Legislators advise group how to work the system | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislators advise group how to work the system

by Sheila Gardner, Appeal Staff writer
Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, center, talks with members of the Suicide Prevention Network on Wednesday afternoon at the Carson Valley Middle School in Gardnerville. From left, Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini, Amodei, Douglas County Chief Probation Officer Scott Shick and Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville.
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GARDNERVILLE — Members of a citizens’ group were tutored Wednesday in how to pry money out of the Legislature to fund a suicide prevention project for Western Nevada.

Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville Ranchos, and Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, were invited by the Suicide Prevention Network to plan strategy for asking the Nevada Legislature for money to get their program off the ground.

Both legislators said the more the group can bring to the table in community sponsorship and in-kind services, the better the chance of getting the money from the state.

“Come up with realistic numbers for what you’d like to do the job correctly,” Hettrick said. “Prioritize your list, what you can do without, so we don’t give away the guts of your program negotiating.”

Amodei, who is a member of an interim committee studying Nevada’s high suicide rate, said it’s the first time the Legislature has dealt with suicide prevention. The Douglas County group is ahead of the curve, he said, because members have already testified before the committee and are close to obtaining nonprofit status for the group.

“I think as far as a group of folks, your testimony is as powerful as anything the committee has heard anywhere in the state,” Amodei said.

Members expressed concern that the state spends its money in Las Vegas and ignores the rural counties.

“I know you guys don’t forget us, but sometimes it’s tough to stand up to the big guns,” said board member John Amundson. “Make sure the rurals are not forgotten. You don’t need to feel you are standing alone and have no support from Douglas County.”

Amodei told the group that 500,000 people live an hour from the state capital.

“If you look at the legislative handbook, most of these legislators grew up in rural areas. The corner of Fifth and Carson streets is in direct proximity to most people of Northern Nevada. If you show up in person, that’s more powerful than the dollar.”

Hettrick encouraged members to go to groups seeking in-kind contributions and pledges.

“You come into the committee and say, ‘This is how much money we need. Look, here’s what we’ve done for ourselves. That’s why it’s smart to support us.’ Make it look like an unintelligent thing to do to say no to the project,” Amodei said.

The Douglas County group was formed following the1998 suicide of Cindy and Larry Marchant’s 13-year-old son, Eric. Cindy Marchant is president of the Suicide Prevention Network. She and Jacquie Manoukian Mott formed a suicide survivors’ support group in April that meets in Minden twice a month.