Posts Tagged ‘Bill Raggio’

Gov. Brian Sandoval Dedicates Road Project Linking Capital To Interstate Freeway System

By Sean Whaley | 1:37 pm August 2nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval and a host of elected officials and dignitaries joined in dedicating the new I-580 freeway connecting the capital to Reno today, although motorists won’t get to drive on the 8.4-mile stretch of new roadway until mid-August.

The final piece of freeway linking the two communities cost about $575 million when all costs, including right-of-way acquisition, are counted, and was begun nearly nine years ago during the term of the late-Gov. Kenny Guinn. Ninety percent of the project cost was paid for with federal funds. Planning for the stretch of freeway dates back several decades.

Sandoval and daughter Marisa were passengers in a 1913 Pierce Arrow from Harrah’s Auto Collection for a short drive on a portion of the project.

Gov. Sandoval waves from a 1913 Pierce Arrow at the I-580 freeway dedication today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Sandoval said Guinn and the late-Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, were instrumental in getting the project funded and into the construction stage. The two men were represented by their spouses, Dema Guinn and Dale Raggio, at the ceremony.

“This is a very important component on our state’s goal to become the No. 1 business area in the United States of America,” Sandoval said. “And so this is going to be a true, true asset in terms of moving products, moving people between Carson City and Reno and throughout Northern Nevada.”

It will also save lives by diverting traffic from Highway 395, where collisions have been a frequent occurrence, he said.

“This project is not just a home run, it’s a grand slam,” Sandoval said.

Gov. Sandoval speaks at the dedication. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Susan Martinovich, director of the Department of Transportation, thanked all the people who helped bring the project to completion, including the state Transportation Board and the NDOT workers.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said the freeway link will benefit the Northern Nevada economy.

“This highway and the communicating back and forth is really going to be great for the region and I’m tickled to death that it’s here and that it’s open now,” he said.

Cashell said both Guinn and Raggio deserve credit for the project, because “without them this wouldn’t be here.”

The most impressive part of the project, which was built on the hills to the west of the existing Highway 395, is the 1,722-foot-long Galena Creek Bridge rising 300 feet above the creek below.

The four longest of the nine bridges needed for the freeway segment have automated de-icers imbedded in each bridge deck that will spray a “salt brine solution” (potassium acetate) automatically when the temperature is 32 degrees or below.

But the freeway has come in for some criticism, particularly from Southern Nevada residents who questioned the high cost of the project and why it was made a priority. Southern Nevadans have pointed out on more than one occasion that the transportation needs in urban Las Vegas far outweigh those elsewhere in the state.


Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says the freeway link will help Nevada’s economic development efforts:

080212Sandoval :16 throughout Northern Nevada.”

Nevada Transportation Director Susan Martinovich says the freeway will also improve safety:

080212Martinovich :31 goal for that.”

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell says the freeway will help the region’s economy:

080212Cashell :17 wouldn’t be here.”



Outpouring Of Appreciation And Respect From Nevadans For Legacy Of Late Sen. Bill Raggio

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:12 pm February 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Here is a selection of comments made by Nevada public officials today following the announcement of the death of former state Sen. Bill Raggio:

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Bill Raggio. There are no words to describe his dedication to the state of Nevada and I wish to express my deepest condolences and prayers for his wife Dale, and his family. Bill was a true statesman who dedicated his life to making Nevada a better place to live. His legacy will be remembered for generations to come.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid: “He always fought for Nevada and his invaluable contributions and service to our state will live on.”

Former Sen. Bill Raggio. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera: “No one has ever loved this state more or had a more passionate desire to make things better for the people who live here. His ability to bring people together to get things done was legendary. At times, he may have been an adversary on a particular issue, but he was always a true leader, a teacher and a friend.”

