Washoe County Commissioners are tapping Greg Smith, a former commission candidate and the husband of the late state Senator Debbie Smith, to take over the assembly seat vacated by Mike Sprinkle earlier this month.
Smith, a retired labor union apprenticeship director and a 35-year resident of Sparks, will serve the remainder of the two-year term vacated by Mike Sprinkle nearly two weeks ago.
Smith was appointed to the position after a two-hour hearing Tuesday during which 16 candidates were given five minutes each to pitch themselves to commissioners.
Speaking to reporters after the appointment, Smith says he’s understands it will be difficult to jump into the middle of the session, but he’s ready for the challenge.
“It’s overwhelming,” Smith said. “I’m just going to see what unfolds and I’m going to rely on my peers and coworkers to bring me up to speed quickly because I can’t consume that kind of material at this point.”
In all, the 16 candidates vying for the position included the head of the Washoe County teacher's union, the former president of the Northern Nevada Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a public defender and a former Sparks mayoral candidate.
Commission Vice Chair Bob Lucey says the selection was a difficult choice, but the commission believed Smith will do what’s best for the district.
“He’s been a strong advocate for unions,” said Lucey. “He’s been a strong advocate for wildlife. He’s been a strong advocate for education. These things are really important when you go and talk about state issues and state laws. I think those are the types of issues that you’re really going to need to address down at the legislature.”
In a statement released on behalf of Assembly Democrats, Speaker Jason Frierson says he’s pleased by the selection, that Smith has decades of experience advocating for working families, and Frierson believes he’ll serve with honor and integrity.