By Mark Waite
Delmar Leatham, of Logandale, one of five candidates running for Nevada District 36 assemblyman, is retiring as manager of the Overton Power District after 34 years to seek the position.
Leatham visited a candidates’ debate at the Maverick Saloon and Dance Hall recently.
“The thing I heard about Pahrump, everybody here has a dog, a gun and a fence, you don’t want to cross any of them,” said the witty Leatham. “Having a fence to secure your privacy, that’s a good thing. I’m strong into the Second Amendment to protect your rights and your privacy. The thing about owning a dog, they’re unconditional love. So those are good qualities.”
But he feels Overton and Pahrump have some things in common, smaller communities with Las Vegas in between.
“I’ve lobbied for 20 years at the Legislature, I’ve got some time and experience, I ought to put it to good use, try to repay the people and the state for the support they’ve given me over the years,” Leatham said.
As manager of Overton Power, a state general improvement district, Leatham said he managed a budget of $35 million to $40 million and 55 employees, He also held leadership positions in the Logandale community as chairman of the town board, volunteer fireman, volunteer ambulance driver and a member of the zoning task force.
When asked about what issues would be of most importance in the 2013 state Legislature, Leatham said: “Obviously the state budget and education. I think some of the things that get overlooked in the state are the BLM land ownership issues. I think they should make those lands available to citizens of Nevada.”
Leatham said he doesn’t know why ranchers, sportsmen, miners and others can’t acquire pieces of land and pay taxes to the state. He’d like to see more land transferred to private hands in Nevada, but admits that’s a federal issue.
“From an education standpoint, I think we need to move away from brick and mortar, we’re in an electronic age. When my grand- dad went to school, they wrote with chalk on slates. They gave my dad a pencil, I used a typewriter and my kids have every electronic device you can think of and I think that educational transition needs to be integrated,” Leatham said.
He thinks the community college program needs to be expanded into good training programs for the workforce.
“Education is the future of Nevada. We’d like to broaden the tax base on a lot of things like that. At the end of the day, we need an educated work force to attract businesses to Nevada,” Leatham said.
He said there’s been a shift in the “fair share” of spending for programs from northern to southern Nevada. But he said rural communities are still being left out.
“I think they drive right through our communities with their fair share. I would like to see a more realistic sharing of these revenues with the rural communities,” Leatham said.
Other candidates for the state assembly district 36 position include Walt Grudzinski, James Oscarson, Nathan “Nate” Schlumpf and Anthony Wernicke. All but Wernicke are Republicans. They will replace Ed Goedhart, R-Pahrump, who decided not to seek re-election.