Five candidates are on the ballot for lieutenant governor, including an incumbent nominee and a Las Vegas city councilman.
Democratic Lieutenant Governor-nominee Lisa Cano Burkhead is running for the seat against Las Vegas Republican Councilman Stavros Anthony and three other candidates.
Nonpartisan health care lobbyist Trey Delap, independent American Bill Hoge and libertarian professional fighter Trujillo Tachiquin round out the ballot. Burkhead, Hoge and Tachiquin could not be reached for this story.
Despite being “a heartbeat away” from the governor’s mansion, the lieutenant governor arguably has less to do than any other office in the state, so much so that the job is considered part-time. The lieutenant governor chairs the state tourism board, is vice chairman of the board of directors of the Department of Transportation, and is the president of the state Senate.
Burkhead was named to her position by Gov. Steve Sisolak in December 2021, after former Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall left the state for a job in President Joe Biden’s administration. A native of Las Vegas, Burkhead was a teacher and principal for the Clark County School District before taking office. She was principal of Fertitta Middle School and later of Foothill High School.
Before becoming lieutenant governor, Burkhead had little political experience. She ran for state assembly in 2002 and lost, and served on the advisory board for Paradise Town.
Since taking office last year, one of her biggest accomplishments has been the creation of the Office of Small Business Advocacy which aims to break down barriers for small businesses by connecting them to different resources and opportunities. networking, said Cano Burkhead. He also connected companies to grant opportunities and helped them optimize their business in Google search results. The office was Sisolak’s idea and was created by the legislature in 2021.
She also launched the Battle Born Education Hero Awards to recognize the efforts of Nevada educators, and she continued to replace teaching while also serving as Lieutenant Governor to help address the teacher shortage.
“Education will always be a priority for me,” said Cano Burkhead. “I have a lot of ideas, and that’s why I’m really excited to have a full mandate and to be able to continue doing this work.”
Burkhead’s advocacy for education comes at a time when many schools in Nevada have struggled to serve their communities after the pandemic. The Clark County School District has been plagued with problems and is ranked as one of the worst large metropolitan school districts in the nation.
Cano Burkhead wants to retain the state’s teachers by compensating them fairly and making sure they have access to all the tools they need, including mental health resources.
“We had to pivot so much during the pandemic,” Cano Burkhead said. “Somewhere along the lines, we forgot that our educators also suffered a loss. They were also dealing with navigating through a pandemic with their own families while making sure they showed up every day.
She said she also wants to improve statewide recruiting by redefining “what it means to be an educator in the state of Nevada,” she said.
If elected, Cano Burkhead wants to work on outdoor recreation and find ways to help everyone gain access to public lands in Nevada. When it comes to tourism, she wants to promote the entire state, not just the resorts and entertainment opportunities of Las Vegas, but the “gems of our state.”
Anthony has served on the Las Vegas City Council since 2009, following a 29-year career with the Metropolitan Police Department. He has also served on the board of the Nevada System of Higher Education, including as chairman. That experience is what makes him the best choice for the post of lieutenant governor, he said.
“I’m the only candidate for lieutenant governor who has experience with what the lieutenant governor actually does, statutorily,” Anthony said. “If you are a resident of Las Vegas and you vote, do you want to vote for someone who needs on-the-job training or do you want to vote for someone who has 40 years of experience in the tourism and transportation and supporting small business and homeland security?I think most voters will opt for the experience.
He doesn’t have many specific policy ideas he plans to present, he said, but he would immediately use his role to meet knowledgeable people in every sector of his work – tourism and economic development – and would use their advice to streamline government processes.
Looking back on his 13 years on city council, Anthony said his greatest pride was getting a new fire station built in Sun City Summerlin. Emergency response times were lacking in the neighborhood, he said, and he listened to feedback from his constituents to get the station built.
“In my first term on the Las Vegas City Council, I built Fire Station 107 which drastically reduced paramedic response times and I guarantee you it probably saved lives. am very proud of it,” he said.
Anthony tried unsuccessfully to access higher functions. He ran for mayor in 2015 against incumbent Carolyn Goodman, but lost in the primary. He applied to run for Congress in the 4th District in 2018, but dropped out, citing health issues. And he lost a race for the Clark County Commission in 2020 by a very slim margin; Democrat Ross Goodman was declared the winner by just 10 votes.
Delap wants to use his candidacy to show the people of Nevada that there is an alternative to the “broken” two-party system. He started working for Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley’s first campaign in 1998 and fell in love with working in politics.
But his career was derailed when he developed a gambling addiction and served time in prison for theft. He is not afraid to talk about his past because he is an example that people can grow and change, he said.
Since his recovery, he has worked as a lobbyist in Carson City, primarily representing mental health and health care advocacy nonprofits. His experience during recovery also inspired him to quit the Democratic Party and become non-partisan.
“The help I got was from these Republican friends who had small businesses, who were conservative and didn’t care (about my background),” Delap said. “All these Democratic contacts, nothing. I was an outcast… It kind of soured me on the Democratic Party.
A plurality of Nevada voters aren’t affiliated with either major party, and Delap thinks he can carve enough votes in the middle to send a message to parties that the two are getting too extreme, he said.
“We’re just in a place where real, real independents and moderates will decide (elections) because it’s so divided. And I think that’s exciting,” he said. “I was effective in the legislature as a non-partisan lobbyist because I spoke out about issues.”
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