Local GOP leader Blundo seeks spot on commission

Editor’s note: The Pahrump Valley Times will be running articles on all the candidates seeking a Nye County Commission seat, and candidates from other races.

Leo Blundo, chairman of the Nye County Republican Central Committee, wants to bring his local business experience to the county commission after operating a restaurant for eight years.

Blundo, who owns Carmelo’s Bistro, called himself “a community guy.”

In an interview with the Pahrump Valley Times, Blundo named Basin 162 water rights and the Nye County budget deficit his top priorities.

He called for making effective cuts to the budget and prioritizing things “that are important” to the community.

“Ask yourself this question, if you were a lender, would you lend Nye County money?” he asked.

“So we have to change not only the perception, but the hard facts. We have been consistently in debt in this county and we need to change that, we need to make a difference there,” he said.

Blundo is on the ballot with four other candidates in Nye County Commission District 3 primary. The district contains a large amount of the area’s retail commerce, running along Highway 160 from Bell Vista Avenue in the north to Winery Road. It also includes the north side of Highway 372 west to Barney Street.

If elected, Blundo said he isn’t looking to bring just businesses that have jobs, but businesses that have careers attached to them.

“Yes, you need to bring jobs, but I’m looking (for) long-term solutions — careers, because careers mean people will stay here, your kids will stay here, your great-grandkids,” said Blundo, who unsuccessfully ran for the county assessor office in 2014, finishing third. “It’s a cycle that will continue to build on itself.”

“Right now, we are the biggest exporter of our children, that’s what Pahrump is and I think we need to change that,” he said.

Blundo said he also doesn’t support the countywide 5-cent gas tax increase that was approved by Nye County commissioners in October.

“I know raising a tax is the last thing on any list. … I believe in exhausting every possible option going through a budget, reviewing different sources of revenue,” he said.

“But if you are going to raise taxes, you don’t do it on a board, you put it to a vote of the people,” he added.

At the recent grassroots Nye County Commission Candidates’ Forum, Blundo was one of many candidates who voted for preserving the rural lifestyle in Pahrump.

Blundo said Pahrump has a unique climate that accommodates rural lifestyle with ranches against mountainsides and a Las Vegas-esque feel at Mountain Falls.

“We have such a beautiful town, there’s nothing really here to change,” he said. “We accommodate both sides of the equation, let’s bring everybody to the table and move the county business forward. Business of the people.”

As part of his campaign, Blundo plans to start Friday meetings at Pahrump Senior Center, located at 1370 W Basin Ave., to hear from his constituents.

“The key point here is I’m your neighbor, I’ve been in this community for the last nine years,” he said.

Other candidates in District 3 are incumbent Commissioner Donna Cox, Nye County Water District Governing Board Chairman Greg Dann and two Pahrump residents, Louie DeCanio and Antheny Dodd. The two candidates with most votes move on to the Nov. 8 general election, unless someone receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77