Western Nevada legislative candidates meet " with Republicans absent

The League of Women Voters hosted a forum for legislative candidates representing the Carson City area Friday " but none of the Republicans came.

Cheryl Lau, who is challenging Democrat Bonnie Parnell in District 40, wasn't there " reportedly because of a family illness or other problem.

But Assemblyman Tom Grady of Yerington and Assemblyman James Settelmeyer of Gardnerville reportedly opted to attend the Nevada Mining Association event instead of participating. Independent American Party candidate Dennis Gomez, challenging Grady, also was absent from the forum at the Carson Community Center.

Parnell, along with Steven Dalton " Grady's Democratic challenger " and Joetta Brown " the Democrat facing Settelmeyer " were in attendance as were IAP challengers John Wagner against Parnell and David Schumann against Settelmeyer.

Sheila Ward of Carson City read a statement asking voters to support Lau.

The key issues raised at the forum centered on the state's budget crisis and how to fix it.

Brown, Parnell and Dalton called for a top to bottom examination of Nevada's tax system which Parnell said doesn't mean raising taxes. She said she opposes that in this time of economic hardship.

"Numerous elected officials from both political parties are saying we need to look at how we do business," said Parnell. "That doesn't mean raise taxes."

Dalton agreed but made it clear he thinks mining companies should bear a bigger burden. He said those are "Canadian based and foreign based companies" taking Nevada's resources out of the ground.

"I think they need to come to the table," he said.

Brown disagreed saying gold prices are a roller coaster of ups and downs. She said the answer is a "critical look at the entire tax structure."

"We need critical thinkers with a vision," Brown said. "We need to find ways to bring business here, find ways to elevate our education system."

She said more public private partnerships would help reduce costs.

Wagner and Schumann took a clear stand against any new or increased taxes or fees.

"I think we have a problem with spending," Wagner said.

"The budget is the problem," Schumann said. "But I think the problem isn't on the supply side, it's on the demand side."

He called for drastic restructuring of state government, cutting the number of agencies in half and eliminating positions.

Schumann said the state needs police, fire, road repairs and education, "since it's a government function for the time being." He said a lot of other government services could be eliminated.

"I don't think the people who founded this country thought government needed to be our mommy," he said.

Parnell objected saying if Schumann was among the disabled, the elderly and those with other special needs, "you might not have made that statement."

Dalton agreed saying cutting back things like free vaccinations for kids who can't afford it and other similar reductions doesn't make sense.

Dalton said a long range solution for the state is its renewable energy resources. He said wind, solar and geothermal power could bring great business and job opportunities to Nevada and generate revenue for the state by making Nevada a power supplier for other states.

Parnell said the state's problems "aren't going to be solved by partisanship, by name calling and insults."

"We need to look at things from a different point of view now," said Dalton. "We need to open up that table and that forum to anybody willing to come in."

The forum had only 13 citizens in attendance when it started. The crowd grew to 31 during the next hour. But many others may have watched from their living rooms on cable access television.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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