Gov. Kenny Guinn has provided the leadership and foresight through four years of difficult economic times in Nevada state government that warrant returning him for a second term.
Guinn, the fruit-pickers son who became Clark County schools superintendent and later a utility executive before his run for governor, began his fundamental review of state government more than three years ago.
That was long before the nation began its economic slide. At the time, Nevada was prosperous -- but state revenues still couldn't keep up with state spending.
Now, in a post-Sept. 11 world that keeps the tourism industry in a doldrums, it is with a clear perspective we see how important were Guinn's early cost-containing moves. The state nevertheless has a looming $350 million deficit, but Guinn's tax task force is prepared to offer solutions to the 2003 Legislature.
In short, failing to take the long view could have proved disastrous. The state's fiscal problems now, at least, seem manageable.
Guinn's lasting contribution to education will be the Millennium Scholarships, which use tobacco-settlement money to send Nevada high-school grads to Nevada colleges.
On environmental issues, Guinn's cupboard is bare -- except for the on-going Yucca Mountain battle. It's the state's biggest single issue, and Republican Guinn has not backed away from criticism of the Bush administration's decision to store nuclear waste in Nevada.
State Sen. Joe Neal, the state's first African American to advance to the gubernatorial general election, has stuck by his campaign to increase taxes on Nevada's casinos. It's a losing issue, mainly because it simply places far too much burden on the state's single biggest industry.
In the race for lieutenant governor, longtime Las Vegas entertainer Lorraine Hunt has not disappointed in overseeing the state's tourism- and business-attacting functions. Giving out tourism grants may not seem like tough duty, but getting them in the hands of communities -- like $1,000 for a sign at the Children's Museum in Carson City -- means recognizing where a few dollars can make the most impact.
Her opponent, Democrat Erin Kenny, is known in Las Vegas as a firebrand. The problem is we're not sure many of her pet projects -- such as trying to force stores to install electronic security devices on their shopping cars, or mandating headsets for cell-phone-using motorists -- would be on our list.
Keep Guinn and Hunt in Nevada's top two offices for four more years.