Sunday, April 11, 2010
The Long Awaited Henderson Democratic Club Lieutenant Governor Debate!
So how was that Lieutenant Governor candidates' debate? Well, I'm about to answer this and some more questions you may have about the Henderson Democratic Club's debate on Wednesday. We had four Democratic candidates come by to visit and take questions: Paul Murad, Jessica Sferrazza, Robert Randazzo, and Bob Goodman. Clark County Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange moderated.
The debate started with opening statements. Bob Goodman began by describing his work on the Nevada Tourism Commission in the 1970s and 1980s, and the progress he mad on the economic front with Governor Mike O'Callaghan. Paul Murad was next, opening by declaring, "I'm ready to serve on Day One!" He then went into a little bio of him as a small business owner in Las Vegas, and his call to "keep the job local". Robert Randazzo then tried to "one-up" that, saying that "ordinary Nevadans like me should get more involved" as he was describing his private sector accomplishments in Reno. And finally, Jessica Sferrazza declared, "I'm proud to be a lifelong Democrat!", and said how experience in local government in Reno prepared her for the job.
And from there, it was on to questions. You can take a look at the Stonewall Twitter page to see all the details of what was asked. I'll shake it up this time by just cutting to the chase with each of the candidates and what they said.
They all claimed records of achievement. However, Murad and Randazzo highlighted their business careers while Sferrazza and Goodman noted their track record in public service. (Sferrazza serves on the Reno City Council, while Goodman was appointed to the Tourism and Economic Development Commissions by Gov. Mike O'Callaghan.) Sferrazza said that "now is not the time for on the job training in this economic crisis",
All of them talked about the need for more renewable energy development in Nevada, and all touted their respective records. Sferrazza spearheaded the "clean energy bonds" that have funded a number of green projects in Reno, and said she would like to make this program statewide. Murad mentioned that he actually drives a Prius, and that he's already been working on green projects in the private sector. Randazzo highlighted his plans to recruit more renewable energy projects for the state, and then create a private fund to collect clean energy royalties and create tax free money for people to use for education and health care.
All of them talked about tourism and expanding our entertainment industry, but each of the candidates had a slightly different take on what to actually do to make it happen. Goodman talked about his experience with Gov. O'Callaghan in the 1970s in working to bring TV show production to Nevada. Murad mentioned his experience in bringing New York and LA professionals to Vegas, so he said that means he has what it takes to lure the film industry to Nevada. Sferrazza, meanwhile, mentioned that she's already worked in Reno to bring more TV and film crews to Reno. Randazzo then said, "Our support of the movie industry must start from the ground up", and promised that he would have a direct line to TV and film professionals, and that he would use these contacts to bring them here to Nevada.
The candidates also went at it on tourism. Sferrazza thanked Senator Harry Reid for the Tourism Promotion Act, and discussed her experience in Reno in bringing major events to town, getting the Reno Aces' Stadium built, and bringing more national conventions to Reno. Randazzo talked about his experience in selling airline tickets, and that he's especially prepared to increase Nevada tourism. Murad talked about high speed rail and brining the Winter Olympics to Reno and Tahoe.
And then, the inevitable... The question on North vs. South. Doesn't the North get more money than the South? Doesn't the South need more help on economic diversification than the South? Goodman proclaimed that "everyone has to work together, or no one will succeed". Sferrazza then proclaimed that "we are one Nevada", and talked about her work with the Nevada League of Cities to fight state raids of local budgets and her work with Senator Reid to secure $22 million in foreclosure relief funds for Reno. Murad, on the other hand, blurted out that "there is a North/South divide", but then said that he's neither a Southern or Northern candidate and that he's work hard for all parts of Nevada.
Toward the end, the candidates had a chance to talk more about their backgrounds. Rendazzo started off cleaning toilets for United Airlines, then began selling tickets for United, and now runs a software company in the Reno area... And is still a union member, and he talked about how he thinks about his employees every day when making business decisions. Murad talked about growing up in the former Soviet Union, emigrating to America, and not letting his "rags to riches" story get the best of him... He's still giving back to the community today. Goodman described his humble beginnings as a truck driver, all the way to serving Gov. O'Callaghan and moving on to the private sector.
And finally, there was a question of what one would first do upon taking office. Goodman said he wants to "fire all the cronies" and only hire competent professionals. Randazzo said he wanted to start immediately on redirecting sales tax revenue to fund needed public works projects. Sferrazza said she wanted to start working immediately on bringing more renewable energy projects to Nevada. Murad said he wanted to start on his "50/50 plan" to recruit the 50 top domestic companies and 50 top international companies to do business in Nevada.
So what attacks were thrown out? Honestly, it didn't get too bad. Sferrazza just threw something out about Nevada needing a Lieutenant Governor who didn't need "on the job training", and Murad said he wasn't a "career politician". And other than that, Goodman just seemed to laugh all of it off as he kept reminding us that he was around when the other candidates were still in elementary school.
So who won? And who lost? I'll let you decide. And again, please check my Twitter notes to see all that was said. And whomever wins the primary, he or she will be far better at the job than "Krooklicki" is now.