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New faces in Las Vegas politics

March 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Cover Story, Feature

by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud


With the business of politics now taking its customary place at center stage in this election year, there is no shortage of new blood on the local scene — men and women determined to change the face of government. Here, three newcomers to Las Vegas politics explain, in their own words, why they possess the integrity, consciousness, knowledge and focus to represent our community.

PHUNG JEFFERSON, candidate for Clark County District Court Judge, Department 5
I am a practicing Nevada attorney at my own law firm, the Law Offices of Phung H. Jefferson, Esq. — focusing on the areas of family law, criminal law and personal injury. I was raised in Las Vegas since 1982, when my father was transferred to Nellis Air force Base. I graduated from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and went to Western State Law School in Fullerton, Calif. My primary reason for running for office is to give back to the community that has supported my legal practice over the years.  As the elected district court judge, I will weigh all issues put before me with fairness and apply the laws equally to everybody who would appear in my courtroom. What makes me unique from other candidates is that I am a lifelong resident of Las Vegas. I have two children, and my family has done a lot of work to improve the community. My background is very diverse — focusing on different areas of law over the last 10 years. I have appeared before the Nevada’s Supreme Court and argued a case on behalf of a client, who was a union member employed in the construction industry, on a pro bono basis. If elected to the seat of Clark County district court judge, my first order of business will be to work on getting the system in the courtroom to work in a cohesive manner. I will work to get cases done efficiently, and allow anyone who comes into my courtroom the opportunity to be heard. I will be fair in applying the law. My job, if elected, will be to make sure that all parties in my courtroom are afforded their constitutional rights. I will be the first African-American woman in District Court if elected. My election is Nov. 6, and I have no primary because there are only two candidates running for the seat. For more information, go to


DAVID LEE WALLACE JR., candidate for Nevada State Senate, District 4.
As a native of Las Vegas since I was 4-years-old, I am proud to announce my candidacy for Nevada State Senator in District 4, (the post) previously held by State Sen. Steven Horsford. I am currently the manager of the Youth Parole Bureau for the state of Nevada. I have always had a focus on youth and family, which is my political platform. Everything starts with the family, and everything ends with the family. All that is done affects our youth today — and tomorrow. Nevada is No. 1 for all the wrong reasons. We are No. 1 in teenage pregnancies, teenage suicides and high school dropouts. Looking at the prison system and crime, it is all connected. We can fix the family and put a focus on the youth. This will result in positively affecting the state’s economy, because no one wants to move to a state that is not viable to raise and educate a family. I believe in the pursuit of happiness and the American dream, and would be honored to have the opportunity to improve our community. My concentration is on the family and also the people. We need a voice for the people, from the people — that is the purpose of government. It was said many years ago that …the purpose of government is to meet the needs and serve the needs of the people, and to accomplish the things they can’t do by themselves. The uniqueness that I bring to the State Senate position is keeping it real and having integrity in what I do. I am not for sale and I am not a politician. I want to bring about better change for the people. I want to focus on job creation and helping to support small businesses. If elected, my first order of business is to address the system. At this point it is really going to boil down to two things: either support the system or support the people. We obviously need to make a systemic change in the way we do business here in Nevada. It is not business as usual. The election date is June 12, and I hope everyone gets out to vote. My dad, David Lee Wallace Sr., is my superhero — he has always put God, the needs of his family and his country first. I was always taught to respect women and my mother, Joyce Best Wallace, is the queen of my life. I am just a regular family man, father of four children trying to make a positive difference for all — and hoping that the community gives me that opportunity. For more information, go to

AARON D. FORD, candidate for Nevada State Senate, District 11
My name is Dr. Aaron D. Ford. I am a business litigator and partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP.  I am running for Nevada State Senate in District 11, which is bordered by Desert Inn Road  on the north, Robindale Road to the south, Interstate 15 to the east, and Durango Drive on the west.

The good thing about telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said the first time.  I first ran for office in 2010. The reasons I decided to run for state senator then are the same reasons that I am running in District 11 now. In this regard, my platform focuses on three major issues: education, the economy and Nevada’s energy opportunities.

In terms of education, I believe that one of the problems is that we sometimes think there is a silver bullet that will rectify all issues. Funding, for example, is often considered the panacea for education. As a former educator, I certainly understand the importance of funding. But I also know it will take more than money to correct all the issues in the school system. We must also focus on student accountability, parental accountability and teacher accountability. I look forward to bringing my academic experience–including two master’s and a Ph.D. in education–and professional background to the State Senate to help address our educational ills.

In terms of the economy, I believe that we must first recognize that the economy and our educational system are inextricably intertwined. That is, we won’t be able to help grow current businesses in, or attract new businesses to, Nevada unless our educational system is producing the caliber of worker needed to fill the positions we asking businesses to create. I will support laws to encourage and enable businesses to do just that, all the while working to make our educational system better.

Finally, I believe that we should capitalize on Nevada’s vast natural resources and continue developing green energy. This would include further development and exploration of geothermal, wind and solar energy, which will help bring much-needed jobs to Nevada.

I have lived in Nevada for a total of eight years, and my three children inspire me to make sure that they get a good education and are able to provide for their own families one day. I believe that the best way for me to do that is to attempt to work inside the political arena to effect positive change for my children and for all Nevada residents. I look forward to the primary on June 12. If I am blessed to win the primary, I will be able to move on to the general election on Nov. 6. Residents can help me accomplish this by volunteering, donating and, most importantly, voting.
There would be no way to do what I am trying to do without the support of my loving wife and fellow attorney, Berna Rhodes-Ford of Rhodes-Ford & Associates, P.C. I thank her and our children for my inspiration. For more information, go to


One Response to “New faces in Las Vegas politics”
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