Two newcomers, one incumbent elected to Washoe County Commission
Two new faces will join an incumbent on the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners, according to preliminary results. The five-person board is the policymaker for the county and governs 24 departments, including the district attorney’s office, housing and homeless services, and the registrar of voters.
In District 2, which covers South Reno to Washoe Valley, Washoe County assessor and Republican Mike Clark beat retired civil engineer and Democrat Keith Lockard. Clark’s top priorities are cleaning up the Truckee River, addressing mental health issues among people experiencing homelessness, and ensuring money “isn’t wasted” by the county. Clark has received funding from Robert Beadles, a prominent local GOP donor who has made false claims about Nevada’s election system and cited antisemitic propaganda online. He was also temporarily banned from county property for sending mass mailers, including a photo of a female county official in a bathing suit. Clark has a background in mortgage real estate and said his proudest moment as an assessor was concluding a property tax dispute in Incline Village and Crystal Bay that resulted in Washoe County being responsible for refunding excess taxes to residents.
District 5 represents the largest geographic region in the northern part of the county, including Somersett, Lemon Valley and Cold Springs. Republican Incumbent Jeanne Herman will serve a third and final term, beating Truckee Meadows Community College English teacher and Democrat Edwin Lyngar. Herman has been a critic of the Truckee Meadows Public Land Management Act, which would allow federal lands to be developed in an effort to address housing needs; it could also designate some areas for conservation. There are concerns about water sustainability, and Herman has also criticized the local government’s handling of flooding at Swan Lake; she called for a development moratorium, but that was struck down by Reno City Council. Herman made headlines earlier this year for proposing sweeping election changes such as hand-counting paper ballots, a method being fueled by baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, and placing National Guard members, later changed to sheriff’s deputies, at polling locations; however, no one else voted for it. She has also received funding from Beadles. Herman has a background in real estate and horse and cattle ranching.
District 3 covers the area north of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport up to the southern half of Sun Valley, including parts of western Sparks. Democrat Mariluz Garcia beat Republican Denise Myer, both first-time candidates. Garcia is the executive director of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Dean’s Future Scholars program, which helps low-income and first-generation students graduate high school. She also has experience as a school counselor with the Washoe County School District. She was the only candidate elected to the Washoe County Commission who filled out KUNR’s environmental survey. Her top priorities include supporting first responders, attracting high-paying jobs, and addressing housing needs through a variety of housing options, including workforce housing and increasing outreach for youth, veterans and LGBTQ+ community members experiencing homelessness.
Washoe County commissioners serve four-year terms and make a little over $66,000 per year. They meet on the second, third and fourth Tuesday every month. More information can be found here.