Gov. Kenny Guinn is a tough act to follow, but here’s some advice |

Gov. Kenny Guinn is a tough act to follow, but here’s some advice

John DiMambro
Nevada Appeal Publisher

The fuse of this year’s governor’s race has finally reached its burning end. But in reverse motion, the explosion that happened was precursory to the fuse being lit. The threatening sparks that sped to the end of that fuse were found not in the final tallies, but in a powder keg blast of words leading up to Election Day. Sordid. Squalid. Ugly. Ugly is the predominant word of choice used by many to describe the governor’s race. But isn’t the word politics a euphemism for ugliness? I always thought so.

The voting was a belly-crawling, two-handed grope at runaway ankles. It was that close. And the fervent nature of the voting mirrored the face-off debates of the two candidates. Toe-to-toe, in-the-face slug fests. No bobbing and weaving. Just rabbit punches, kidney punches, and head butts thrown from bended-knee crouches. And then it was over, the voters feeling more exhausted than the candidates themselves. An imaginary arena filled with trash thrown in the excitement of the exchange was all that remained. Think in terms of empty popcorn boxes, the smell of stale beer, dented cups, sticky soda spills, peanut shells, all sorts of garbage.

Standing far and free of that arena is soon-to-be ex-Governor Kenny Guinn. Punctuate the following sentence suitably: The man will be missed. Mark my words, even his detractors will miss him. Of course, they won’t concede to that feeling of absence, but they know the truth of what they hide. Forget the politics, this man is a real person. So is his wife, Dema.

I remember the first day I met him, nearly four years ago. It was in a local restaurant. I introduced myself to him. He then told me he was a fan of the Nevada Appeal’s Web site, which was still in its incubator.

The smartest thing Jim Gibbons can do is not follow in the same footsteps as Kenny Guinn. Forget it. Don’t even attempt it. Kenny Guinn is one of a kind. Accordingly, the new governor should just cut a path that he can call his own – one that the people of Nevada will associate only with him.

Politically, there will always be so many things to accomplish – miles and miles of issues that, once addressed and resolved, will do much to enunciate the value of our new governor. And one should never underestimate the power of socialization. The Guinns have made an indelibly positive impact on the community in which they called home for the past eight years. Halloween delights at the Governor’s Mansion for the little kiddies, and the Tin-Cup Barbecue for the big kiddies in particular would be sadly missed if discontinued, though I will personally always associate those events with the Guinns. But our constant need for societal progression keeps the doors of invention unlocked for entry, and our new governor must now keep both feet inside those doors in order to make his own mark on this charming and wondrous state in which we reside.

For instance, behind door number one could be what to do with state surplus. Gov. Guinn’s pursuant charge to purposefully use the state surplus remains a marvel to behold. I liken it to a broader scale edition of a company reinvesting profits in its employees. In essence, profit sharing for the masses.

Now that we have seen that surplus cash flow routed into streams of refunds on auto registration fees, our new governor should consider future cash overflows becoming green gushing rivers of new currency outlets for education. Attracting and retaining a high-quality work force in Nevada’s eroding plains of top-grade educators would be aided by the fertile green foliage of cash. Using the state’s surplus to adjust the current pay scales of teachers by not only increasing annual raises, but more essentially improving the base pay levels could and should help our state and local quests to fortify our population of grade-A teachers. There are 21,686 teachers in our state for grades one to 12 – the size of a small city of people categorized under one profession. In Carson City, there are 534. I believe those numbers are high enough for our state to take seriously. A good first step for our new governor would be to look at unconventional incentives for teachers that are actually traditional incentives in other professions. For instance, why can’t teachers have lucrative bonus plans based on unbiased testing scores of students? Why drop real estate values when you can increase the values of what our teachers mean to our children – the future of our state, and of our city?

Mental health is another area that can use financial support by our state. So vast is the understated seriousness of the growing prominence of this disease that many insurance companies don’t even consider its mighty influence on mortality on the same level as heart disease or cancer. To many, it’s just a matter of having a bad day and people need to just “… get over it.” The same people who say that are in need of psychiatric help themselves. Again, just another area where our new governor can find his footing besides the obvious issues of taxes, illegal immigration, and drug abuse, among others.

So, that said, congratulations to Jim Gibbons. Although I supported Dina Titus for what I believe to be sound reasons, I am here as a resident of the great state of Nevada and as publisher of the Capital City’s newspaper to support our new governor moving forward, and to get to know him much better than I do to assist him in his endeavors whenever reasonably possible.

• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at