Las Vegas Sun

January 30, 2015

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Sun Editorial:

A vision for Nevada: Someplace to return to

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The Great Recession created a new reality in Nevada. The sure bets of the past few decades, like the hot housing market, turned sour, and the vast expansion of the economy through gaming and construction came to a stop.

As a result, many people saw their savings and investments evaporate. And Nevada, which has always had a transient nature, saw the dynamics change; its population actually decreased after years of it being the fastest-growing state in the nation. Some people who wanted to stay in Nevada were forced to look elsewhere for work; others who wanted to move found themselves essentially stranded in mortgages that were far underwater.

And the recession painfully revealed the endemic problems challenging the state — a school system that ranks among the worst in the nation, a social safety net that is overwhelmed and an economy badly in need of diversification.

We have seen people’s political positions change over the past few years as they consider this new reality. Now, as voters evaluate candidates, they’ll have to decide who best represents their vision and values.

That can be difficult in an election season; campaigns boil down complex issues into sound bytes, attack ads and pithy statements. What they don’t always do is offer a real vision or solid plans.

When we interview candidates for office, we like hearing their vision. We might ask a candidate to describe what Nevada should be like in 10 or 20 years.

The most memorable answer to that question this year came from Aaron Ford, a candidate for state Senate in District 11. He said no one had asked him that question before, and he leaned back and thought about it. Then he said, “A place where my son wants to come back to, and offers more than mommy and daddy.”

His succinct comment stopped us for a moment because it was free of the political rhetoric and hit home. His son goes to college in another state, and Ford wants to see him return and be able to find work and start a family here. His comment spurred a discussion about policy and how the state could find ways to broaden the economy, improve education and provide opportunity so that Nevada would be a place where future generations could thrive.

Despite all of the political ads and fighting over issues, isn’t that what this election should really come down to, creating a place where people want to live? Shouldn’t we all want a state where our children and grandchildren can grow up in safe neighborhoods, go to quality schools and find good-paying jobs?

Of course, the difficulty is in getting there. There are plenty of difficulties. Added to that, national politics — and Nevada’s to a lesser extent — have been mired in the ideological struggles pushed by the extremes. In some eyes, government is an evil that needs to be fought; in others, it is the solution to all that ails society.

Lost in that fight, which hasn’t been helpful, is the reality that most people aren’t on either extreme. People understand the need for government and believe it has a role in society, and they don’t mind paying for good services, including schools, police, fire, parks, libraries and roads.

Above all, people want a good quality of life and they want to be proud of the place they call home. And, we believe, they want elected officials who can commit to that vision.

We’re looking forward to this election and to leaders who are willing and able to move Nevada forward.

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  1. Nevada should be a place where people want to be, and choose to stay. For those who have been pushed to move because of economic hardship, how will they be able to come back here? Jobs rents housing....we have to find a good track for it to work for the people who live here or want to return.

    Bravo to Aaron Ford and his answer.

  2. "People understand the need for government and believe it has a role in society, and they don't mind paying for good services, including schools, police, fire, parks, libraries and roads"... We're over paying wages and benefits for public employees and there is no money left over for any maintenance or improvements, how is that good service?

  3. I don't mind paying for good services as long as we are realistic in what salaries,healthcare insurance and entitlements should be now to fit the new down economy that we have been dealing with for over 4 years. Many us know that you can't tax taxpayer more than they take in. Go Forward

  4. I returned to the US in 1964 after a number of years living in Europe and Asia. Since that time I have lived, worked and now retired in six western state...Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. Perhaps it is the influence of Las Vegas but I would be happy living in any of those places with the exception of Nevada. Here is Washington which many folk see as a next of liberal vipers I note that our State and County regulations and ordinances are minimal compared with Nevada [or maybe it's just Clark County]. The private sector seems to have a much more positive view. Students I have met here are more engaged in learning than the majority of students that I had in CCSD....and I live on an Indian reservation where survival is often a priority.

    If Nevada is going to come out of its hard times it will take a lot of hard work by folk invested in communities. As it is you rely too heavily for both your image and your future on the corrupting influence of one city.

  5. I suggest that the path to stability, harmony and trust will be charted by those inspired by fair media, that conscience of nations, and in recognition of such we must once again strip media ownership from those whose control poses flagrant conflict of interest. Show me a nation that once had fair media and I'll show you a nation that once had good government! Show me a nation with good government and I'll show you happy citizenry.

  6. People of Nevada have to understand the previous recessions the country went through never affected what went on here in this state.Housing continued and jobs still plentiful.They always seem to ride it out far better then the rest of the country. NOT this time.That HUGE housing balloon here in Nevada blew up in our faces and with it jobs.Then the great recession polished off the rest.Our growth here "was" the best around.Money was flowing,everyone was happy.The state pulled in huge amounts of $$ from gambling and gave huge salaries to state/county workers.Six figure salaries for county workers is not uncommon even to this day.With the lose of people in the state,the tax base dropped,so did all the projects.IF this state does not DIVERSIFY their income and pull in other BIG businesses to offset the gambling money....we will not survive another great recession.OUR elected officials are ALL sitting in their ivory towers.WE NEED to be more pro-active in our surroundings,more alert and sharper on a local level.When I moved here two years ago as a new member of the retiree's I had no intention of taking a job away from those that were looking for one.I saw to it I supported my local community and businesses and I have been pumping my resources into buying local.I believe in it.But we cannot sit back and expect the gambling revenues to pull us out of this situation again.We need to attract more seniors that will not put a strain on the work force but rather add to the economy.Two years and I have never looked back from a house I lived in for 27 years.This town is FAR MORE then gambling and I'm loving it.Our Governor needs to be front and center and out in the open where we can see him.What,if anything has he done to bring in other large businesses? I have yet to see or hear from him.Something to remember,next election. I'm Babyboomer...and I approve this message.