Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 | 2 a.m.
The state Senate next year will face fundamental policy debates, including those involving education, economic development and taxes. This will be a vital session, and lawmakers’ actions will help shape the state’s future. It is crucial that these issues are addressed and not pushed into the future, as too often has been the habit in Carson City.
Here are our endorsements for the state Senate races in Clark County as well as our endorsement for Question 1, which deals with the state Legislature:
District 1: Democratic candidate Patricia Spearman, a retired Army officer, is the clear choice in this race. The Sun endorses Patricia Spearman.
District 3: Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, a Democrat, is well-known in this district and has worked hard in the Assembly. Voters would be served well by him in the Senate. The Sun endorses Tick Segerblom.
District 4: Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson is a good candidate and knows what it takes to be successful in the Legislature. The Sun endorses Kelvin Atkinson.
District 5: Republican Steve Kirk, a former Henderson City Councilman, is facing Democrat Joyce Woodhouse, a former state senator and longtime educator. We have endorsed both in the past. Both are qualified and bring good perspectives. We like Kirk’s business and local government experience, and we like Woodhouse’s history in education and her heart for the schools. The district will be served well by either. The Sun endorses Steve Kirk and Joyce Woodhouse.
District 6: Republican Mark Hutchison, an attorney, is facing Democrat Benny Yerushalmi, a small business owner. Both are engaging, invested in the community and have good experience. And, refreshingly, neither would speak ill of his opponent in our discussions with them. In the final analysis, Yerushalmi gets our nod. He is one of the best candidates on the ballot. A “job creator,” he knows what businesses need to thrive in Nevada, and he’s open-minded, pragmatic and has a strong vision for the future. The Sun endorses Benny Yerushalmi.
District 7: Democrat David Parks is an effective lawmaker with a long track record of hard work and accomplishment. He is the best choice in this race. The Sun endorses David Parks.
District 9: Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin is a bright and engaging candidate who understands the issues and the political process. She’s a good, likeable candidate, but when it comes to issues affecting education and the middle class, we think the best candidate in the race is Democrat Justin Jones, who has advocated sensible policies that will help average Nevadans. The Sun endorses Justin Jones.
District 11: Democrat Aaron Ford is one of the better candidates on the ballot. Ford has five university degrees, including a doctoral degree. A teacher-turned-attorney, he not only champions education, but he also understands it inside and out. With a bright vision for Nevada, Ford would be a great addition to the Senate. The Sun endorses Aaron Ford.
District 18: Republican Assemblyman Scott Hammond, who was first elected two years ago, is challenging Democrat Kelli Ross for this open seat. Hammond, a teacher, is smart and hardworking. We like his understanding of education and his district. Ross, though, has important experience that should help in this next session. She is a former small-business owner and knows what it takes to make a payroll. Ross also has seen first-hand how state policy and taxes affect small businesses. The Sun endorses Kelli Ross.
State Question 1:
The Legislature meets for 120 days every other year and whenever the governor calls it into a special session. Question 1 would allow the Legislature to call itself into special session in extraordinary circumstances. Anti-government advocates have argued against this, fretting that the Legislature would be in session all the time. But that’s ludicrous. The question mandates that two-thirds of lawmakers approve a special session, and it’s not an easy task to get that kind of consensus in the Legislature.
Also, a session would be limited in scope and last no more than 20 days. Given the politics that can be played between a governor and a Legislature, this just makes sense. The Legislature is its own branch of government and, as such, should have the power to handle its own business without waiting for the governor’s call. The Sun endorses a yes vote on Question 1.