Washoe County Commission Picks Former State Lawmaker Brower To Fill Raggio’s Senate Seat

The Washoe County Commission today selected former state Assemblyman and U.S. Attorney Greg Brower to replace retired GOP state Sen. Bill Raggio in the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature.

Brower, the first applicant interviewed for the remaining two years of Raggio’s term in Washoe District 3, said he was seeking the seat purely as a public service. Brower said he agrees with GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval that the upcoming two-year state general fund budget must be balanced with existing revenue.

“The governor is right,” he said. “We can, we must balance the budget without raising taxes.”

Brower was selected after the commission performed a dozen interviews in a public meeting in Reno. Candidates, who also included former state Treasurer Patty Cafferata and former Tax Commission Chairwoman Barbara Smith Campbell, were interviewed in alphabetical order.

Brower served in the state Assembly for two terms in 1999 and 2001. He lost re-election to Sharron Angle.

Candidates had to live in the district and be Republican.

Brower was the unanimous selection of the four commissioners who voted. Commissioner Bonnie Weber had to recuse herself because her husband, businessman Michael Weber, had sought the appointment.

Commissioner David Humke, himself a former GOP member of the state Assembly, said: “We can’t have a 12-way Senate appointment. We can’t even have a two-way Senate appointment. I honestly believe that the experience and the qualifications that Mr. Brower bring are the top for this appointment.”

Commissioner Bob Larkin, a Republican who ran in the Washoe 2 Senate race but lost in the primary, said he most appreciated Brower’s comments that he would work across the aisle with Democrats.

“In this very contentious period of our country, we simply cannot have someone that is not willing to go across the aisle and say, ‘hey, let’s work this out,’ ” he said. “Not sacrifice principle, not sacrifice basic tenets.”

In commenting on his selection, Brower said: “I can tell you that I will not let you down. I look forward to working with each and every one of you. I just look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

“There is a lot of very difficult work to do,” he said. “As I’ve tried to explain to you, I think I’m up to it.”

Raggio announced earlier this month he was stepping down after 38 years in the state Senate due to mobility problems. Raggio had served as the leader of the Senate Republican Caucus for decades before being replaced as minority leader for the 2011 session after endorsing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election bid. Reid is a Democrat.

Raggio did not suggest a replacement, saying only he would like to see the commission appoint someone who is willing to work with Democrats in solving the huge budget crisis facing the state.

The Washoe County Republican Party had endorsed Brower and Cafferata.

Brower is currently a partner in the Snell & Wilmer law firm. His practice is focused on complex civil and white collar criminal litigation, as well as corporate investigations and administrative law.

Brower joined the firm in 2009 after approximately two years as the U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada. As Nevada’s chief federal law enforcement officer, he supervised all federal criminal prosecutions and all civil litigation involving the United States in Nevada.

Audio clips:

Washoe Commissioner David Humke says Brower is most qualified of the candidates to serve in the state Senate:

011811Humke :22 for this appointment.”

Commissioner Bob Larkin says he appreciates Brower’s willingness to work across the aisle:

011811Larkin :16 sacrifice basic tenets.”

Brower says he will not let the people of Washoe County down:

011811Brower1 :15 thank-you very much.”

Brower says there is a lot of work to do:

011811Brower2 :07 up to it.”