The 2018 Nye County GOP Debate took place last weekend, giving candidates from four different partisan offices the chance to engage the community and share their perspectives on a variety of topics ahead of the primary election.
For some races, the battle lines were clearly drawn, with candidates setting their sights on their opponents in an immediate stance of offense.
The Nye County GOP Debate opened Friday, April 6 with the candidates for Nye County treasurer. Despite the fact that there are a total of four Republicans vying for this seat, only two candidates participated, John Prudhont and Mary Dawn Zlotek.
Butch Borasky, who is a current Nye County commissioner, and Pam Webster, who was appointed as interim treasurer in January of this year and is a former Nye County manager, are also filed for the race but they did not attend.
Treasurer candidate Prudhont started off with a bang, reiterating multiple times that in his view, his opponents were not capable of adequately performing the duties of treasurer.
He declared himself to be the only candidate with the necessary qualifications for the office, citing decades in finances and an intimate knowledge of what it takes to manage a successful team. Prudhont highlighted his bachelor’s degree in history and his extensive experience as a treasurer and chief financial officer of multi-million-dollar corporations.
For Prudhont, the person currently occupying the seat, Webster, seemed to be his major target.
“Unfortunately, the sitting treasurer’s experience is woefully inadequate,” Prudhont stated. “I am asking you to help drain the swamp in the Nye County Treasurer’s Office. We currently have someone who was appointed through crony political connections that does not have the qualifications to be there… The other candidates, Pam Webster, Butch Borasky and Mary Dawn Zlotek, are part of the reason that the Nye County Treasurer’s Office has had problems over the years… I am the only qualified person for this position.”
Zlotek, on the other hand, made no statements attacking her political rivals but she did assert that she felt she was the best choice for the seat. “I feel like I have a good background for this type of position and I am excited to be here in Nye County and working with the people,” Zlotek said. “I will be there, I will do what is best for the county. It is time for a change and when voting, look for the ‘Z’!”
Zlotek detailed 30-plus years in the health care industry, as well as a four-year stint as an elected controller in Pennsylvania and one year as a grant contract manager for Nye County. She honed in on her desire to see the treasurer’s office running smoothly and efficiently. Zlotek came prepared with details on the plans she has for cross-training, the lack of which has been a problem in the treasurer’s office.
“My goals for the treasurer’s office would be to make sure it is highly organized… To make sure everybody is cross-trained and everybody knows what everyone else’s job duties are so that way, if someone quits, leaves, resigns, there is no stoppage of work, everything would be business as usual. I want to see it organized and efficiently run,” Zlotek asserted.
Zlotek and Prudhont did butt heads on several points throughout the debate, such as the treasurer’s involvement with the county’s budget process. Zlotek said she thought county departments need to have more of a say in their own budgets but Prudhont did not agree.
“I think it is very important to understand, the Nye County commissioners set their own budgets. It’s not the treasurer’s office… The treasurer’s job is to collect tax funds and disperse to the correct funds…” Prudhont said.
Zlotek rebutted, “I still feel that all the department heads… need to be active with their budget, managing it, setting it, giving their thoughts to the commissioners before it is set because they are the ones running the department and really should know where they need money and where they can save money.”
Once the treasurer candidates had their say, the stage was set for the debate between Republicans seeking the Nevada attorney general seat. However, this ended up as more of a question-and-answer session with candidate Craig Mueller as his opponent, Wes Duncan, did not participate. This gave Mueller a launching point, not just for a few chuckles with the audience, but for criticizing Duncan as well.
“I have been a military officer, I’ve been educated for it, I have been to law school. I was going to go into politics as a younger man but I decided against it. I decided to concentrate on having a family… I now operate a law firm,” Mueller stated. “My opponent, who will not argue with me on this point, is a career government employee. He is 36-37 years old and he is running for his third elected office. He is a career politician. I am not.”
Mueller spent much of his time discussing lands issues, noting that he is staunchly against the Bureau of Land Management and desires to see the land in Nevada controlled by the state rather than the federal agencies.
This bled over into a question from the audience regarding the Patch of Heaven in Ash Meadows, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Fuenteses are feuding over water.
“I was appalled when I saw those pictures and heard their story. I promise you, I would have been in federal court within 48 hours, seeking an injunction and damages on behalf of those people almost immediately,” he declared. Mueller capped it all off with a bold assertion. “If you elect me, I promise you, I will be the best attorney general in the history of the state and that office will probably not be quite the same again,” he stated.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at email@example.com.
Part 2 of the Nye County GOP Debate coverage is upcoming in the Pahrump Valley Times. Planned is coverage of the debates for Nye County Commission Districts 4 and 5, as well as Nye County district attorney.