Politics and Policy

White tile building. A green sign with white letters that say, “Administration Building Washoe County School District.”
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Candidates for the open seats on the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees have weighed in on how they would rate the district’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also shared their biggest priorities if elected for KUNR’s 2020 voter guide. KUNR’s Natalie Van Hoozer talked with Lucia Starbuck to break down what the candidates had to say.

An In-Depth Look At Ballot Question 1

Oct 19, 2020
The front of the Nevada State Legislature building.
David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

For 156 years, Nevada’s constitution has included the Board of Regents. That’s the 13-member panel of elected officials tasked with governing the state’s higher education system and the eight institutions that fall within it. Now, in 2020, Nevadans will get to vote on whether that inclusion was the right choice with Question 1, a ballot measure that would pull regents from the state constitution.

Headshot of Natha Anderson. She is looking at the camera and smiling.
Courtesy of Natha Anderson

Three candidates in Sparks are looking to replace outgoing Democratic Assemblyman Greg Smith in the legislature next year. One of them is Natha Anderson, an educator and president of the Washoe Education Association. She spoke with KUNR’s Paul Boger to give her take on the challenges facing the state.

Headshot of Skip Daly. He is looking at the camera and smiling.
Courtesy of Skip Daly

Skip Daly has represented residents living in eastern Sparks and the North Valleys for eight years, non-consecutively, in the Nevada Assembly. This year, he once again faces a challenge from Jill Dickman, the Republican who defeated him for a term in 2014. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Skip Daly about his work in the legislature and his bid for reelection.

Digital event flyer. Voting in Nevada’s 2020 elections, a Facebook Live question and answer session in Spanish on Wednesday, October 14, at 5 p.m. pacific time.
KUNR

Lee en español. 

KUNR recently hosted a Facebook Live event in Spanish, in partnership with The Nevada Independent - En Español, to clarify the voting process for the upcoming general election.

To learn more, KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck spoke with bilingual reporter Natalie Van Hoozer, who moderated the event. 

KUNR 2020 voter guide. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The 2020 elections are a critical opportunity for voters across Northern Nevada to cast their ballots in support of the leadership they want to see at the local, state, and national levels on many issues, including public health, criminal justice reform and affordable housing.

KUNR’s local voter guide is meant to introduce you to candidates for several local races that impact your community, so you can make empowered decisions. We commend your efforts to be informed and participate in the democratic process.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Assembly District 26

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Assembly District 26. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The contest for Assembly District 26 is between incumbent Republican Lisa Krasner and Democratic challenger Vance Alm. Krasner, an adjunct professor at Truckee Meadows Community College, has held the seat since 2016. Alm, a local doctor, unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

The district contains most of Southern Washoe County. It stretches across Southeast Reno to Incline Village and includes the western side of Washoe Valley. The seat has been under Republican control since the 1980s.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Assembly District 27

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Assembly District 27. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The race for Assembly District 27 features long-time Democratic incumbent Teresa Benitez-Thompson and her Republican challenger, newcomer Barb Hawn. Benitez-Thompson is a social worker and currently serves as the majority floor leader for the Assembly Democratic Caucus. Hawn identifies as a homemaker and serves as the vice president for the Nevada Federation of Republican Women. 

District 27 comprises a large portion of North and West Reno, including Sun Valley, and the area west of the University of Nevada, Reno from Kings Row to Robb Drive. The seat has been largely under Democratic control since the 1980s.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Assembly District 32

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Assembly District 32. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

Assembly District 32 features a rematch from the 2018 election. Republican incumbent Alexis Hansen looks to defend her seat against Democrat Paula Povilaitis. Hansen is a realtor and co-owns Hansen and Son’s Plumbing with her husband Ira Hansen, who previously held the Assembly seat before being elected to the Senate in 2018. Povilaitis is a part-time substitute teacher for Sierra Nevada Job Corps.

District 32 is a sprawling area that includes Humboldt, Pershing, Lander, Esmeralda, and Mineral Counties, along with northern Washoe County and parts of Nye County. The seat is largely considered a Republican stronghold.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Assembly District 39

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Assembly District 39. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The contest for Assembly District 39 is between incumbent Republican Jim Wheeler, Democratic challenger Deborah Chang and Libertarian Dave Jones. Wheeler is the retired CEO of Powerdyne Automotive Products and has served in the Assembly since 2012. Chang is President & CEO of Business Owner Equity Incites, LLC and Adaptive Appalachia, LLC. Dave Jones currently serves as the Northern Nevada representative for the Libertarian Party of Nevada’s Executive Committee.

The district contains all of Douglas and Storey Counties, along with part of Lyon County.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Assembly District 40

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Assembly District 40. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The race for Assembly District 40 features a face-off against former Assemblyman Philip “P.K.” O’Neill and Sena Loyd, the former director of the Carson City Library. O’Neill is a retired division chief with the Nevada Department of Public Safety. He was previously elected to the Assembly for District 40 in 2014, but was voted out of office in 2016 for his support of the state’s commerce tax. Loyd identifies as an information professional. She currently serves on the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada Advisory Council and the Western Nevada College Foundation.