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki: “He was a remarkable man, and I am honored to have been able to call him a mentor, a colleague and a friend. Bill was a true public servant and his sole agenda was simply to make Nevada a better place. He has left an unmatched political footprint upon our state, and the citizens will reap the rewards of this gifted and decent gentleman for many years to come.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley: “I was deeply saddened to learn of Bill Raggio’s passing. He was nothing short of a giant in Nevada politics and a fierce advocate for the state he loved, especially the north. His dedicated public service has improved the lives of thousands of Nevada families and his tireless work on higher education has left a permanent mark on this state.”

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto: “Bill was a great statesman whose political career began when he was elected as the Washoe County district attorney. He was a stellar prosecutor who valiantly protected the citizens of Northern Nevada. Bill will always be remembered for his impassioned service and dedication to the law enforcement community.”

Nevada Republican Party Chairman James Smack: “Today Nevada Republicans across the state mourn the loss of a great leader and the loss of an even greater friend. While it is a sad day for all Nevadans, it is only appropriate to remember the legacy and leadership he left behind for us to follow.”

The Nevada System of Higher Education: “Much will be said in the coming days and weeks about the lifetime of accomplishments of this giant of a man. However, for those of us in higher education, indeed the whole education community, we pause to thank this man who came from humble immigrant roots and rose to great power, in part by public education.”

Andy Matthews, president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute: “Those who have followed NPRI’s work over the years know that we have both agreed and disagreed with Mr. Raggio’s views on various policy issues. But there was never any doubt as to his love for Nevada and his commitment to making it a better place to live. For that, he will always have our respect and our admiration.”

The Nevada Senate Republican Caucus: “Sen. Raggio epitomized the term ‘public servant.’ As a district attorney and legislator, Sen. Raggio was committed to doing the right thing for the people of Nevada. He was a tireless advocate for higher education, believing that it was the gateway to a better life for any Nevadan. He will be missed greatly.”

Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Saitta: “Sen. Raggio was always a friend to the judiciary and often our champion. He clearly understood that a strong Nevada requires a strong and independent judicial branch of government. Sen. Raggio was an icon, a consummate statesman and one of the most knowledgeable and pragmatic legislators ever to serve the people of Nevada.”

Senate Secretary David Byerman:  “Today, the Nevada Senate has lost a paragon of eloquence. We will miss Sen. Raggio, but the Nevada Senate – an institution that Sen. Raggio loved – has been molded by his wit and wisdom forevermore.”

Legislators “Offended” and “Insulted” As They Make Symbolic Party-Line Vote Over Education Budget

By Andrew Doughman | 7:00 am April 20th, 2011

CARSON CITY – It was not until 30 minutes before midnight that a six-hour debate in the Assembly ended with a promise to talk more later.

After listening to presentations outlining more than $1 billion in “major reductions” to the K-12 budget, legislators debated their willingness to compromise or negotiate about Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed general fund budget.

“My caucus will be voting gov rec,” said Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, using an abbreviation for the governor’s recommended budget. “So you’re not going to get the wiggle room you’re looking for.”

In the end, all 16 Assembly Republicans voted in a symbolic motion to support a motion last night to pass Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommended budget. All 26 Assembly Democrats opposed the motion.

The Senate will debate the same budget in the same process today.

Republicans repeatedly said they want to see specific tax proposals as well as a reassurance that reforms they want will pass out of the Assembly as a trade for tax increases.

“Until we have the discussions about the reforms and the revenue package, we will continue to have a discussion about gov rec,” Goicoechea said.

Democrats stressed the need to debate specifics of the governor’s proposed education budget. Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said the Assembly needed to find common ground for an acceptable level of cuts before they could discuss additional revenues.

“We rarely change a lot … 10, 15, 20 percent of the budget,” he said.

He called the six-hour marathon hearing in the Assembly chambers a success.

“We got the temperature of where people are at,” he said. “It felt to me that we saw a few people who said we can look at a few things.”

Sprinkled throughout the hearing in Assembly chambers were instances of legislators calling each other “disingenuous” and saying they were “offended” and “insulted” with each other.

