Ex-gaming board chairman Lipparelli chosen for Nevada Senate

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LAS VEGAS — Clark County commissioners appointed former Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman Mark Lipparelli to the state Senate on Tuesday, filling a vacancy left when former state Sen. Mark Hutchison was elected lieutenant governor.

Commissioners made the unanimous decision after receiving a dozen applications to finish out the last two years of Hutchison’s four-year term.

Candidates had to be a Republican, like Hutchison, and live in Senate District 6 in Las Vegas.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Robison said lawmakers were excited to welcome Lipparelli to the Legislature.

“Sen. Lipparelli has a long, distinguished history of service to our great state and we look forward to working with him to continue Nevada’s comeback,” he said.

Lipparelli works as a gambling industry consultant at Gioco Ventures, a company he founded, and has 26 years of experience in casino regulation and in private gambling companies including Bally Technologies and Shuffle Master, according to a resume submitted to commissioners. He served on the control board from 2009-2012.

Lipparelli has a bachelor’s in finance and a master’s in economics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and has studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He bested a slate of candidates including former Nevada Taxicab Authority Administrator Charles Harvey. Other hopefuls included Glenn Trowbridge, Brian Hardy, Jearld “Jerry” Hafen, Rick Welte, David Marlon, Donald Hotchkiss Jr., Donald Graham, Linda Hildebrandt and Bill Cimo.

The appointment is not the only loose end expected to be tied up Tuesday for legislative Republicans — the Assembly GOP caucus plans to choose new caucus leaders.

The group had elected Sparks lawmaker Ira Hansen as speaker, the highest post in the Republican-dominated Assembly, but he resigned last month after controversial newspaper columns came to light in the Reno News & Review.

The writings, which appeared in the Sparks Tribune over the course of several years and attracted national media attention last month, discussed race, sexual orientation and gender and were panned by the Reno-Sparks NAACP as part of Hansen’s long history of racial insensitivity and bigotry.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and others joined in the criticism of their fellow Republican, and Sandoval said he ultimately asked Hansen to step down from the speaker post as a result of the comments.

Justin Harrison, spokesman for the caucus, couldn’t provide specifics Monday on how members would choose a new leadership team.

One potential contender for the powerful speaker post was ruled out last week. Wesley “Wes” Duncan, who earned high marks during his freshman term and was re-elected in November to represent a Las Vegas district, announced Friday that he would resign his post and serve as second-in-command to Attorney General-elect Adam Laxalt.

Clark County commissioners said they hadn’t been notified of Duncan’s official resignation, but hoped to appoint his replacement at a meeting on Dec. 16.


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