Settelmeyer makes bid for Dist 39 seat

James Settelmeyer, 35, wants to represent District 39 in the Nevada Assembly.

"A while back, a long-time friend talked to me about taking his job when he retires," Settelmeyer said. "I could not and would not turn Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick down, so I filed for his seat."

Maintaining property tax levels and education are two priorities for Settelmeyer, a Republican, rancher, and lifetime Douglas County resident.

Some type of constraint must be in placed on property taxes so people can afford to live in the houses they own. The tax cap approved by the Legislature last year limits increases to 3 percent, but that provision will sunset, Settelmeyer said.

"There are a number of different solutions, including the (Sharron) Angle Initiative which is essentially a Prop 13," he said. "It's best to gather all the information and make an educated decision."

People have to accept the fact that there are limits to government spending if taxes are kept down, he said.

"If they want more services, they're going to have to pay for them," Settelmeyer said. "Sometimes we need to ask ourselves if we want as many services as we had at the places we left."

Settelmeyer talks easily about a number of topics, from water issues to the state budget. Legislators will be walking into an interesting situation during the upcoming session, an estimated $5 billion surplus.

A portion of those funds could be used to reduce the state's estimated $10 million unfunded liability, including the judge's pension fund, he said.

"It will cost $20 million to fund that pension plan," Settelmeyer said. "If we don't put that money aside, it will cost us $200 million in the future."

In addition to testifying at the Legislature, he has served as chairman of the Nevada Conservation Commission, appointed by Gov. Kenny Guinn. He was recently elected to serve on the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and serves as vice chairman.

Settelmeyer graduated with a degree in agricultural education from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and said education is a real concern for him.

"Keeping the Millenium Scholarship funded is going to be a real challenge," he said. "And we're talking about other issues, like full-day kindergarten and mandatory preschool."

The only question that seemed to stump him, was the one concerning what he did for fun. He said he's worked since he was a child and that is his life.

"I enjoy what I do - talking to people and working on solutions to problems," he said with a smile. "I have a '37 Chevy I'm restoring, but it's a work in progress. I've been at it for 8 years."

With his father, Arnold Settelmeyer, he operates two ranches in Carson Valley. He is married to Sherese, owner of the December Hair Salon and they have two children. Caitlyn is 6 and Sabrina, 16 months.

He volunteers at his daughter Caitlyn's kindergarten class one day a week, he said.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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