Gardner running for Dist. 39

Rick Gardner, 45, is one of four candidates vying for the District 39 Assembly seat soon to be vacated by incumbent Lynn Hettrick.

An attorney specializing in transactional real estate law, Gardner grew up in Carson Valley and at Lake Tahoe. He said life with his wife, four children and extended here has been good.

"I feel I owe the successes I've had to this area and its people," he said. "I want to give something back and I think I can make a difference."

Keeping property tax rates at 3 percent of appraised value and education reform are his primary issues, Gardner said.

"Current law states that the 3 percent cap could be changed," he said. "We should renew or stabilize those taxes so people know what to expect.

"If we want to raise taxes, we should take that decision to the people," he said. "Let them vote."

Property values have increased from 40 to 85 percent in recent years, but it's not fair to increase property taxes based strictly on the assessed value, he said.

"The need for local services has increased, but not by 85 percent," he said.

He realizes there are financial problems at the county level. For example, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office is horribly underfunded, with just five squad cars for the whole county. Three circulate in the Valley and the remaining two at the Lake, Gardner said.

He served two terms on the planning commission, one in the 1990s.

Growth should not be governed by any artificial and arbitrary cap lacking the science to support the decision, he said.

"We have to do the studies to determine what will work and then be consistent," he said. "We can't set an arbitrary cap before we understand what will happen to the economy."

Educated at schools in the Valley and the Lake, Gardner graduated from law school in 1988. He's a member of the California, Washington and Nevada Bar Associations, but cut his law practice back to help with the family construction business, Gardner Enterprises, after his father had a heart attack.

He has four children - son Kelly, 17 and daughters Becca, 16, Whitney, 12, and Michael, 9.

Wife Kelly, who is a teacher, is serving her third term on Douglas County's Parks and Recreation board.


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