By Peter Guzman, Las Vegas Sun, July 23, 2023
In a time when bipartisanship seems rare in government, it was refreshing to see it on full display here in Nevada.
With his first legislative session as governor concluded, Joe Lombardo delivered much of his agenda with overwhelming bipartisan support, even with a Legislature dominated by Democrats, who have a supermajority in the Assembly. His impressive ability to reach across the aisle gave Nevadans a voice and small business a fighting chance for success.
From Day 1, Lombardo prioritized school safety, putting forward the Safer and Supportive Schools Act to restore order in classrooms across the state after years of growing violence. This law gives teachers the tools they need to remove students who commit violent acts from class while ensuring accountability measures to prevent abuse of this new policy.
On top of this historic new law, Lombardo signed a record-setting education budget, expanding per-pupil funding for public schools to unprecedented levels, giving failing schools the resources they need to improve. At the same time, Lombardo initiated a public education audit to ensure this spending goes where it is needed most.
The governor also fought for charter and private schools, calling for more expanded opportunity scholarships and more funding for transportation to students who use these institutions. While these efforts were blocked, Lombardo’s advocacy refocused the debate on these issues, and we can be confident he will continue to fight for educational opportunity.
Lombardo also made modernizing our struggling state government a priority. He put forward Senate Bill 431, the Government Modernization and Efficiency Act, a piece of legislation that improves the performance of state government so it can better serve Nevada families. In addition, Lombardo made good on his promise to provide pay raises for state employees with retention bonuses to help attract the necessary talent to keep our state running.
As the former sheriff of Clark County, Lombardo also made stopping crime a priority, passing a new Crime Reduction Act to combat criminal acts that have increased in recent years. While much work remains to combat the fentanyl crisis and retail theft that were enabled by Assembly Bill 236, this is a welcome start to making Nevada safer to those who call it home.
Last but not least, Lombardo signed a historic bill to bring the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas. Not only will this make Las Vegas a year-round sports town, but it will potentially create tens of thousands of new jobs for Nevada families, an investment that will pay dividends for generations to come. This will give Las Vegas another team to root for and bring our community together.
By focusing on kitchen table issues like education and job creation, Lombardo built support from across the political spectrum. In a state as purple as Nevada, this governor is proving to be the kind of leader we need to get things done.
While it seems at times that too many embrace partisanship and division to the detriment of those they serve, Lombardo provides a welcome alternative and an example for those who believe in results over rhetoric.
Though much work remains to ensure Nevada continues on the path to prosperity, we have plenty of reason for optimism with Lombardo fighting for us in Carson City.
Peter Guzman is president of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce.