2018 Primary Election guide: Nevada Attorney General

Wes Duncan

Wes Duncan

Editor’s note: For the 2018 primary election guide candidates were asked for picture, address, occupation, age, contact information. record of service in under 200 words, eduction information a 200-word statement on their platform and to answer what is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix (500 word limit).


Aaron Ford

Address: P.O. Box 96003, Las Vegas, NV 89193

Occupation: Attorney, State Senator, State Senate Majority Leader

Age: 46

Contact Information: info@fordfornevada.com; fordfornevada.com

Record of Service: I was first elected to the Nevada State Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. I now serve as Majority Leader in the State Senate, where I passed laws to reduce and ultimately end the rape kit backlog, toughen penalties for elder abuse, essentially make targeting law enforcement and first responders while on duty a hate crime, protect our families on the internet and require that financial advisers look out for your money first and not just their bottom line. I also passed the strongest drug company transparency law in the nation as well as bills to strengthen cybersecurity and toughen background checks for childcare workers to keep sexual predators away from our kids. I am also a former public school teacher and have extensive legal experience before our courts and administrative tribunals, as a law clerk, in private practice, and as an elected official. Today, I am a partner at a Las Vegas law firm, where I focus on consumer protection. I have also litigated international child abduction cases under the Hague Convention and volunteered countless hours of pro bono legal services.

Education: B.A., Texas A&M; M.A., George Washington University; J.D., Ph.D., M.A., The Ohio State University

Platform: In the last few years, the Attorney General’s office in Nevada has become a vehicle to promote partisan politics and advance an extreme, ideological agenda that is far outside the mainstream and puts special interests ahead of our families. Nevadans deserve better from their top law enforcement officer. I will be an Attorney General who always puts Nevada families first. Whether that is combating workplace sexual harassment -- including making sure that taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill to defend harassers, taking on wage theft, improving programs to combat drug addiction and address mental health, keeping our kids safe at school, or taking on scammers, criminals and drug dealers that prey on our communities, my focus will always be on keeping Nevadans safe, strengthening the middle class, and protecting our families. There is no criminal too ruthless and no corporation too powerful that I won’t take on if they are hurting Nevada’s families. And if the federal government tries to target our state, I will act as the first line of defense to stop them from attacking our citizens and the values we hold dear.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

The number of fatal heroin overdoses in Nevada has nearly tripled since 2010, and Nevada’s amphetamine death rate is the highest in the nation. It is clear we must work on improving Nevada’s mental health and substance abuse programs, as well as crack down on prescription drug companies who profit off of dangerous addictions. I have visited the Washoe County Crossroads Program and other rehabilitation centers in Nevada, and not only do these programs help people to transition out of a life of drug addiction but they also save taxpayers millions of dollars every year. We must find ways to support and expand these programs that help people get back on track. We should also better utilize diversion courts, so that those with mental health and addiction issues get treatment and become productive members of society. In my visits to these diversion courts in northern Nevada, I found that they have had a very high rate of success in getting people the help that they need, and as attorney general, I will look at how we can better utilize and support diversion courts. In the 2017 legislative session, I was proud to co-sponsor a bill expanding the hours of mobile mental health units in Clark and Washoe counties. In this program, mental health counselors ride with law enforcement officers to provide crisis intervention services to those who need it, and in the process, his program increases the safety of the general public. Finding and supporting innovative programs like this that work to help increase public safety and help get people treatment will be a priority of mine if I am elected attorney general.

Editor’s Note: Stuart J. MacKie didn’t respond to the questionnaire.


Name: Wes Duncan

Position Sought: Attorney General

Address: P.O. Box 370672, Las Vegas, NV 89137

Occupation: Attorney

Age: 37

Contact Information: john@wesduncan.com; www.wesduncan.com; https://www.facebook.com/Wesduncannv/

Record of Service: Wes Duncan is an Iraq War veteran, former prosecutor, and until recently served as the First Assistant Attorney General of Nevada under Attorney General Adam Laxalt. As the Assistant Attorney General, he helped lead 400 staff in five offices across Nevada, and was instrumental in reducing 8,000 backlog rape kits in Nevada. He also helped to establish the Nevada Office of Military Legal Assistance, which supports the legal needs of Nevada’s military families at no cost to taxpayers. He currently holds the rank of Major in the United States Air Force Reserve, where he serves as the JAG Officer for the 926th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base.

Education: Wes Duncan holds undergraduate degrees from Columbia College and the University of California. He received his law degree from the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

Platform: I am running for Attorney General because I want to make Nevada the safest place in America to raise a family. I’ve traveled the state extensively this year, and our law enforcement has repeatedly told me that things like mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and violent crime (such as home invasion) are interlinked. My platform focuses on being both tough and smart on crime.

