Parnell claims second Assembly District term

Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, on Tuesday won a second term representing Assembly District 40, convincing a majority of Carson City voters - including a sizable number of Republicans - her record warranted re-election.

In three other Assembly races, Carson area incumbents Joe Dini, Lynn Hettrick and Greg Brower easily won new terms of office.

Parnell fought off a strong challenge from first-time candidate and longtime education and health activist Jeanne Simons, finishing the evening with 6,332 to 5,669 votes.

"I'm really anxious to start focusing on the bill drafts and the issues," she said. "Now's when the work comes into play. I want to start getting some things done for Carson City and making sure we come out well in reapportionment."

Parnell thanked the voters who "believed in the job that I've done and supported my return."

Simons too thanked her supporters.

"It's been fun, a great experience and I'm honored by all the people who supported me," she said.

She said she plans to continue her advocacy before the Legislature - especially on education issues.

"I'm not going anywhere. It's about children," she said.

Parnell, 54, is a Carson Middle School teacher. But she opposes the teachers' union initiative petition that would impose a $250 million a year business tax to increase funding for public education. She has said it would be bad for her district's small businesses.

"Constituent interests come first and it's just not in the best interest of this community and small businesses," she said.

She served as president of the State of Nevada PTA and also as a member of the State Welfare Board. But she was put in the spotlight in 1998 when she was named Nevada Teacher of the Year. She ran that year for the District 40 seat vacated by Mark Amodei, who moved to the state Senate.

Simons first became active at the county level fighting for more parental control over children's programs in Carson City schools.

In Assembly districts touching Carson City, two of the lower house's most powerful leaders retained their seats.

Dini, D-Yerington and eight-time speaker of the Assembly, won a record-setting 18th term over Roger Bishop in District 38. Bishop filed for the office but did little campaigning for the seat. He was pulling more than 60 percent of the vote.

Minority leader Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, also won another term in District 39 over political newcomer, Democrat Willie Edwards, with more than 60 percent of the vote. This will be Hettrick's fifth two-year term.

And Brower, R-Reno, won his second term of office representing south Washoe County, Incline Village and the northwest portion of Carson City.

Brower was challenged for the District 37 seat by Independent American Party candidate Daniel Timothy Lee and Libertarian Karen Savage.

Brower collected more than 83 percent of the votes in Carson City and 87 percent in Washoe County.

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