Two veteran Republican leaders say the twin swords of reapportionment and state government reorganization make 2001 a critical election for Nevada's Legislature.
Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick of Gardnerville and senior Republican in the lower house John Marvel of Battle Mountain both filed for re-election Monday. Marvel was the first candidate to appear at the Secretary of State's Office as filing for the November elections opened.
"Reapportionment is critical, especially for the rural counties," said Marvel, a veteran of more than 20 years in the Legislature.
He, along with Democrats Roy Neighbors in Tonopah and Marcia deBraga of Fallon, represent the vast majority of rural Nevada in Nevada's lower house. Republicans Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora and Mike McGinness of Fallon split the load in the Senate.
"I don't have any problems giving more seats to the populous counties, but I really don't think we can expand our districts any more," said Marvel.
Together they represent 11 of Nevada's 17 counties.
But Hettrick said not only those seats but some of those in the Carson-Douglas area would be greatly expanded if the total number of seats in the Legislature isn't increased.
"If they don't let us add seats, then it gets really bad," said Hettrick. "We're going to have some gigantic districts."
He said his seat would get bigger and that one Washoe Senate seat would probably have to reach south into Carson City and Storey County, forcing Carson City's Mark Amodei to pick up voters in Douglas and possibly Lyon County.
Marvel said the governor's fundamental review of how state government operates is the other major focus of this coming session.
"I think the governor is going to come up with some real innovative changes in government and I'd like to be able to help him implement some of them," said Marvel.
"It's nice to say government is overblown and too big but it's hard to find places to cut," said Hettrick.
He said past reorganizations of state government have focused more on management than "cost effectiveness and program effectiveness."
He said that's where improvements will come and that he too is hoping to help Gov. Kenny Guinn put some of them into effect.