Candidates of all kinds gather in Genoa

Seventeen candidates or their representatives, seeking offices ranging from U.S. Congress to East Fork Swimming Pool Board, spent a warm evening in Genoa sharing their platforms with about 50 residents.

All five candidates for Douglas County commission and the four Republican candidates for Assembly District 39 were among the candidates to appear at the perennial event.

Congressional candidates, Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller, a Republican and independent Daniel Rosen described their policies to the Genoans.

Heller, who grew up in Carson City and said he climbed Jobs Peak as a teenager, said he is in a tight race but that three polls in the last week have given him a substantial margin over his opponents.

"The answer is obvious," he said. "One of them voted for the largest tax increase in state history and the other voted for the biggest spending bill."

Heller said his campaign came down to less taxes, less regulation and tort reform.

Heller will appear on the primary ballot.

Independent candidate Daniel Rosen of Stateline told Genoans he was representing, which advocates allowing residents to guide their representatives by voting online.

He touted the system as a means to eliminate corruption and influence peddling in the election system.

Douglas County Democrat Joanne Orange spoke on behalf of Dina Titus, who is seeking the nomination to run for governor in the Aug. 15 primary.

Orange pointed out that the UNLV professor and Senate Minority Leader announced her candidacy for governor in Minden.

She confirmed that should Titus win, she would have to resign as a professor.

Assembly 39 Republican candidates John Dicks, Rick Gardner, James Settelmeyer and Barbara Smallwood all appeared at the candidate's night.

Dicks told the crowd that a method of distributing excess taxes back to taxpayers should be established when the tax is.

Dicks said he believes nuclear waste can be stored safely in a single place in the United States and that Nevadans should receive a stipend should the waste be stored here.

Gardner said it appeared Nevadans were being overtaxed and supports the Tax and Spend initiative which may appear on the ballot.

"There are some technical problems with it that will hurt rural counties like Douglas County," he said. "Those can be corrected by tweaking the language."

A Carson Valley native, Settelmeyer told the crowd he has watched as Douglas County has grown.

"When I went to Douglas High School there were 287 graduates, when my dad went there were 30 and when my granddad when there were three and two of them were male, so it was hard to get a date for the prom," he said, illustrating how the Valley's population has grown. "That has people worried."

Settelmeyer pointed out that even with that growth, government has grown even faster. He said he signed a pledge that he would not increase taxes.

Smallwood told the group she would be their voice in the Nevada Legislature.

"I understand how growth affects us," she said. "I believe that government closest to the people is best."

She said a major problem with PERS is the number of new hires, who will have to have their retirements funded into the future.

District 4 commissioner candidates Nancy McDermid, Janet Murphy and Greta Hamsch described their positions to the Genoans.

Republicans, McDermid and Murphy will appear on the Aug. 15 ballot.

McDermid said she liked the way Genoa combined both rural and town.

She said impact fees are not always the answer because they can only be used to defray the effect of the development that pays the fee and they must be refunded after 10 years.

She agreed that growth is a critical issue, but warned against making decisions that might have unintendended consequences.

"If you don't have economic vitality in Douglas County, the county won't survive," she said.

Murphy said she could provide leadership to Douglas County.

"You need a leader," she said. "That's someone who can guide and influence people. I need you to believe in me. A commissioner needs to be fair and accountable."

Murphy said the county just has to follow the master plan to deal with growth.

"I've talked to the slow growthers and the smart growthers and they're both saying the same thing," she said. "We need to follow the master plan."

Hamsch, a Democrat, asked that residents keep an open mind when voting for commissioner. She will face the winner of the primary in November.

"This position doesn't have anything to do with being a Republican or a Democrat," she said.

Hamsch said she and her husband voted for the Sustainable Growth Initiative.

"We continue to make the old choices," she said. "It's time for government to open up to new ideas."

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini kicked off the event with a pitch for the sheriff's tax increase on the November ballot. Pierini is unopposed in the primary and appears on the ballot.

"If we come up short," he said, "we will never be able to catch up. This is a quality of life issue."

East Fork Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl and challenger Kelly Chase compared their histories.

Chase, a Minden attorney, who has served as Tahoe Township Justice Pro Tem, said he was ready to change seats in the classroom.

He pointed out that he and EnEarl differ in their background.

EnEarl said he increased the collection of fines and obtained a federal sentencing grant.

"Ours is the only court in the nation that has received continuously received federal funding for the Department of Alternative sentencing," he said.

Both men appear on the November ballot.

Public Administrator candidate Sam Dupuis was the only one of the three people in that race to appear at the event.

Dupuis is running as a member of the Independent American Party against Republicans Lynn EnEarl and Jay Lather. EnEarl is the wife of Jim EnEarl, who said his wife was too ill to attend.

"People vote for the lesser of two evils, but that means they're still voting for evil," Dupuis said in his pitch for voters to choose a third party.

Both EnEarl and Lather appear in the primary election. The winner will face Dupuis in November.

East Fork Swimming Pool District Chairman Gordon Gray touted his record at the pool.

"For the past three years, the pool tax went down," he said. "The bond will be paid off next year."

Gray will be on the November ballot with contested district offices, including East Fork Swimming Pool District, Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District and Indian Hills General Improvement District, among others.

Commissioner Dave Brady and challenger Lloyd Higuera discussed their records and the future of the county.

"SGI was the right idea but the wrong prescription," Brady said. "We need a growth ordinance that is meaningful and equitable."

He praised the present growth workshops as an effort to get all the parties to agree.

"We need an ordinance that won't be challenged the minute the ink is dry," he said.

Higuera said the premier issue the county is facing is growth which is responsible for the lack of social services, traffic on Highway 395, law enforcement issues.

"I will bring an unusual perspective to the commission," Higuera said. "I've spent 20 years covering the news here, so I've got the background on the issues."

Higuera said he will work full time on the commission and will bring his professional communication skills to the board.


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