Legislative leadership set for state | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislative leadership set for state

Appeal Capitol Bureau

State Senate Democrats have voted to keep veteran Sen. Dina Titus, who lost Tuesday in a bid to become Nevada governor, as their minority leader.

Titus, 56, of Las Vegas, was re-elected Thursday without opposition as head of the 10 Democrats in the Senate. The Democrats picked up one seat in Tuesday’s elections, reducing the 12-9 Republican advantage to 11-10 for the 2007 legislative session.

Titus, who lost the governor’s race to Republican Jim Gibbons, has been the Senate minority leader since 1993.

Leadership is now set for both houses of the 2007 Legislature.

With Democrat Barbara Buckley chosen on Thursday as Nevada’s first female speaker of the Assembly, Republicans named Garn Mabey, of Las Vegas, minority leader replacing Gardnerville Republican Lynn Hettrick.

Hettrick declined to seek re-election this year because of business responsibilities. Mabey’s assistant for the 2007 session will be Reno sophomore legislator Heidi Gansert.

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Party caucuses in the Senate, however, opted to stick with their current leadership.

Reno Republican Bill Raggio will hold the title of majority leader for the 10th time. At 34 years, Raggio is the longest serving state senator in Nevada history.

His number two, as he was in 2005, will be Dennis Nolan, of Las Vegas, with Carson City’s Mark Amodei returning as speaker pro tempore.

This will be Titus’ eighth tour of duty as minority leader. Bernice Mathews, of Sparks, was re-elected assistant minority leader.

Now the jockeying begins for the chairmanships and seats on the various Senate and Assembly committees. The core memberships and chair positions of most committees are expected to remain largely unchanged.

There are several members, however, angling for vacant seats on the Assembly Ways and Means created by the retirements of Democrats Chris Giunchigliani and Speaker Richard Perkins as well as Hettrick. On the Senate side, the vice chairmanships of both Government Affairs and Taxation were vacated by the defeat of Republican Sandra Tiffany.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.