks wistfully to the horizon. Gov. Mike O’Callaghan, who would later become executive editor of the Las Vegas Sun, appears ready to scold a reporter. (Many of ye olde early governors are striking for their prodigious and creative facial hair.)

Gibbons has not made many public appearances recently — few since losing the Republican Primary in June, and even fewer since falling off a horse and breaking his pelvis in September.

The ceremonial Christmas tree lighting earlier this month was passed on to Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki. Gibbons participated in his final Board of Examiners meeting by phone.

Gibbons did hold a gathering at the mansion on Thursday, where he unveiled the portrait for about 50 people. Current and former staff, cabinet members and a few friends attended, said Dan Burns, Gibbons’ spokesman. It was Gibbons’ 66th birthday.

“He wanted to avoid a big fanfare,” Burns said of the portrait’s hanging.

Gibbons lost the Republican Primary in June to now Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval (who was in Las Vegas today, and not at the hanging of the portrait) by a massive 28 points. Sandoval will be sworn into office on Jan. 3, at the traditional noon time, according to senior adviser Dale Erquiaga.

Gibbons has been in rehab since his horse accident.

That, in part, explains why Gibbons is avoiding public meetings, Burns said. It is difficult for him to walk or stand for long. “That’s why he wanted to avoid the ceremony,” he said.

In the portrait, Gibbons is standing — tall, straight and proud.

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  1. Just off phone with Guy Rocha, former state archivist and state historian. Isaac Roop, the "other" portrait, was actually governor of the provincial - read unofficial - Nevada Territory. Later land surveys determined he actually lived in California, not Nevada.
    Also Russell's smiling portrait was actually the second one commissioned. The first "made him look Asian," Rocha said, and he did not accept it.

  2. Better he has his hand in his pocket than ours.

    We should cut off all medical to the governor. If he doesn't like government medical, let him give up his. He also should be denied medicare on the grounds of hypocrisy.

    Was that a BLM horse he was trying to break? Was it his, or an adopted horse? still owned by the BLM for a year? Who owned the ranch?

  3. A turtleneck? Is he in a sixties time warp?

  4. Why is it that when it comes to "cutting"...
    it doesn't apply to those in power and the wealthy.
    $22,000 for a freaking portrait of the worst Governor
    in the state's history??? Who was unceremoniously shown the door by HIS OWN PARTY well before his first term was up? I'm sure the homeless & hungry this holiday season are beaming with pride.

  5. It's tradition to have a portrait painted of the Governor and hung in the Capitol. I didn't like what he did as Governor either, but I still think we should continue the tradition.

  6. How appropriate, curtains in the picture w/Gov Gibbons. Goodnight Gracie. . . I mean Love Gov.

  7. And before you leave Gov Gibbons, you can honor your pledge to Paul and Ana Rupp that you made at meet the Gov day in Goldfield, Nevada that you seem to have forgotten. . .Paul and Ana Rupp have not forgotten how you broke your pledge Mr. Gibbons? I will send the hand delivered letter to your office just in case you lost the original one. . . kinda like you lost and forgot the pledge you offered the Rupps.

  8. I would like to know why they did not use a talented Nevada Artist to do this painting instead of going out of state?

    So much for supporting the people of Nevada.

  9. Count yourselves lucky Nevada. Here in California, we're getting ready for Jerry Brown, round two. mred would like it here. Congratulations to Gov. Gibbons. You did what you could in this economy. Enjoy your retirement and have a speedy recovery.
    By the way, nice portrait.