The gamut of issues in Nye County Commission District III were on display at Friday’s commission race debate, where each Republican candidate pushed their vision for the district’s and county’s most nagging problems.
Incumbent commissioner Donna Cox, Pahrump businessman Leo Blundo, Nye County Water District Governing Board Chairman Greg Dann and Pahrump residents Louie DeCanio and Antheny Dodd sparred on business, growth density, water and other issues that face the district.
The primary election is on June 14. Since there in no Democrat or third-party candidate for the seat, the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary will be elected.
Cox, who is running for her second term, talked about her accomplishments as a commissioner, as she tried to distinguish herself from the four other candidates.
Cox said she was a “true conservative” and enjoyed being in Pahrump.
“I enjoy what I do, I think I was born to be here,” she said.
“I have saved tons of money by helping to do away with the town board and I also stay here for my people,” she said, referring to her declining to travel to Tonopah once a month for the commission meeting, instead participating from the commission chambers in Pahrump
Blundo highlighted his vision for Pahrump and Nye County, talking about business and the rural roots of Pahrump.
“I’m vested here,” he said about Pahrump.
Dann talked about moving to Nevada 30 years ago for a job at the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site. He said as a pipefitter, he worked as a “problem solver.”
“I was immediately recognized as the type of guy who gets the problems solved,” he said.
Dodd said in the position of a commissioner, one needs to take care of people.
“That’s what I like, taking care of the people,” he said.
DeCanio, who previously operated a bar business in Chicago, touted his “survivor skills.”
“I’m not happy with the way things are being run,” he said.
During the debate, Dann said water was his main priority. While his opponents talked about the need of bringing businesses to Pahrump, Dann said he puts water above other issues. Additionally, Dann said he wants to see implementation of rules in ordinances. He suggested hiring a code compliance officer.
“If we don’t have enough water and don’t properly allocate it, no one is going to come here. Money will find its way. Let’s take care of now,” he said.
“This water thing is far from being solved, far. That’s why I’m running for county commission,” he said.
Dodd, meanwhile said Pahrump needs “real jobs:”
“That’s just one issue, we’ve got myriad of others.”
At the debate, DeCanio talked about his opposition to the appointment of Beatty Justice of the Peace Gus Sullivan to the Pahrump Justice Court. He stated the decision took the opportunity to have a say away for Pahrump voters.
Cox highlighted her involvement in animal control issues and the work with the Nye County Animal Shelter and wild horses. She also said water “is a very big issue.”
“It’s either going to create or prevent growth,” she said.
Blundo criticized the five-cent gas tax that was passed by Nye County commissioners last October. He was echoed by DeCanio who said that “raising taxes shouldn’t be a solution, it should be a last resort.”
Candidates also told the audience about how they would allocate the county’s money.
Blundo said he would invest in education and veterans services, Dodd said there’s a lack of things for kids to do in Pahrump Valley and Dann said he would invest in public safety.
Candidates also voiced their opinions on high-density projects stating that she supports low-density projects.
“I believe that we do need development and growth, just not the high density,” she said.
“I’m a proponent of the rural lifestyle, and I think the majority of people in this town are,” Blundo said.
Blundo said Nye County commissioners should look at balance.
The District III race has been the most contentious so far, as incumbent Cox faces four opponents in a district that has a heavy concentration of businesses along Highway 160 and Nevada State Route 372. Cox has previously said that the role of bringing businesses is on the shoulders of the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce and other entities.
Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at email@example.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77