by Sheila Gardner

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October 9, 2012
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Election 2012: Incumbent believes experience is a strength

Commissioner Doug Johnson knows why people run for office.

"When I first ran, I didn't like what I saw. I thought people were putting the cart before the horse, and I could change things from the inside," he said.

It's been eight years since Johnson, 49, was first elected in 2004 from District 3. His challenger is rancher Frank Godecke.

District 3 includes part of Gardnerville and southeast Douglas County, but the commissioner is elected at-large.

Both candidates are Republicans

Johnson is seeking a third term because he believes the county can capitalize on his years of experience, especially at the Nevada Legislature.

"We've come a long way together - dealing with the airport, growth, battle over FEMA maps, the community center, the conservation bill - and I definitely think we're going to need some experience this time around," he said.

Johnson's immediate concern is the Legislature which convenes in January.

"The No. 1 challenge will be the budget," he said. "Every time the Legislature meets, things get passed down (to the counties). This time, they could completely revamp the consolidated tax. It really scares me."

Johnson said he also wanted to serve as a commissioner as the county reaps the benefits of past work, especially the Douglas County Community and Senior Center set to open in February 2015.

"The best parts are our successes, even if they come about after a lot of agony and pain. That community center is going to be nice. We have the revenue for it, and we're going to be proud of it," Johnson said.

Occasionally, Johnson finds himself the odd man out on controversial issues. But he said he doesn't mind, that he votes his conscience.

"When you're voted into office, you are charged with working for the people. Period. You are charged with doing what is best," Johnson said.

During his next term, Johnson said he will continue to address the county's deteriorating road conditions, but would honor the voters' anti-gas tax stance.

"There's no way we're going to implement a tax without somebody voting for it. The problem is trying to fix the roads without taxing anybody," he said.

Johnson has kept his web site up-to-date for almost eight years, listing his platforms in 2004 and 2008, along with his accomplishments.

"I want people to see what I've said, if I was successful. I tell people I am accountable, responsive and transparent," he said.

He's been active on state and national levels in the Nevada Association of Counties, facilitating the organization's goal of getting all the counties to work together.

His NACO cohorts don't like what they anticipate coming out of the next legislative session.

"It scares us," he said.

Johnson said fostering cohesiveness is a goal he takes to all county commission meetings, knowing how divisive issues like water consolidation and growth have been, or matters exclusive to Carson Valley or Lake Tahoe.

"I've got this attitude to just work with everybody. You have to have the experience to make sure we're safe in the future because of the unknowns," he said. "Nobody has any idea what they're getting into when they run for county commissioner. It's not just two meetings a month. Everything ties in together."

Johnson has lived in Carson Valley since 1984. He and his wife Janice have two children, ages 22 and 20.

He worked at Harrah's Lake Tahoe for 20 years, and now works with private investments.

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The Record Courier Updated Oct 9, 2012 07:28PM Published Oct 9, 2012 07:07PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.