Nevada’s Black Elected Officials Speak
During the November election, Nevada voters gave a number of African-American political veterans — and some newcomers — opportunities to serve in elected office. Las Vegas Black Image asked them to detail how they plan to use their positions to positively impact the black community.
‘How will your new political term positively impact Las Vegas’ black community?’
Assemblywoman Dina Neal
representing District 7
“I am still inspired to try to find legal remedies that would alleviate the systemic issues affecting minority communities, and I will be working on a couple of bills that address some of those economic and social issues. Furthermore, I have projects that are not bill drafts: ongoing work to reduce teen pregnancy in our community, and an upcoming initiative working on re-entry for prisoners.”
United States Congressman
Steven Horsford representing District 4
“I was born here and grew up in West Las Vegas, and I led a job training program in North Las Vegas. Understanding the needs of the community is the first step to serving any constituency, and I bring the perspective of our community to Congress. We will have a responsive and easily accessible district office for those who need assistance or direction with government services. I will fight to bring good-paying jobs to our district, to fund our schools, and to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare for our parents and grandparents. During the campaign, I promised to be accessible and available to my constituents. I am going to keep that promise and, as the first African-American elected to Congress from Nevada, I look forward to being a strong voice for all of us in Washington.”
Assemblyman William Horne
representing District 34
“I feel privileged to be re-elected as the assemblyman for District 34. I’m also honored to have been named majority leader of the Nevada Assembly, the first African-American to serve in the post. Having grown up in Las Vegas, I am fully vested not only in the future of our valley, but in the future of Nevada. I hope that my experience in the Nevada legislature and my new leadership position will supplement the efforts of legislators Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, Sen. Patricia Spearman and Assemblywoman Dina Neal. I also believe all of us stand ready to assist County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly and City Councilman Ricki Barlow. I have faith that all of us working together will have a positive effect on moving our community forward.”
State Senator Kelvin Atkinson
representing District 4
“Being elected state senator is truly an honor. Having the opportunity to serve our black community made the victory that much more rewarding.
I have been blessed to have served the past 10 years as a state assemblyman from North Las Vegas, but now I can make a difference for my own people and help them to effect change. As I have campaigned this past year, knocking on thousands of doors in Senate District 4, I have heard about many of the challenges facing the historic Westside of Las Vegas. There are many things that can be worked on immediately, and others that will take some time. There is no doubt that promoting the Westside in a positive light will go a long way toward convincing small businesses to move here and do business in the community.
I have been blessed in my political career. I have also grown a lot. I have gained a lot of legislative and leadership experience, having chaired the Transportation and Commerce and Labor committees in prior legislative sessions. I will bring that experience, which will be very valuable, to the black community.
Just last week, I was appointed chairman of the Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee, and I was also appointed vice chair of the Transportation Committee for the upcoming 2013 legislative session in the Nevada State Senate. It is truly an honor to be named to these top positions, and I will take them very seriously and use the opportunities to help bring about change for Senate District 4. I look forward to working on policy decisions with stakeholders in the community, to make a difference never seen before. I want to grow a community where our people and small businesses thrive.”
Commissioner Lawrence Weekly representing District D
Health care will be one of my main focuses this term as county commissioner. As Obamacare moves forward and goes into effect, one of the things I will look to do is help sponsor a resolution urging the governor to help expand Medicare — so that more people in the African-American community, particularly our elderly, will benefit. This would help those elderly who need expanded services, and those who are caretakers of their grandchildren, be able to afford health care. I think this is extremely important. I will also continue to focus on the work our Clark County Business Development Education Program is doing. Working along with Tom Akers and Associates, we have been very successful starting up new businesses and providing the education that is needed. I will continue to be part of the adoption and foster care program, to see 400 children a year adopted into healthy homes.
State Senator Aaron Ford
representing District 12
“As state senator for District 11, I will give further voice to those issues that affect and are important to the African-American community. Indeed, I will be inclusive in my outreach to all communities — including the African-American community — by, for example, ensuring that media outlets that serve historically underrepresented communities are given opportunities to learn about, and report on, what happens in Carson City. In this way, I hope to give those who deeply care about our state an opportunity to be included in the policymaking discussions that affect our communities.”