What happens as political prodigies age?
What happens to young prodigies in early adult years, middle age and Medicare days? Here’s the story of one political prodigy.
Alan Glover grew up in Carson City. As a 22-year-old senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1972, he ran for the Nevada Assembly in his home town. He organized his fraternity brothers into a political strike force, bringing them to Carson to canvas door-to-door for him.
He won and served five terms before being elected to the State Senate in 1982. In 1985, he resigned to be appointed Carson City recorder. That office that was combined with the city clerk in 1987, and he was elected to it.
As a young rising star in 1991, he ran for secretary of state, but lost. He returned to working as an insurance agent, as he had during his legislative years. But the person who replaced him as clerk-recorder sensibly soon hired him as the chief deputy to run the office well.
Alan again ran successfully for clerk-recorder in 1994, serving from 1995 to this year. When he had electoral opponents, he won by huge margins. He became the dean of county clerks and recorders, running the best operation in Nevada’s 17 counties — a role model to his professional peers.
He led state organizations of county fiscal officers, county clerks and county election officials. Smart secretaries of state sought his counsel.
Carson City ran efficiently and effectively greatly because he served simultaneously as the following: ex-officio clerk of the First Judicial District, Board of Supervisors, Board of Equalization and General Obligation Commission — and ex-officio public administrator. At the same time, he oversaw operations of the Recorder’s Office, Marriage Bureau and Elections and Records Management. Being a great manager, he built a great staff.
His protégé and successor, Sue Merriwether, calls him “a walking history book of Nevada” because often regaled her with stories from his long career. For example, when he was a young Assemblyman, bull-of-the-woods Senator Bill Raggio mistook him for a student intern and asked him one day to fetch a cup of coffee. Alan shrugged, smiled and did so. Eventually, Raggio learned he was leaning on a fellow legislator but always Alan was gracious.
Along the way, Alan married Harle, an outstanding public servant, too, and they raised a great family. He was a real man in an F150 pick-up truck who hunted and chewed tobacco. But he also led the modernization of public operations by digitizing property records and via outstanding service on a court-appointed state redistricting panel in 2010.
Alan was a classic Nevada conservative Democrat. He was always helpful to me when I got involved in politics upon moving here in 2001. As his party evolved away from him toward its exotic 21st Century liberal progressive politics, he became the favorite Democrat of Nevada Republicans. But he couldn’t bring himself to change parties because his mother had been an active life-long Democrat.
So I, as Carson Republican chairman in 2006, offered to host a celebratory dinner, press conference, etc. if he would come over. Or, if it would help him even more, we’d keep it a secret. Pleasantly, he demurred. But some months later, I checked the voter rolls and was thrilled to learn he had made the change without telling anyone.
In retirement, he’s now been hired by new Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske for his vast knowledge of election matters.
So, what happens sometimes is this: They age very gracefully into truly distinguished professionals, public servants and community leaders. Also, cheerful and very likable guys and great family men who make their mothers proud.
Ron Knecht, the Nevada State controller, is a frequent columnist for the LVN and Nevada Appeal.