Legislature invaded by ‘littles’ and old timers | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislature invaded by ‘littles’ and old timers

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Breanna Adams, 7, of Reno, watches the Assembly floor session Thursday morning as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters group that visited the Legislature. Adams sat with Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, and Assemblyman Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas, as well as Gov. Jim Gibbons and first lady Dawn Gibbons, who were on the Assembly floor for Old-Timers Day, which recognizes former lawmakers.

Breanna Adams, 7, spent her morning in good company.

After receiving a tour of the Nevada Legislature, Breanna took her seat next to Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert in the Assembly chambers.

But Breanna wasn’t told who would be joining her as a guest of Gansert, R-Reno, during Thursday’s session. Shortly after Breanna sat down, the governor and first lady showed up.

“It was great getting to sit with them,” Breanna said. “They were both very nice to me, and I like them both.”

Breanna was one of 48 children, also called “littles,” participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada who spent Thursday with their legislators.

“We wanted the children to see where the laws that will affect their future are made and it encourages them to get involved here later in life,” said Pat Fling, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada. “Secondly, we wanted to make the Legislature more aware of the organization and what we do.”

The visit coincided with Old-Timer’s Day, when past legislators were invited to sit in on the session. Gansert represents District 25 in west Reno, the district that both the governor and his wife represented. Gov. Gibbons served from 1988-1994 and Dawn Gibbons served from 1999-2003.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization was also recognized by Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, during the session. Anderson was joined by 11-year-old Samantha Anderson, no relation, during the session.

“He was a good explainer. He taught me some new things about what they were doing. Then he introduced me in front of everyone,” Samantha said.

The experience inspired Samantha to reconsider her future career choice.

“I still want to do various things, including performing as an actress and a singer and be a veterinarian, but I might try to come and work here too,” Samantha said.

The organization expanded into Carson City in October and is working to provide mentors to children of incarcerated parents. The goal for the first year is to match 50 children with mentors in the capital city. The group’s overall goal is matching 800 children with mentors by 2008.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.