Elko senator Rhoads files for sixth term

Elko County Republican Dean Rhoads filed Tuesday for his sixth four-year term representing the Northern Nevada Senatorial District.

Rhoads, a Tuscarora rancher, said he is concerned about health care problems in rural Nevada as well as declining economies of many small communities and the dangers posed by attempts to take water from rural areas.

"The trial lawyers are making it very difficult for health-care professionals to practice in rural Nevada," he said. "Because of the insurance crisis, some of them have moved back to bigger cities."

But Rhoads said he would prefer not to etch a proposed solution in stone by putting it before voters.

"I don't think initiative petitions are the way to go in Nevada. That's what the Legislature is for."

Rhoads' district includes Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Eureka, Pershing, White Pine and Lincoln counties as well as part of Nye. He said most of those counties are in economic decline, losing population as they lose jobs.

"We need more development out there," he said.

And he said that means protecting the water resources in those areas so that, if they can attract business, they have the water to support development.

Rhoads already sponsored legislation which allows the state engineer to consider an area's potential economic growth when deciding whether to allow water transfers that might limit that growth. That could limit water transfers now being sought by Southern Nevada Water Authority to continue the expansion of the Las Vegas area.

Rhoads, 68, is one of the most senior members of the Legislature. He served three terms in the Assembly beginning in 1977 before surrendering the seat to run for Congress. He lost in the primary but returned to the Legislature as a senator in 1985.

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