Our View: Our choices for Assembly

Voters in Carson City-area Assembly districts should have a relatively easy time punching their ballots in the Nov. 7 general election.

Democrat Joe Dini, the 34-year veteran in District 38, faces only token opposition - and for good reason. Dini is a proven leader, has a sharp command of the issues and, most important, is among the most responsive of legislators to the needs of his constituents.

In District 39, Republican Lynn Hettrick is also an incumbent who has proved his value to constituents since 1993. His conservative views are in line with the district, and he is an articulate and effective spokesman for their views.

Republican Greg Brower, elected in 1998 in District 37, also deserves to be returned to office for his quick grasp of local issues, as well as his conservative approach ot fiscal management of state government. At 36, Brower is one of the up-and-comers of Northern Nevada leadership.

District 40, which encompasses most of Carson City, is the only race of the four in which voters may have a difficult choice.

The reason is that Bonnie Parnell, the incumbent, is a Democrat while the district leans toward a Republican advantage.

Neverthless, Parnell demonstrated during her first session in the Nevada Legislature that she deserves support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Parnell was among the outstanding freshmen of the '99 session, shepherding legislation on behalf of Carson City and impressing fellow legislators on Government Affairs and Education committees.

Concerns that the former Nevada Teacher of the Year might be a pawn of the teachers' union proved to be unfounded, although anyone listening to her during the 1998 campaign would have realized she is an independent thinker.

Parnell also wasted no time assuring voters in District 40 during this campaign that she doesn't support the business tax initiative circulated by the teachers' union.

She also has some specific bills in mind for the next session - a couple of them are victims' rights issues stemming from recent crimes in Carson City - that indicate Parnell has been an active representative even while the Legislature has been idle.

In Jeanne Simons, the Republican Party has offered a bright, energetic woman with a more conservative bent to test Parnell's popularity.

Simons is no stranger around the legislative building, having lobbied on behalf of the Nevada Federation of Republican Women and being an active voice on other issues.

A nurse and now part-owner of a Carson City business, Simons has many qualities that will garner votes on election day.

In evaluating the two, we tried to compare the Simons of today with the Parnell of two years ago, before she had two years of legislative experience. We concluded that Parnell still would have the edge, in both her activism and her ability to articulate stances on statewide issues.

With two years of legislative service under her belt, the Parnell of today easily demonstrates a depth and breadth of understanding of the issues beyond her less-experienced opponent.

If you're counting, that's two Republicans (Brower and Hettrick) and two Democrats (Dini and Parnell) we're supporting in this election - all incumbents. All also happen to be among the best in Nevada's statehouse.


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