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April 24, 2013
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Assembly seats District 17 representative

The Assembly is back to a full house after seating a new representative for District 17 and closing a bizarre chapter in state legislative history.

Odis “Tyrone” Thompson spent the last week getting a crash course in how the legislature works and now will hit the ground running with the busiest third of the session still to-go.

“It’s a surreal moment, I must say, but it’s time to snap out of it, because it’s a lot of work to do,” Thompson told reporters after his first floor session.

Thompson is filling a vacancy created when the Assembly elected to expel one of its own last month for the first time in state history.

Former Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, was expelled from the body in March after a series of disturbing incidents involving the police this year.

Thompson was one of two Democratic applicants for the seat who were endorsed by Assembly Leadership. His selection was unanimous by Clark County commissioners earlier this month.

“I’m ready to get to committee work now,” Thompson said. “We have a little bit over 40 days to do some great work and definitely to represent a district that hasn’t been represented from the beginning of the session.”

He will serve on the judiciary, natural resources, health and human services and legislative operations committees. He said his top priorities will be “everything and anything” related to all levels of education and Medicaid expansion in the Silver State.

“Even though I’m not sitting on that committee, I’ll be really watching those bills,” the 55-year-old Democrat said of the education bills working their way through the legislature.

He now represents one of the most diverse Assembly districts in the state in North Las Vegas. The district has a 24 percent African-American population and a 31 percent Hispanic population.

During the interview process, several Clark County residents spoke of Thompson’s community and church involvement. Thompson, who is black, also had the endorsement of the Clark County Democratic Black Caucus.

Thompson was born and raised in North Las Vegas, and politics at the state or local level were always “part of the career plan,” he said.

Brooks was arrested three times this year — twice before his expulsion and once after. The first was for allegedly threatening Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-Las Vegas, in January, and the second came less than a month later.

His most recent arrest happened in California hours after he was expelled from the Assembly. He is currently in jail facing charges from that arrest. He also was indicted this week in southern Nevada on a weapons charge stemming from an arrest in January.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Apr 25, 2013 01:50AM Published Apr 24, 2013 07:06PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.