STAGECOACH - Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid said Saturday the recession will make next year's gubernatorial contest less about who is in which political party and more about who has the vision to fix the state's economy.
"Every Nevadan now is interested in economic issues," said Reid, who traveled to Stagecoach to speak to the Lyon County Democratic Central Committee.
Because of that, he said, he will do very well among northern and rural voters - normally the bastion of the Republican Party.
"I come from local government," he said. "Pot holes aren't partisan. The economy isn't partisan. It doesn't matter what your party is. People want a job."
Reid, who hasn't formally announced his candidacy, said when he does make an announcement, he will lay out his vision for Nevada's future.
He told a story about a young University of Nevada, Reno graduate who, after listening to a meeting that focused on all of Nevada's troubles and weaknesses, asked him, "Why should I stay here and what is the future of Nevada going to be like if I stay?"
"I want my campaign to be an answer to her question," he told Lyon County Democrats. "I think we need to look at this as an opportunity to remake our economy."
He said for too long the state relied on mining and tourism, "and when gaming gets a cold, our economy gets sick."
The Legislature, he said, responds as it did this past session, with quick fixes.
"They show up every two years and run around trying to deal with the short term problem."
"We've been growing so long, people didn't feel like we needed to make changes," said Reid, who is the son of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.
He said this latest economic downturn showed that is no longer the case.
"This is a chance to remake our economy so we have a broader base, so people have jobs," he said. "Soon, I'm going to have very specific plans to announce so we'll look back at this as the time when we answered that young lady's question."
"We need a plan for education, a plan to diversify the economy, a plan to improve transportation.
"It's my belief Nevada's not very good at that."
Gov. Jim Gibbons, he said, has presented no vision for Nevada's future.
"He's saying no new taxes over and over," Reid said. "I don't know how that's a vision for the future."
Reid said the 2009 Legislature recognized the need to overhaul the state's fiscal and revenue system when it created a committee to study the state revenue structure, but that that is only part of the challenge.
"We're never going to fix our fiscal problem until we fix our economic problem," he said.
He said he will show Nevada voters his vision for that future.
"This is a campaign for the soul of Nevada," said Reid. "The future is not our fate. It is our choice."