Carson City's four potential mayor candidates spoke briefly Tuesday evening to a group of local Republicans on why they wanted to be mayor.
The 10-minute introductions from candidates Tom Keeton, Mayor Ray Masayko, Tom Tatro and Neil Weaver to about 50 members of the Carson City Republican Central Committee kicked off campaign season in the capital. A central theme from all four candidates was a hope for a better Carson City. While Nevada's capital is a great city and a great place to live, there are things that could use improvement, they noted.
Keeton, a three-year Carson resident, admitted his unfamiliarity with detailed Carson City issues. But he said while Masayko has done a good job as mayor, he could move faster and get more done.
"I'm the underdog of all underdogs in this race," he said.
He said he is willing to listen and help people work together. Keeton held up a notebook saying he talks to people and writes down their concerns in the book. He also hopes to see Carson City become a regional business magnet.
Masayko said he plans on running on his record.
Masayko said running Carson City is a team effort. He pointed to his support of public safety, transit and fiscal accountability as issues he promised to confront when he ran for office in 1996, issues on which he's delivered, he said. He hopes to keep the freeway on track and supports continued effort of the attempt to resurrect the V&T Railroad.
"I take immense pride in being able to serve the community," he said. "The position is dynamic, it's challenging and it's been a great experience. It requires my attention, my time, many of my evenings. I can confidently report that Carson City is in one of the best shapes it has ever been in, but there are challenges."
Tatro insisted that despite having a full-time job as fiscal manager for the Department of Motor Vehicles, he can handle the job of mayor.
As a Ward 3 supervisor for nine and a half years, he juggled a full-time job, two very active teenage boys and managed to gain a reputation for always being prepared as a supervisor, he said.
His two sons are now in college in Idaho and Arizona, leaving him a lot more time than he ever had as a supervisor.
"I must be one of the best time managers in Carson City," he said. "I have the flexibility to do my job, but not be chained to a chair. I know that (the mayor's job) could be done on a part-time basis. I'm convinced of it."
Tatro said the Board of Supervisors accomplished more while he was on the board than it ever has. He was mildly critical of the city's loss of that momentum, fiscal situation and lack of vision for redevelopment. With nothing new being started, he wants to see more public comment on how to move the city forward.
"I think I'll do the best job of any of the gentlemen you have in front of you," he said.
Weaver said he took offense to one of Keeton's comments.
"I have carefully been crafting the image of underdog for years, so watch it," he joked.
As a pilot and plane manufacturer, Weaver said he makes life and death decisions daily.
"A very simplistic oversight can kill you," he said. "I take jobs very seriously. I believe I'm the man that can take Carson City into the next millennium."
Weaver said if elected he would serve one term and would look into the creation of a city attorney for the Board of Supervisors separate from the district attorney's office.
"I'm willing to work toward my vision and do the footwork to make Carson City better," he said.
Jeanne Simmons, the only Republican candidate for Assembly District 40, also spoke briefly. She noted she planned on running a clean campaign. One of her "passions" is education, but as a small business owner, she said she was against the proposed 4-percent tax on business to support education.
Committee members said all four mayor candidates were interesting and would create an intriguing race.
"They're all quite interesting, and they all have ideas," said Jan Hunt. "I don't think you can be mayor on a part-time basis. A city of 53,000 needs a full-time mayor. I'm also interested in Weaver's idea of a city attorney."
John Vettel said he saw redevelopment, the V&T Railroad and the city attorney idea as potential issues that will be interesting to watch.