The VFW hosted a meet and greet with 2016 ballot candidates, as they were introduced to the audience and given a few moments to present an overview of themselves. Surrounding by flags and a patriotic setting each candidate stayed following the presentation to answer questions and shake hands with those in attendance.
Thomas Sawyer, running for the U.S. Senate, traveled from Las Vegas to attend. Wearing a black hat, he expressed his stance as a conservative, with an Army background and 42 year career with the railroad industry. His emphasis was to get the federal government out of education, balance the budget, make the Supreme Court use the Constitution as it is written and he supported the second amendment as long as people know how to safely use a gun and store it properly.
Carol Del Carlo returned to Hawthorne a second time to present her run for the Board of Regents. As a product of the Nevada school systems, her run is spurred on by the rural counties which need to create an environment for skilled careers which align with economic development and a stronger workforce. She expressed herself as a collaborative person with fresh eyes and a strong voice.
Cheryl La France followed with her run for the Board of Regents stating that she adopted Nevada as home, after running a successful software company for 23 years. Her emphasis was on growing a family business, which correlates to higher education and learning to use money wisely. After serving on various boards and familiarizing with academic curriculum, economic development and workforce issues, she acknowledged the need for regional reviews. An alignment with colleges and education combined with work force development will be a key issue for Nevada.
Mark Auburn was not present but left flyers regarding his campaign. Richard Bryant sent his regrets as he had a family emergency.
Chris Hegg running for the Mineral County Commissioner grew up in Luning. A volunteer fire fighter, he worked at the local military base in various capacities; held a position in budgets for the school district and was a grant writer creating a million and a half to help the district over five years. With a family business, Peppers Place and a successful barbecue sauce and dry rub business which recently went international, he would like to develop more warehouse businesses here. His issues were to preserve Walker Lake, stop the land grabs, bring in business and support the schools, especially with the School Bond currently at hand.
Paul MacBeth, current Commissioner running on the ballot, surprised the attendees when he announced his withdrawal as a candidate, sighting health issues. He spoke about owning businesses and feeling that he could step into a county commissioner position easily, but that was not the case. MacBeth stated, “Business is not government and government is not business. There is a learning curve and after four years of balancing budgets I can honestly say it wasn’t easy – it can be hard.” MacBeth challenged everyone that the face of Nevada is about to change from Reno to Las Vegas. MacBeth shared that it will be all about jobs, preparation to be a good worker and it is what the concentrated is on and should be the emphasis within our schools too.
Garth Price, also a commissioner candidate, introduced himself as locally grown and concerned about the area. He expressed the need to support our school system, continue the efforts regarding saving Walker Lake, lower the dump fees and support new ideas. Price expressed that he is willing to listen and learn, but is not easily persuaded. He stressed that he makes up his own mind using the facts and would do his best for this county.
Chris Nepper completed the evening by applauding his staff and the many things that have been accomplished since he stepped in as county clerk. Nepper stated there are more positive changes to come and thanked everyone for their continued support.