Clark leaders set to name Brooks’ replacement

LAS VEGAS — Clark County commissioners are set to appoint a replacement for expelled Assemblyman Steven Brooks today, filling a seat that’s officially been vacant since late March and unmanned for weeks beyond that.

Commissioners had received nine applications for the Assembly District 17 seat, almost entirely in North Las Vegas. Assembly leaders are recommending commissioners choose between Tyrone Thompson and Meli Pulido, according to Assembly Majority Leader William Horne.

Pulido is a retired City of Las Vegas employee and director of Project 150, a nonprofit that assists homeless high school students. Thompson is a coordinator with the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition.

Brooks was expelled from the Assembly on March 28, after an emotional hearing in which fellow lawmakers said they didn’t feel safe with him in the legislative building. Hours after that decision, he was arrested following a dramatic car chase and police confrontation in California that was caught on video.

Records show Brooks remained in a San Bernardino County jail Monday on charges that include resisting an officer, felony evading and assault on a police animal.

His latest arrest comes after a prolonged saga that left constituents without stable representation.

He was arrested in January after he allegedly threatened a Democratic party Assembly leader. About three weeks later, he was arrested after police say he threw punches and grabbed for the gun of an officer. He also was hospitalized for five days for a mental evaluation following another police encounter that didn’t result in an arrest.

He was sworn in and then banished from the Legislature building as a possible security risk days after arriving in a hooded sweatshirt and ducking into an office to avoid reporters.

He posed shirtless for a newspaper photograph to show injuries that he said he suffered during his first arrest, but that weren’t apparent. He tried unsuccessfully to buy a rifle at a sporting goods store in Sparks. He bought body armor from a radio show host in Las Vegas. He lost his job as a Las Vegas city management analyst. And he reported his car stolen.

Lawmakers launched a special investigation into his conduct and reviewed a 900-page report on his behavior before taking the unprecedented vote to oust him.

Brooks’ district is one of the most ethnically diverse in the state, with African- Americans making up 24 percent of the population. Hispanics make up nearly 31 percent of the population.

Some advocacy groups are pushing for a person of color to take the seat. Brooks, who is black and of Puerto Rican descent, was able to connect with Spanish-speaking constituents, according to Latino Democratic Caucus Chair Jose Solorio.

While his group isn’t endorsing specific candidates, “If they’re bilingual, if they’re minorities, that would be pluses,” Solorio said.


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