Republican candidates for Assembly District 38
With the retirement of longtime State Assemblyman Joe Dini, the race to replace the 36-year legislator has drawn a number of hopefuls.
While Democrat George Dini and Independent American Dennis Gomez will get free rides into the November general election, four Republicans must face off in the Sept. 3 primary.
Former Yerington Mayor Tom Grady, retired Navy veteran Bud Southard, Yerington businessman Don Wagner and former Assembly candidate Roger Bishop will vie for the Republican position on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Grady served 13-1/2 years as Yerington mayor and two years as Yerington city councilman before being appointed executive director of the Nevada League of Cities in January 1993. He retired in January 2002. He has been involved in banking in various capacities for 30 years, serving as vice president of agricultural lending, vice president and branch manager.
Grady cited the experience and knowledge gained in his more than 20 years in public service as his primary reasons for entering the race.
“I have been on the ‘other side of the table’ at five regular sessions and one special session of the Nevada Legislature working for local governments, so I am very familiar with the process. I feel experience gained during my years as mayor and time with the League of Cities will serve the residents of District 38 well.”
As director of the League of Cities, Grady was the main lobbyist for the interests of Nevada’s incorporated cities.
State financial stability is his number one concern.
“Without the proper funding and budget controls, all areas of government will suffer. Education, health care, local governments, senior citizen issues, prisons, law enforcement, all state agencies, and water problems are all tied to the financial problems faced by the state. All branches of state and local government are serving the same constituents with a system of state revenue that needs repair.
“Let the Governor’s Tax Committee finish their work by November 2002 and see what these experts representing many interested groups throughout Nevada recommend to the governor.”
Looking ahead to possible legislative committee appointments, Grady said his areas of expertise would be government affairs, taxation and ways and means. “However, I have testified before many committees of the Assembly and Senate on behalf of local governments and would be comfortable with any assignment.”
A lifelong Nevadan, Grady was born in Tonopah. He and wife Patricia were married in 1965 and are the parents of three children. They settled in Yerington in 1974.
Grady attended Manogue High School, University of Nevada, Reno and Washington State Northwest Agriculture Credit School.
A native of West Virginia, Southard grew up in the coal-mining region of Welch. During a 23-year naval career, he served aboard two aircraft carriers and two tours of instructor duty, retiring in December 1982 as a chief aviation structural mechanic/aircrew.
Notable commendations include the good conduct medal, with five awards; national defense service medal, Vietnam service medal and sea service deployment ribbon with star.
Following his military retirement, Southard worked as a facilities manager for Digital Equipment Corp., managed a contractor paint store and was a licensed real estate agent. A Dayton resident since 1993, he served a term on the Dayton Regional Advisory Council and has been involved in various community projects.
A strong believer in grassroots politics, Southard said the growing power of special interest lobbyists in the legislative process influenced his decision to run for state office.
“I am running because I can represent the interests of the citizens of District 38 with the realistic perspective derived from a 23-year military career, extensive private sector employment and community involvement. We need this perspective in what is becoming an increasingly special interest influenced Legislature.
“Grass roots politics provides an avenue for the people to convey their needs and desires to their elected representatives and helps balance out special interest pressures.”
Along with the need for tort reform, Southard also sees the state’s financial stability as a primary issue.
“When doctors and trauma centers can no longer afford to practice medicine in Nevada because of the cost of insurance, a result of frivolous lawsuits and outrageous rewards, it is time for a change. Tort reform is long overdue and I will encourage all legislators to support a serious review of the system.
“Economic stability is a key issue because it affects everything from road construction to education. Dependence on tourism as the backbone of our economy is simply not a realistic solution to meeting our ever-increasing financial responsibilities. In order for Nevada to have a stable economy, it is imperative we proactively seek diversification.”
If elected, Southard said he would willingly serve on whatever committees the Assembly leadership appointed him to.
“To best serve the interests of this generally rural district, and considering the importance of the three major waterways passing through it, appointment to the Natural Resources, Agricultural and Mining Committee would be my first choice. However, I feel I can properly serve my constituents with commitment and integrity regardless of which committees I am appointed to.”
Southard and wife Carolyn, married for 17 years, have three grandchildren.
A native of Altoona, Pa., Wagner grew up in Southern California. He attended Orange Coast College and Fullerton Junior College. He has worked in retail sales and management positions for Ford Motor Co., Montgomery Ward, earning recognition for top gross sales for the West Coast, and a window manufacturing company.
Past political experience includes two terms as a Sacramento area volunteer fire district director and service on the governing board for the Sacramento County Regional Fire and EMS communications center.
“I feel I can make a positive difference in the future for the citizens and residents of District 38. Based on my accomplishments, I think I have proven I am an effective leader. I have served in public office and had a leadership role in managing millions of dollars spent in improvements to an emergency management system.
“My concern is with the future of the area. I want an opportunity to be the voice of the people, to represent their issues, not my own personal interests. I am dedicated to my cause and can’t be bought or intimidated and determined to stand up for what is right in preserving honesty and integrity.”
Noting several areas of concern, Wagner places tax reform, prescription and health care issues, water protection and boosting local industry at the top of his list.
“Tax revenue needs to be generated and invested using a means other than to pay the State’s bills by simply passing on the debt to the taxpayers,” he said. “Seniors should not be faced with dilemmas concerning going hungry or not having important medications available to them. Prescription relief and health care issues need to be addressed immediately.
“Water needs to be distributed fairly and equally in several ways to benefit our agricultural community and wildlife habitat. This precious recourse needs to be closely monitored to ensure health and safety standards are adhered to, preserving the quality of our drinking water.”
He said he is currently working to improve the local job market, noting, “Without growth in industry we will be forced to suffer tax increases to support our local services.”
Wagner said he would be willing to serve on any legislative committee where his experience and expertise would be an asset to the cause or directly affect the residents of District 38.
Wagner and his wife of 38 years, Leslie, moved to Yerington 12 years ago. He owns and operates a glass and furniture store in Yerington.
They have eight grandchildren. Wagner is serving as vice president of the Mason Valley Chamber of Commerce and is a reserve police officer with the Yerington Police Department.
Bishop didn’t respond to requests for information.