The end of 2018 is nearing and with it comes the culmination of Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen’s eight years in office. It will be a major shift in his life but Schinhofen said he will carry many happy memories from his time on the board and he is looking to the future with optimism.
“I was surprised both times I was elected, I really was. And I did the job. I believe I acquitted myself, as well as I could. I just couldn’t act like a politician. I couldn’t just tell people what they wanted to hear, I told them what I thought was right and I voted based on law, on facts, not on who my friends were or my enemies were, who I did and didn’t like. I was happy to be able to make some, I believe, positive changes… Like I said the other day, it’s an honor to serve. And at times it was horrific,” Schinhofen said with a wry chuckle during his farewell interview, “but that’s part of the job.”
Schinhofen’s initial start with county government began at the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission level, where he spent two years before earning a seat on the commission. He said he originally ran for commissioner because he was asked by others in the community and he was glad to have been in office during the particular years that he was.
“I am happy I was able to get done the things I did get done, like the fireworks shooter site, a lot of roads, working with the raceway, saving Lakeview golf course, moving the conversation at least on Yucca Mountain, to where they are not ignoring the rural counties, they mention us now. There is a little pride in that, I am happy I was there at that time,” Schinhofen said.
It was much the same with the introduction of a whole new segment to the county, marijuana, a process which Schinhofen took part in as the industry unfolded.
“It was good I was in office at that time because I was able to work with Darrell. And now there are 300 jobs here that weren’t here before! A commissioner’s job, or part of it, is championing projects. If you do not shepherd a project, it might languish… It’s just that there are so many things to do and keep track of, reminders are important and I was good at that. I am persistent.”
On the taxation front, Schinhofen remarked that he understands that taxes are not popular but he also understood that they were sometimes necessary. Of the taxes he did vote in favor of, he said all were unanimously approved, honing in specifically on the gas tax the commission voted to raise by five cents per gallon at the end of 2015.
“I knew that we had the gas tax languishing for years because nobody wants to say that they voted for a tax. But that gave us Homestead Road from Gamebird down to Thousandaire, it gave us Pahrump Valley Boulevard, it gave us roads in Amargosa, in Beatty. It gave us another $1.5 million per year to get our roads up to speed,” he emphasized.
While there were plenty of accomplishments to remember, Schinhofen said it was the relationships he has built that are his most cherished experiences. “If I had never run for office, I would have never met some really great people, like Oz and Lorinda Wichman, Joni Eastley, Darrell Lacy and many others. The veterans, it has been a pleasure to work with all of the veterans’ groups. Greg Cardarelli, the current commander of the DAV, he has become a good friend. That’s what I will treasure, that I was able to meet those people and do those things.”
To the future
“The day after the primary I got calls from three different companies offering me employment,” Schinhofen detailed when asked where the future might take him now. Though he was not quite ready to reveal the options he was considering, he said he was in the process of deciding his path and was hoping to announce his future career plans sometime early next year.
A new occupation does not mean he will be stepping entirely away from the community however, with Schinhofen noting, “But I will still be around, I am still going to be a part of the community. I may be working for a couple of industries to help keep them apprised of whatever is going on. Going forward, I may still be involved at a few meetings but only when I have business. I won’t be sitting in the audience having to comment on every item.
“This is my town and my county. Any way that I can help the new board members navigate the bureaucracy and the laws and how the system works, help them over that learning curve, I will do,” Schinhofen continued. “I am happy to work with the future board. I have been in conversations with Leo Blundo quite often and would be happy to work with the other board members as well.”
As for activities outside of work, Schinhofen said he is going to take some time to focus on one of the things he loves most in life, a creative outlet that he has embraced, music.
“I am going to spend a lot of time doing music. I am working on a second album already,” Schinhofen explained. His first album contains eight songs, a majority of which were written following the election this year and he has a further 12 for his newest contribution to the world of song and melody. “And then I’ll just be doing a lot of other blues, folk rock, country, I am kind of eclectic that way. That’s my plan.”
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org