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Washoe County Commission selects late state senator's husband to represent Sparks-area Assembly district

Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Legislature
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Assembly Chambers during speech

Former Washoe County Commission candidate Greg Smith will become the Nevada Legislature’s newest member and replace former Democratic Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, who resigned his seat amid allegations of sexual harassment earlier this month.

Washoe County Commission voted to select Smith, the husband of the late state Sen. Debbie Smith, to occupy the Sparks-area Assembly seat after a two-hour meeting on Tuesday. Smith was one of 15 Democratic candidates vying to represent Assembly District 30.

Other candidates who had sought the seat included Washoe County Education Association lobbyist Natha Anderson, former regent Nancy Price and former Libertarian party lobbyist Wendy Stolyarov.

In his pitch to commissioners, Smith acknowledged that he hasn’t served in the Legislature before but said he is “very familiar with how it operates and the decorum necessary to proudly represent the district” from 13 years of firsthand knowledge. His wife represented Assembly District 30 for six terms before she joined the state Senate in 2012.

“I am committed to be accessible to the constituents of this district and be their voice in Carson City,” Smith said.

Smith, a retired union apprenticeship program administrator, said he has lived in the district for 35 years, raised his family there, and is “immensely supportive of the direction we’re taking in this community.” He noted that he is joining the Legislature at a “tumultuous time” but promised to “be a statesman and conduct myself with the utmost integrity in a manner that will make you and this community proud.”

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, in a statement Tuesday evening, said Smith would serve the Legislature “with honor and integrity.”

“Greg has more than three decades of experience advocating on behalf of working families in our state and is well aware of the tasks at hand,” Frierson said.

Smith’s appointment leaves the balance of female to male lawmakers in the Nevada Legislature at 33 women and 30 men.

Sprinkle, a firefighter and paramedic with the Reno Fire Department, had represented the Assembly District since 2012 and chaired the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee. His sudden resignation in mid-March came shortly on the heels of Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson stepping down after announcing he would be pleading guilty to federal charges of misusing campaign funds for personal use.

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