Monday, March 18, 2013

On Loss & Change @ #NVLeg

This morning, we learned some saddening news. Former Assembly Member John Marvel (R-Battle Mountain) passed away on Saturday. So who was John Marvel? Here's a quick summary.

John W. Marvel, a stalwart in the Nevada Assembly for 30 years and on other government boards, has died at the age of 86.

A cattle rancher from Battle Mountain, he was a member of the Assembly from 1978 to 2008, was minority floor leader in 1993 and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that help shape the state budget. [...]

Gov. Brian Sandoval said, “John Marvel was a friend and mentor to me when I served with him in the Legislature. A son of Battle Mountain, John was a fierce advocate for rural issues and a leader in the Legislature. Nevada is stronger because of John’s service and I extend my condolences to John’s wife, Willie, and his children.”

During his career in public service, Marvel served on the Lander County Commission, as a member of the Advisory Public Lands Review Committee, as chairman of the Nevada Tax Commission and as a member of the state Ethics Commission.

And here's an interesting fact. Marvel was considered to be a solidly conservative Republican. He generally favored a limited public sector and less regulation. Yet towards the end of his career in the Nevada Legislature, Marvel became known for something different... And something that many "tea party" agitators claim automatically disqualifies a politician from calling oneself a conservative.

So what did Marvel do that would now be considered so shocking for a Republican to do? Oh, he voted for the 2003 tax deal. Oh, the horrors! He voted for the 2003 tax package that "Tax-n-spend LIB'RUL!!!" (Republican) Mark Amodei introduced as an alternative to "SOE'SHUL-IST!!!" (Republican) Governor Kenny Guinn's tax reform plan.

I'm sorry, but in light of today's news, I can't help but notice how much "standard operating procedure" has changed in Carson City. Just a decade ago, Republicans offered alternative tax plans to other Republicans' more visionary tax reform plans. But now, Republicans are pilloried for even mentioning "The T Word".

Of course, it's not as if this was a completely foreign concept in 2003. After all, John Marvel and a few other Assembly Republicans had to struggle to break the logjam created by "The Mean 15". Yet back then, they were considered "too radical for their own party's good". Now, however, they run the Nevada Republican Party and try to marginalize those willing to talk revenue.

I can't help but think of how much Carson City has changed in the last decade. Just over a year ago, I was pondering the same thing with the loss of longtime Senator Bill Raggio (R-Reno). And of course, we really had to think long & hard after the loss of Kenny Guinn in 2010. While "The Great Bipartisan Consensus" of past years was far from perfect or progressive, it at least allowed the state to function. What do we have today?

Think about that.

No comments:

Post a Comment