District 40 is mostly made up of Carson City and eastern Washoe Valley.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for NSHE Board Of Regents District 10. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

This year, voters in Washoe County will determine who will win one of the four seats up for grabs on the Nevada Board of Regents. For the District 10 race, which encompasses all of Washoe County, Former Regent Kevin Melcher is facing off against businessman Joseph Arrascada. A Reno native, Melcher was a K-12 administrator for more than 20 years before serving as Elko County’s representative on the Board of Regents from 2011 until 2016. In 2019, Melcher was appointed to the Nevada State Board of Education. Joseph Arrascada is also a Reno native and the owner and community outreach director for Nevada Fiduciary Solutions.

Headshot of Marie Baker. She is looking toward the camera and smiling.
Courtesy of Marie Baker's website

Washoe County has seen explosive growth, especially in the North Valleys where developers have built hundreds of new homes in recent years, but some argue that expansion has not been done strategically. Marie Baker is the Democratic candidate for the District Four seat on the Washoe County Commission.

She spoke with KUNR’s Paul Boger to give her take on the challenges facing the county.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for WCSD Board of Trustees District A. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The District A race for a seat on the Washoe County School Board of Trustees may be among the most contentious on the ballot as former Trustee Scott Kelley faces off against Jeff Church, a vocal critic of the board. Kelley is the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections. He also served as a trustee from 2012 until late August when he was told to resign by School Board President Malena Raymond. This occurred after This Is Reno first reported that within his divorce proceedings, Kelley admitted to having a sexual relationship with a stripper and tracking his wife with a GPS device.

Church is a retired police sergeant and U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel. He has been an outspoken critic of the district as he considers himself a watchdog.

WCSD District A encompasses parts of south Reno and Incline Village, including Damonte Ranch, Galena and Incline high schools, as well as the schools that feed into them. The Board of Trustees races are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for WCSD Board of Trustees District E. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

Incumbent Trustee Angie Taylor is looking to keep her seat from political newcomer Matthew Montognese. Taylor was appointed to the board in 2014 and was elected to represent District E in 2016. She is the President and CEO of Guardian Quest, Inc., a diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Montognese is a Reno native, a network technician and a Little League coach with two children in Washoe County schools.

WCSD District G encompasses most of northwest Reno, including Verdi and Sun Valley. The Board of Trustees races are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Reno City Council At Large

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Reno City Council At-Large. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The race for Reno’s At-large City Council seat pits an incumbent city councilman looking for his first full-term in office against a perennial candidate who has twice run for mayor unsuccessfully. Devon Reese, a lawyer, was appointed to the position in early 2019 after former Councilman David Bobzien accepted a position in Governor Steve Sisolak’s administration. Since then, he’s worked to become a mediating voice on the council. He currently serves as vice mayor. Eddie Lorton is a local businessman and vocal critic of both the city council and Mayor Hillary Schieve.

Reno’s At-large City Council seat encompasses the entire city of Reno. As a note, this will be the last time all voters in Reno will select an “At-large” representative. After the 2020 census, the city will add a new, sixth ward during redistricting. Municipal races in Nevada are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for WCSD Board Of Trustees District G, At Large. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

In this race, Diane Nicolet and Craig Wesner are vying for the seat being left vacant by Trustee Katy Simon Holland, who announced earlier this year she would not seek a second term. Nicolet is the Director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Child Care Center at Truckee Meadows Community College. She was previously appointed to serve on the Washoe County Board of Trustees in 2016, following the resignation of Trustee Barbara McLaury. Wesner is a civil engineer and businessman who is looking to give back to his community.

WCSD District G encompasses most of western Washoe County and includes North Valleys, Hug, McQueen, Reno, Galena and Incline high schools. The Board of Trustees races are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Reno City Council Ward 5

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Reno City Council Ward 5. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The race for Ward 5 is between an incumbent seeking her third and final term on the Reno City Council and a political newcomer. Two-term incumbent Neoma Jardon has touted her experience working with the council since 2012. Darla Fink is a retired finance director and small business owner.

Reno’s Ward 5 encompasses most of Downtown and Northwest Reno, including the University of Nevada, Reno, Somersett and areas around Verdi. Municipal races in Nevada are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Reno City Council Ward 3

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Reno City Council Ward 3. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The race for Reno’s Ward 3 pits two-term incumbent Oscar Delgado against political activist and first-time challenger Rudy Leon. Delgado, who also serves as the CEO of Community Health Alliance, is often quiet during council meetings but active in the community. Leon is a librarian by trade but currently works as an editor. She says she wants to take a more proactive approach to address the city’s needs.

Reno’s Ward 3 stretches across most of eastern Reno from North McCarran to Hidden Valley and includes Renown Regional Medical Center and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Municipal races in Nevada are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Reno City Council Ward 1

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Reno City Council Ward 1. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

In what might be the tightest city council race in Reno, two-term incumbent Jenny Brekhus is facing a challenge by real estate agent J.D. Drakulich. Brekhus, who is often at odds with the rest of the council, says she places constituents above special interests and makes decisions based on the good of the ward. Drakulich, whose family has a long history in Reno, is running for office for the first time. He says he would be a better representative for Ward 1 on issues like homelessness.

Reno’s Ward 1 encompasses much of central Reno, including Midtown and the Old Southwest neighborhoods. Municipal races in Nevada are non-partisan.

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