State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, says he’s proud of his contributions to revitalizing and diversifying Nevada’s economy.
But he said he’s running for a third four-year term in District 16 representing Carson City, Incline and south Washoe Valley because the job isn’t done yet.
“We’ve really begun this transition in our economy away from just construction and gaming and into technology, innovation, advanced manufacturing and other areas that truly diversify our economy,” he said. “It’s been discussed for a long time and in the past eight years we’ve actually done it.
“Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas.”
A significant chunk of the economic development and education reforms during the past eight years happened in 2015 when he was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
He said over that period, Nevada has gone from 14 percent unemployment to, “basically full employment,” and people have regained the equity in their homes that was lost during the recession. He said he wants to continue expanding economic development in the state.
Kieckhefer said that’s why he sponsored the bill to enable Nevada to develop blockchain technology last session. A major blockchain company has since moved to Nevada and the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center provided excellent jobs and multi-millions in investment, he said.
He said Nevada is building this new economy, “so that people who are unhappy in Silicon Valley have a very comfortable place to land here in Northern Nevada.”
He said he created the Silver State Opportunity Grant program that created a need-based scholarship for community college students to help people get the education they need to get those new high-tech jobs.
But he said it’s not just the big things that make a difference.
“You can also do the little things that may not change the world but may change the world for somebody,” he said.
He said a key example is the bill he put through for his Washoe Valley constituents who, “had their houses burned down by the wildfire the state started.” Under the old law, they would have been hit with huge property tax increases just for rebuilding their homes. His bill allows them out from under that increase when rebuilding what was destroyed.
He said he’s also working to help people living in the Duck Hill area just north of the Carson/Washoe line because they, “don’t feel like their getting the response they deserve from Washoe County.” That issue centers around the lengthy response time to get emergency services to those residents from Washoe County when Carson City is just minutes away.
“I think that in the past eight years, I’ve proven myself adept at getting things done through the legislative process,” Kieckhefer said. “I can get bills passed through legislatures controlled by Republicans and Democrats.”
He said that skill is critical for his constituents.
“My job is not to be a politician,” he said. “My job is to represent my constituents and sometimes being a good politician makes you bad at representing your constituents.”
Kieckhefer said he will continue to represent those constituents as well as the interests of Northern Nevada and the state as a whole in the Senate.
He said that means working with both parties.
“We need more of that in government,” he said. “We certainly don’t need more partisanship.”