Knecht wins Assembly District 40 primary

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Ron Knecht, a state Public Utilities Commission economist, won the Republican nomination to replace Bonnie Parnell in Carson City's Assembly District 40 on Tuesday.

He outpolled Tom Keeton 1,845 to 1,626 votes. Bill Reeves ran third in the race with 1,045. Parnell did not seek re-election.

Knecht now faces Stacie Wilke, the lone Democrat who filed for the seat, in the November general election.

Knecht said the key issues facing the state Legislature are "pocketbook issues."

"I've taken a clear stance: no new taxes and tax increases," he said Tuesday evening.

Knecht said with the cuts Gov. Kenny Guinn has made, he believes when the economy turns around higher taxes won't be needed.

"I don't think we're far at all and probably already have closed the gap," he said. "I don't think we need new taxes this term."

He also said that it's a bad idea to raise taxes during a recession.

"As a matter of sound economic policy, we shouldn't be raising taxes on an economic downswing. That's when we need to be cutting them."

Knecht said he also believes education will be a key issue in the 2003 Legislature, but not necessarily putting more money in.

"The key on education is structural reform that emphasizes parental choice and accountability of the public schools to the parents, not visa versa," he said.

Knecht, 53, is an economist who worked on issues that resulted in the PUC decision to decrease rate increases requested by Nevada's major electric utilities.

Wilke, 36, is finishing a term on the Carson School Board. She is general manager of the Horseshoe Club.

She said she wants to improve funding for education and find a way to control rising health-care costs if she is elected.


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