R-C Web site hosts first online political debate
County commission hopefuls will face off Monday and Wednesday in the first online candidate’s forum in Douglas County history.
District 2 incumbent Dave Brady and challenger Lee Bonner will be at http://www.recordcourier.com taking questions and talking about their campaigns 4-6 p.m. Monday.
District 4 incumbent Nancy McDermid and challenger Lawrence Howell will participate in an online discussion 6:45-8:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The candidates will be at their keyboards for the forum on Cover-it Live at http://www.recordcourier.com.
Viewers will be able to ask candidates questions and they will be able to respond. The forum will be moderated by The Record-Courier’s news staff.
All four candidates last met up at the Douglas County Democratic Women luncheon on Oct. 4.
While the candidates spoke, the women wanted to know how long they’d been registered to vote in Douglas County and whether they owned a home.
McDermid and Howell tied in their time in the county, having first registered to vote here in 1991. They both own homes.
Brady said he first registered to vote in Douglas County in 1985. Bonner said he first registered to vote in 2006 and that he leases his home.
Brady served nine years on the Douglas County School Board and was appointed to the county board of commissioners by Gov. Kenny Guinn.
“It’s important to focus on past performance,” he said. “In 2006 the county needed a more businesslike approach. We were conceding too much to developers. The good old boy system wasn’t working for the county. In 2007, I called for the resignation of the county manager. Now we have a management team that’s second to none. It’s hard to be in this position and call for someone to be fired.”
Brady has been endorsed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Protective Association and the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee.
Bonner said the county’s government needs to be more flexible in order to attract business here.
“One issue is Douglas County needs jobs if we want our children and grandchildren to be able to live here,” he said. “We need a nimble government that is able to make decisions quickly. We need to be proactive in attracting businesses to the county, not reactionary.”
Bonner suggested FAM or Familiarization trips for business site locators.
“The site locators don’t know we’re on the map,” he said. “We need to have some fan trips here. There is something magical about the Valley. I work for a large manufacturing plant. We can’t make our product any cheaper than in Minden, Nev.”
He said investing in finding hardy vines to grow grapes in the Carson Valley would be one way to preserve open space.
He said that Nevada’s rank at 50th in the nation educationally is a difficult for businesses who are moving.
“Douglas County has the best school system in the state, but that’s hard to see when the state’s at 50th. Local enrollment is at 1995 levels. We need to improve that.”
Nancy McDermid said Douglas County residents enjoy one of the best places to live in the state.
“We chose to move to Tahoe 32 years ago,” she said.
She said that of her 12 grandchildren, she was waiting for news the eighth had been born at Lake Tahoe.
McDermid represents Douglas County at the Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
“Gaming is no longer the king it used to be,” she said. “I believe it will continue to weaken. We need to diversify our economy.”
McDermid said the county is already doing the work to improve its business climate.
“So far the county has come through very well, there are less people but also less revenue,” she said. “Douglas County spent last year looking at an economic stability plan. We are crafting a blueprint for how to move to the future. It’s not a shotgun approach. We need to find industry that fits well with Douglas County. We need to find the right kind of jobs.”
McDermid said the county needed to look for a good match in development.
“From living in Tahoe, I know the environment is important,” she said. “It’s just as vital down here in the Valley, too. Four years ago development was overwhelming us.”
Howell, who is director of Rite of Passage said he’s proud that the firm started with six counselors and six students, and has grown to national proportions.
“We’re very proud of what we do,” he said. “We’re headquartered in Douglas County because we’re proud to be in Nevada.”
Howell served on the Keep Improving Douglas Schools committee that promoted the school continuation bond.
“The school district has a lot to do with how the county operates,” he said. “It’s very important the schools keep improving.”
Howell said as a member of the Douglas County Planning Commission he doesn’t believe in meeting just to meet.
“I believe in meeting to get things done,” he said.
He said he decided to run because he could complain about the county, or he could do something about it.
“If we don’t lock arms at the Douglas County level, we could face losing a lot of revenue to the state,” he said.
Howell pointed out that both candidates for governor have said they won’t cut education, which accounts for 50 percent of the budget. Since they have to cut the budget in half, it’s unlikely the state’s going to cut every other program they offer.