The verbal sniping came only hours after the Senate inducted former Sen. Bill Raggio into the Senate’s Hall of Fame. Raggio, a legislator who retired earlier this year, was a constant critic of the partisan hardening and lack of respect characteristic of 21st century political debate.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D- North Las Vegas, said Nevada’s Assembly was starting to look like D.C.

“If we want to have D.C. politics, here it is,” she said.

Both Democrats and Republicans did, however, say that the new process of having budget discussions involving all 42 Assembly members appealed to them more than having a few key legislators meet and make decisions in private.

But that does not make anybody more likely to agree.

“It looks like we’re going to be here for a very long haul,” said Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas.

Assemblyman Mark Sherwood, R-Las Vegas, called the whole hearing a “farce,” to which Kirkpatrick, retorted: “if you don’t respect the institution, don’t come back.”

As Wednesday morning drew close, Goicoechea said there’s “no doubt” everybody wants to find a solution.

“This is the beginning, this isn’t the end,” Smith said. “This was the first tough discussion we had … We can’t call each other disingenuous because we disagree. It’s not a farce. It’s not a train wreck.”

But by 11:30 p.m., the only unanimous motion was for the Assembly to retire for the night.


Debate Over State Budget ‘End Game’ Suggests Compromise Far Off

By Andrew Doughman | 7:38 pm April 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, wanted honesty about the Legislature’s budget “end game,” and he got it.

At a legislative town hall featuring 21 lobbyists, lawmakers and business leaders, the candid comments from panelists seemed to suggest a looming budget compromise is a fool’s hope.

“You’re not going to get a tax increase through this Senate,” said Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, one of the panelists. “You’re simply not going to get it.”

He clashed again with AFL-CIO lobbyist and co-panelist Danny Thompson. Now both men have said they are “offended” by what the other has said about collective bargaining. Roberson’s bill to change collective bargaining law died in committee last week.

Hickey gave each panelist about five minutes to speak, which was enough time for each panelist to repeat a few key talking points.

“It seemed business as usual,” said Jim Cooley, lobbyist for the Nevada Libertarian Party. “It was basically, ‘this is my pitch.’”

Each speaker brought his or her own expertise to the discussion. But the debate was framed by the needs and wants of each participant.

Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison called for education reforms paired with more funding than Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed in his general fund budget.

“We must improve education,” Morrison said. “Only by providing an educated workforce are businesses going to want to come to Nevada and stay in Nevada.”

Chuck Muth, conservative activist for Citizen Outreach, maintained his firm stance against new taxes.

“It is no longer sufficient to say that the government needs to do more with less,” Muth said. “It is time for us to start saying that the government needs to do less with less.”

Heidi Gansert, Sandoval’s chief of staff, did her best to put a new spin on the talking points representatives from the governor’s office have used to defend the budget since its January release.

“We recognize that there are some very difficult cuts,” Gansert said. “It’s time that we have to do that.”

Hickey organized the town hall meeting to bring a diverse crowd to one place to debate, as the title of the forum suggested, “the recession, revenues and Nevada’s recovery.” He said earlier that he wanted Nevada’s political players to put their “cards on the table.”

At least one lobbyist in the audience said he was discouraged that the cards the players revealed today were the same hands they were holding two months ago.

“I think it shows how firm both sides are in their positions, which means we probably are not playing for an end game in that first week of June,” said Paul Enos, a lobbyist for the Nevada Motor Transport Association.

Former Republican Sen. Randolph Townsend spoke at the event and channeled his colleague, former Republican Sen. Bill Raggio, in calling for more respect in the legislative debate.

“Deal only with the issue in front of you,” he said. “Don’t tie the issue to the person … the day you make it personal you lose … It’s a lot harder to become vitriolic when it’s somebody you know.”

Members of the public also joined by watching online or attending the town hall at the Legislature. Robert Stransbury, 64, is a retired teacher and Carson City resident who listened to the debate from the Legislature.

