By Debra Reid
After announcing his run for governor in Las Vegas, Adam Laxalt kicked off his rural campaign at the Temptations delicatessen in Lovelock. About 25 people, mostly Republicans, were there to greet him. Residents said they'll support the Attorney General for his efforts to assist the rural community.
It was the second day of Laxalt's marathon tour of the 17 counties in Nevada. Unlike his first stop in Las Vegas, there were no protesters outside to challenge his job qualifications or conservative beliefs.
After the rally, Lovelock Mayor Mike Giles explained why he'll support Laxalt in 2018. His reasons echoed those expressed by a number of other Laxalt supporters at the campaign meet-and-greet.
“I like his policy that people come first and he's been very willing to listen to problems and help us break in or guide us to where we need to go with other agencies,” Giles said. “I think that open door policy will still be in effect in the governor's office. If he doesn't know the answer, he'll get right back to you or somebody out of his office will. I think it's been a vast improvement over what it was.”
Pershing County Commission Chairwoman Carol Shank agreed that Laxalt has been responsive.
“I think he's done an excellent job as AG. He's very respectful of the rural counties and he's one of the few elected officials that comes here regularly,” she said. “He works closely with our sheriff and our DA and I can't speak highly enough about what his office has done for veterans.”
The loudest applause came when Laxalt touted the new legal assistance program for military veterans.
“It's the first program of it's kind in the country and we've been able to help over 2,000 veterans across the state with free legal services,” he said.
Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen and District Attorney Bryce Shields confirmed there have been training seminars for drug-impaired driving detection and prosecution courtesy of Laxalt's office.
“As the top cop of the state, I take my job really seriously and I think we've lived up to our campaign pledge to make sure the AG's office is engaged with law enforcement across the state,” Laxalt said.
Sheriff Allen said he is pleased with the Attorney General's outreach to rural law enforcement.
“He's done a great job at least for my office and the community here in helping us get our backlogged sexual assault kits gone through,” Allen said. “The communication back and forth has been great and if he continues that as governor, it will be much better for the state.”
Laxalt said there could be more law enforcement resources available in the future but that he'll need to know how many rural towns and counties choose to either allow or prohibit marijuana establishments.
“My concern is will law enforcement have enough resources. I suspect the smaller counties are going to think hard about it for this reason,” Laxalt said. “We need to have a good drug prevention plan and my understanding is that's what some of the (marijuana) tax revenue will be used for. We'll have to come up with a comprehensive plan to make sure that we are not worse off in a few years.”
Alfalfa farmer Tom Moura said the Attorney General was “on board” with the irrigation district's push for state regulations to protect surface water rights in the Lovelock Valley. He also asked Laxalt to keep the rural areas in mind if he is elected governor and next time the state offers corporate tax incentives.
“I told him I'd like to see a little more push for economic development in the rural areas versus the metropolitan areas to help us out so we don't die,” Moura said. “I understand that we don't have the work force but, once you have the industry, I think the work force will move.”
Former Nevada Governor and Attorney General Bob List commended Laxalt for the veterans' legal program, for reducing the backlog of sex assault kits and “for not being the typical politician.”
“He speaks from the heart and has a terrific record as AG,” List said. “He's had two thousand veterans and their families participate in the veterans' legal assistance program and it's being replicated across America even by Democrat attorney generals. The back log of 8,000 sexual assault kits we had was unconscionable. He got outside money, millions of dollars for that so we didn't have to pay for it.”
As usual, Pershing County resident and Laxalt supporter John Heizer found humor in the situation.
“He's one of the few people who knows that there's actually 17 counties in the state and he knows how to pronounce Beowawe and McDermitt,” he said. “I think he's represented our veterans and the seniors to the full extent and the industries, gaming and mining especially, our biggest assets. He knows people and he knows how the state operates. Unfortunately, he spends time in Vegas. That's the only problem.”
Editor's note: We will occasionally publish stories of interest from our rural partners as part of a content-sharing agreement.
Debra Reid is a reporter with the Lovelock Review-Miner. Contact her at [email protected]