Three candidates are vying to replace P.K. O’Neill as Carson City’s District 40 Assemblyman.
Republican Al Kramer was the victor in a hotly contested primary election. Kramer now faces Democrat Michael Greedy in the General Election. Early voting begins Saturday.
But the two of them also face Independent American Party candidate John Wagner who has run for several other offices in the past. While a long shot himself, if Wagner claims many votes, they will come off of Kramer’s total, not Greedy’s. Kramer has the advantage of name recognition since he ran for and was elected Carson City Treasurer five times for a total of 20 years in that office.
Greedy touts open mind as key to win voters
Greedy, a Democrat, says his open minded approach to the issues should be a key reason voters will be attracted to him.
“I’m open minded and I haven’t made any outlandish pledges,” he said, a reference to his opponent Kramer’s signing the no-tax pledge. “I try to approach this from the point of view of being practical.”
Greedy is a retired state worker who spent 18 years at the Public Utilities Commission and another 14 working for Southwest Gas and CP National.
He said government needs to find better ways to get services down to the people who need them.
He said one example is to create community based store front offices that provide those needing mental health, drug and other services with a single point of contact.
Greedy said that would increase efficiency in government for those in need of help — especially the homeless.
He said it would also help lift the burden of dealing with those people from law enforcement.
Greedy said there’s a safety net in this state but most of those who need it don’t know where to go or who to ask to get help.
“Unfortunately, police get to be the first point of contact and that’s really not what police should be doing,” he said.
Greedy said he opposes the school voucher program that was recently blocked by the Nevada Supreme Court. But he said he expects proponents to return with a revised version of it during the 2017 session.
He said Nevada made progress last session in improving K-12 education. He pointed to bringing more social workers into the schools which he said will help take that load off of teachers who he said spend too much time performing social services.
But he said the state still needs to pay teachers better so school districts can attract more applicants.
To get things like that done, he said, “I’m not afraid to raise taxes.”
He said he likes Treasurer Dan Schwartz’s idea of creating a corporate income tax as a substitute for the Modified Business Tax and the commerce tax that have drawn so much protest.
Greedy also said he thinks the Legislature should have a stronger role in creating the state budget.
“The way we do budgeting in Nevada, the Legislature really does not have an independent voice in the budget,” he said. “We tend to adopt for the most part what the governor presents.”
Kramer says experience will help him be effective in Legislature
Kramer, the Republican seeking Carson City’s Assembly District 40 seat, said well over 20 years experience dealing with the Legislature will help him be an effective representative for the capital.
“I’ve got experience with 11 sessions, testifying in committees,” he said. “I believe I earned the trust of committee chairmen.
Kramer was Carson City treasurer for 20 years, Prior to that, he was deputy state treasurer for 15 months and, after leaving his elected post at the city, spent 12 months as deputy state treasurer for operations.
He said he thinks the governor will, as he did in 2015, ask for more money for education. He said he intends to learn a lot more about education needs and how it’s budgeted.
He too likes Schwartz’s plan to create a corporate income tax to replace the Modified Business Tax and the controversial commerce tax.
“I thought that was awesome,” he said adding unlike the commerce tax, it’s easy for businesses because they already file a federal income tax record each year.
Kramer said economic development is key for Nevada. But he said he would focus more on helping existing Nevada businesses grow than on bringing new ones to the state to compete with existing businesses.
“To me, that’s the way to do it,” he said.
He said, however, he certainly wouldn’t discourage new businesses from moving here.
He said simplifying the regulations and licensing both local and state a business must wade through to open its doors would certainly help.
“Now, by the time they make the first sale, they’ve got a thousand dollars in it,” he said. “Well, that’s a pretty good incentive not to go into business.”
Kramer said part of that problem is the numerous boards and commissions that oversee too many businesses, some of them primarily there to keep down the competition.
He pointed to real estate licensing: “A guy is licensed in some other state and knows his stuff but you’re going to require him to take all these classes before he can get licensed in Nevada,” he said.
Kramer said one issue he expects the 2017 Legislature will have to deal with is domestic wells — an issue that has come up this summer in places like Pahrump and Smith Valley.
He said there isn’t a crisis in Washoe Valley yet but predicted there will be soon. Kramer said he has been exposed to water rights issues all his life because his family has had multiple interests in Washoe Valley for generations.
He said regulations need to change to make sure Washoe Valley doesn’t end up unable to support its domestic wells.
“The crisis is coming,” he said. “Maybe we make changes now so we have a soft landing instead of a crash.”
Wagner, the Independent American Party candidate, said the biggest issue for the 2017 session is taxes.
“Both parties in Nevada raised taxes and gave tax breaks ... It is time for people to consider changing parties and joining the Independent American Party.
“The big issue for the 2017 Legislature is taxes. The Commerce Tax (Margins Tax) was voted down by the voters in 2014 but we have it anyway. The Modified Business tax is an employee head tax that makes employers hiring new employees undesirable,” he said.