“I took away that there’s some very strong opinions on opposing sides,” he said. “I hope that they can agree and come together and get a budget.”

To that end, Townsend had some advice for the current legislators struggling to do more than cobble together a budget at the last minute.

“Once in awhile you have to walk out of the [legislative] building, breathe the clean air and try to get a different perspective, and right now that is what the building needs,” he said.

The 120-day legislative session is scheduled to end during the first week of June.


Sandoval Issues Executive Order To Review Commissions

By Andrew Doughman | 2:42 pm April 12th, 2011

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval has created a task force charged with reviewing executive branch advisory bodies.

The governor has asked three former state senators to identify, evaluate and recommend whether groups created by former governors or state agencies should continue.

“Advisory bodies were last reviewed in 1977, and some advisory bodies have outlived their original mission and no longer provide valuable service for the people of the state of Nevada,” Sandoval said.

Identifying and eliminating some of these groups could save the state money. So far, the governor’s office knows of 43 such bodies.

Bill Raggio, R-Reno, Bernice Mathews, D-Reno, and Ann O’Connell, R-Las Vegas are the three former Senators comprising the task force.

None of the former senators are taking compensation for doing this work. The governor’s staff will assist the three former legislators in their work.

The governor released an executive order creating the “Sunset Task Force” this morning.

The group will meet publicly three times, finish their work by June 30 of this year and submit a report to Sandoval by July 15 of this year, according to the executive order.

The governor’s group mirrors several bills moving through the Legislature that would review boards and commission created by statute.

Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, has worked with the governor’s staff to craft a bill that would identify and review boards that the Legislature created.

Smith said there are 160 to 180 commissions that the Legislature would review should the bill pass into law.

The governor’s executive order and the bill in the Legislature are complementary, but cannot overlap since each branch of government has separate powers.


Sen. Raggio Criticizes “Rigid Stance” On Taxes

By Andrew Doughman | 1:30 pm January 13th, 2011

Retiring Sen. Bill Raggio today criticized the governor’s “rigid stance” in holding fast to a promise not to raise taxes. While stopping short of saying he would support raising taxes, he did say that increases may be likely despite the governor’s pledges to the contrary.

“I think you have to be more flexible than just a rigid stance and, you know, say ‘we’re never going to do this or never going to do that,’” he said, speaking on Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers. “I think as a governor, as a legislator, you have to do what is necessary to provide essential services.”

The state senator, who announced his retirement earlier this year effective Jan. 15, further said that it’s not an answer to shift responsibilities to local governments because cities and counties will have to fund these new duties somehow.

“You know, that money has to come from taxes so somebody is going to have to pay it whether it’s at the state level or the local government level,” he said.

As far as solutions go, Raggio proposed addressing collective bargaining agreements at local levels to bring local government employee salaries closer to state employee salaries. The governor yesterday proposed that state employees take a five percent salary reduction.

Raggio said he’d already heard from some legislators that this is a matter likely to be addressed this session.

The senator may be able to speak more freely about the upcoming legislative session since he won’t have a direct stake in crafting the budget. Raggio announced Jan. 5 his resignation from the Legislature, ending a 38-year career in the state Senate.

He cited his slowing mobility as a the primary reason for his retirement.

Since he was in the middle of his term, the Washoe County Commission will decide who to appoint as Raggio’s replacement. The appointee must live within Washoe Senate District 3 and be a registered Republican.

Raggio, however, has asked the commission to choose a replacement who shares his political views and will work with Democrats.

Reno mayor Bob Cashell, Washoe County Commissioner John Breternitz and Raggio’s one-time antagonist, Sharron Angle, have all said they will not seek Raggio’s seat.

Qualified people interested in having the commissioners consider them for the position need to submit letters of interest to the county manager by 5 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 14. The selection will be streamed here, starting at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Whoever the appointee, he or she will report to the Legislature Feb. 7 for the first day of the 120-day session, and will start off, as any freshman legislator would, as a “back-bencher.”