Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kelli Ross Jumps Into SD 18. Who's Angered More by This?

Buoyed by improving poll numbers for President Obama and the Democratic Party nationally, as well as a ton of bad news for Michael Roberson and his Senate Republican Caucus closer to home, Nevada Democrats are feeling more upbeat lately about the upcoming election and what it will do to change the balance of power in Carson City. Now it feels like we may be approaching "The Perfect Storm". Senate District 18 hadn't really been on the top of pundits' lists of hot #NVLeg races, mainly because of its recent voting record... But this may cause that to change immediately.

I was educated in Las Vegas public schools, and I met my husband Steve in the 3rd grade. I spent 20 years in the casino industry, working in various management positions in advertising and marketing. Then in 1998, my family took our own shot at the "American Dream," opening a small family owned electrical contracting company that created good-paying jobs with benefits.

But like hundreds of other Las Vegas businesses, our family business, our employees and their dreams were shattered by the worst recession in half a century. But seeing the business closed never stopped me and my family from giving back to the community.

My credentials as a community advocate are extensive. I coached little league baseball, served as a scout leader, and I'm an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and have been a mentor/leader to young women.

As a businesswoman, I'm the Past Nevada Chairwoman of the Women Business Enterprise Council, former member of the Southern Nevada Chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association, and have also been a member of the Better Business Bureau.

I'm running for State Senate District 18 because it is time we had someone who will stand up to the partisan bickering and fight to get things done. I've owned a small business. I understand the challenges of this economy and my family has been hit hard like most Las Vegans. I know first-hand the difficulties that job creators are facing in this difficult economy. And as a mother and grandmother, I know the importance of a first class public education system, to prepare our residents for the jobs of tomorrow, and to grow and diversify our economy. A family woman and a business woman, I've learned the art of balancing priorities and getting things done.

Oh, yes. That's right. Kelli Ross, wife of current Las Vegas Ward 6 Council Member Steve Ross (who just survived his own recall election earlier this month), is now jumping into the political world herself and running as a Democrat in SD 18.

Now one would think Democrats would get quite excited about this development. After all, this forces Republicans to play defense in yet another district that they had been counting on winning. Now that the vacant SD 9 seat in the southwestern Las Vegas suburbs leans Democratic after redistricting, and now that Sheila Leslie and Greg Brower will be duking it out in the new SD 15 seat in western Reno, Republicans will have much more of an uphill battle in their effort to retake the Senate.

So why did "Mr. Gleaner" rip into a tirade against Kelli Ross on his new KSNV (Vegas NBC) show today? Take another look at that R-J article I linked to above. Kelli Ross called herself "very conservative" and "not partisan". And considering her husband's tendency to embrace extreme anti-equality bigots, show a frightening lack of knowledge on the big issues of the day, and not even try to show interest in smart local policy, some progressives are already afraid of how similar Kelli may be to Steve.

So obviously, a lot of folks already have a whole lot of questions about this new development in SD 18. What will Kelli Ross say about our broken tax code? How will she approach matters of investment in public education? Will she be more open to Southern Nevada's LGBTQ community? And can she juggle all of this while still managing to defeat Scott Hammond or Richard MacArthur in the general election?

Honestly, I'm still trying to make sense of all of this myself. On one hand, I actually am excited that Roberson & Co. will be forced to play defense in yet another district that they wrongly assumed would be a "gimme". And come on, would a "Majority Leader Michael Roberson" be beneficial to pro-equality efforts, progressive tax reform, or investment in our public infrastructure in any way, shape, or form?

However, I can't simply dismiss genuine policy concerns about Ross just because of partisan interests. Yes, more Democrats in Carson City may be helpful... But so will better Democrats. And considering the Ross' recent history, there may be plenty of reasons to doubt whether Ross will be able to stand with progressives on any of our major policy priorities. So perhaps we'll just have to see how the SD 18 race develops... And whether progressive voters in Northwest Las Vegas will have to hold their noses to improve the situation in Carson City.


  1. So, OK. From her announcement, I see nothing that tells me why she's a registered Democrat. Those are the questions I'd like to ask. Some moderate/LDS legislators, I get it. They see it from the social justice/equal opportunity perspective. However, to come out because she's about reducing regulation and finding common sense solutions is talking a lot but saying nothing.

    This will be an interesting one.

  2. I live up in the area and had never seen Kelli at very many events. I wish that with her credentials she had filed for school board which would be a race I could support her in (which is open in that part of the valley) rather than all the way to state senate first shot out. We really need a democrat on the school board with her background.

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