As your next Attorney General, I will be tough on crime by increasing sentences for violent criminals, home invaders and domestic abusers. We must ensure that our laws have real deterring power and that criminals know they are not welcome in Nevada. I will also be smart on crime: increasing resources for mental health and substance abuse initiatives, youth programs, continued processing of sexual assault evidence kits and supporting transitional programs for victims of domestic abuse and their dependents. I will be a proactive Attorney General that focuses on preventing crimes before they occur.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

We need to give our law enforcement officials the resources to properly handle folks that are mentally unwell and pose a danger to themselves and their community — and often commit crimes. I have had countless conversations with sheriffs, police officers and district attorneys who have told me that their most pressing concern is a lack of mental health resources within their organization. In most Nevada towns, if someone is going through a mental health crisis and poses a danger, people call 911. When officers arrive, especially in rural Nevada, the only choice is to take that person to a traditional emergency room (where staff are often not trained to handle them) or they go to jail (where their mental state may degrade even more dangerously). There are programs operating in some parts of Nevada that need to be implemented statewide. For instance, the concept of Mobile Outreach Safety Teams (MOST) provides a trained psychiatric professional to the police who respond to these calls — often leading to much better outcomes in taking that person into custody or getting them the right help. Another great idea is the “psychiatric ERs”, which is an emergency room designed specifically for people in the middle of a mental health crisis. Carson City already has one called the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center. This facility provides specialized care and can quickly determine whether a person should be receiving in-patient or out-patient care, and direct that person into the appropriate treatment program. Responsibly handling these people and their long-term conditions will save lives, tax dollars, and will make sure that our police officers are spending more time on patrol and less time guarding unwell prisoners in traditional emergency rooms.

Editor’s Note: Craig Mueller didn’t respond to the questionnaire.

Independent American

Joel F. Hansen

Address: 1835 Village Center Circle, Las Vegas, NV, 89134

Occupation: Attorney

Age: 74

Contact Information: Joelfhansen@gmail.com; www.votejoelhansen.com

Record of Service: I served in the National Guard for six years, the last three years as a sergeant in the Nevada National Guard. I served a mission for two years in Uruguay. I have been active in my church having served in many different callings, most of them with young people. I am an Eagle Scout and served for many years as a Scout leader, for which I was honored with the Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver. I served as the Treasurer of the Defense Trial Lawyers of Nevada. I perform pro bono legal service every year. I have served as an officer of the Independent American Party numerous times, currently as the Nevada State Chairman. I am a member of the Nevada for Full Statehood Committee, and I served, mostly pro bono, as the attorney for Cliven Bundy during his federal criminal trial.

Education: I graduated from Sparks High School, from BYU with a BA, and from J. Reuben Clark Law School with a Juris Doctor degree, all with honors, plus a teaching certificate from UNR.

Platform: I will sponsor legislation to enforce the provisions of the Nevada Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Make our schools safe: Willing educators should be armed and trained to protect themselves and their students from mass shootings.

Illegal Immigration: Nevada law enforcement will cooperate with federal authorities by notifying them of illegal aliens arrested and/or convicted of crimes.

Public lands: Nevada law says that Nevada owns our public lands. I will strive to help Nevadans use public lands without interference by federal agents.

Local Law Enforcement: I will encourage Nevada Sheriffs to assume their proper role as the highest law enforcement officers in their counties.

Elder Abuse: I will prosecute unscrupulous court “guardians” who steal the life savings of elderly people and evict them from their homes. I will stop to this terrible racket.

Body Cameras: Policemen should carry body cams and keep them rolling throughout any encounter to hold people and police accountable.

Constitutional Right to a Jury Trial: Current laws deprive citizens who have issues with government agencies of their right to a jury trial — instead, they only get a hearing before an administrative “kangaroo” court. I will work to restore jury trials in citizen v. agency legal disputes.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

As I state above in my platform comments, Nevada law says that Nevada owns our public lands. This is a law that was passed by the state legislature during the sagebrush rebellion in the 1970s. It is an issue which affects all Nevadans, north and south. When this law was challenged in Federal Court, a past attorney general, Del Papa, violated her oath of office to defend Nevada’s laws, and stipulated that the law was unconstitutional. Thus, it has never been properly litigated. I will bring suit to enforce this law, as there are many constitutional, historical, and property rights issues involved which need to be litigated. The federal government is involved in an ongoing attempt to close down much of our cattle and mining industries, and our access to public lands for recreational purposes, such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and off-roading. Many disabled people are shut out from the enjoyment of our lands by designating them “wilderness areas” which only hikers can access, since there a few if any roads, and no motorized vehicles are allowed. The feds have shut down numerous roads which had been used for many decades by Nevadans. The Federal Government, the BLM, and the Forest Service claim ownership of almost 90 percent of Nevada, making us basically a territory instead of being a State on an equal footing with other states, especially those in the East where there is almost no federal land. This situation decreases our tax base and stops economic development of our lands for tourism, ranching, farming, mining, settlement, and almost all other uses. The BLM’s claim to Nevada’s land led to the Bundy standoff, after the feds had shut down 50 ranches in Clark County. And because the feds control our land, all over the State, they think they have the right to establish a nuclear dump here, without our consent. This is an issue which ought to be decided by Nevadans, not by those inside the Washington beltway swamp. I am not opposed to military bases in Nevada, because that is provided for in the Constitution, as are post offices and other similar federal buildings. But ownership of 90 percent of a State by the Federal Government was never contemplated by our founders, and is utterly and entirely unconstitutional. It ought to be challenged by any Nevada Attorney General worth his salt. I will strive to help Nevadans use our public lands without interference by federal agents.


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