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Southern Nevada officials talk solidarity as legislative session looms

Written By:

Benjamin Spillman

Southern Nevada lawmakers held the political equivalent of a political pep rally with local government officials Thursday looking forward to the upcoming session of the state Legislature.

But even with broad agreement that southerners need to hang together for their economic and demographic advantages to hold sway in Carson City, there were signs it will take more than pleasantries over coffee and pastries to maintain solidarity.

Still, the local officials and lawmakers who attended the kibbutz seemed determined not to come away from yet another legislative session feeling as though money and power sharing in state government doesn't reflect Southern Nevada's vast advantage in population numbers and business activity.

"How come in Southern Nevada we are always fighting each other," said Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas. "If Southern Nevada is healthy, the rest of the state does well."

The event at University of Nevada, Las Vegas attracted about 120 local government officials, lawmakers and lobbyists.

Brian McAnallen, vice president of government affairs for the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, and Robert Lang, co-director of the Brookings Mountain West think tank, led much of the event.

It was significant in part because of the effort it took to coordinate, in order to avoid running afoul of the state open meeting law. Governing bodies that sent enough members to constitute a quorum had to post agendas, open the floor to public comment and record the proceedings to produce minutes.

City council members from Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite attended, as did members of the Clark County Commission.

In addition to Kirkpatrick, state Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, and minority leader Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, R-Mesquite, took questions from the audience of local officials.