We often lose sight of what it takes to be a gifted leader. That's especially true when one emerges from the same cultural milieu that taught the same value system held by the average Nevadan.
Some 25 years ago in Hiko, Nev., I worked with a young man building fences. He was still in high school. Bret Whipple grew up on his dad's Hiko ranch and graduated from Pahranagat Valley high school. I could tell then that Bret would some day stand out as a leader simply by watching the rural work ethic and listening to his vision.
The ranch is still there, and so is his cowgirl mother, with the same intrepid work ethic, managing the ranch at 66 years of age. Bret's father died early of cancer resulting from the atomic bomb testing during the '50s.
After high school, through the Future Farmers of America's Work Abroad program, Bret worked on farms in Germany and on sheep ranches in Australia's outback gaining important experience and adding value to his future world view.
Back in the U.S., Bret started college in California, played football and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and the prestigious Wharton School of Business. He was a member of the Penn team that won two Ivy League Football Championships. Bret also spent considerable time in the boxing ring training under Smokin' Joe Frazier. He graduated from Wharton with a bachelor of arts in economics and accounting. Then he went on to earn a juris doctorate from the University of Arizona's College of Law.
I kind of lost track of Bret during those college years. Then, he returned to Nevada, worked as a public defender and opened a law practice in Las Vegas, closer to his Pahranagat Valley ranch. The next I knew, Bret was recruiting my three daughters who live in Las Vegas to help him with his successful campaign for a seat on the University Board of Regents. The Northern Nevada regents with whom I've talked express glowing commendations of his character, judgement and leadership.
While we sometimes lose sight of what it takes to be a gifted leader, it's stories like Bret Whipple's that helps bring our sight back into focus. When we do this, we try to find a leadership role that we believe fits extraordinary people - and people to fill extraordinary leadership roles. Sometimes we successfully match the role with the right person. Other times we don't. However, I believe that we have found that extraordinary role that demands the kind of leadership Bret Whipple is known to have.
The Nevada Constitution delegates authority to the governor to fill vacancies in any office of the state. We are quickly approaching the time when Gov. Guinn shall "... fill such vacancy..." that will be created when Attorney General Brian Sandoval moves on to accept a federal judgeship. The governor has a short list of candidates for the job. I understand that Bret Whipple is on that list.
While serving on the University of Nevada Board of Regents is an exemplary role, as only one of 13 members, Bret's leadership talents are shrouded. Many other Nevadans agree with me that Nevada can best use Bret Whipple's leadership skills as attorney general. They also agree that Gov. Guinn can best serve Nevada by appointing Bret Whipple to that soon to be vacant post.
n Dan Mooney is a 40-year Nevada resident, 32 of which have been in Carson City.