Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval was sworn in for a second term on Monday after a landslide victory in the November election that also stacked the state’s other top constitutional offices with Republicans.
In his inaugural speech on the Capitol steps in Carson City, Sandoval read an account from the diary of a pioneer, comparing it to Nevada’s difficult road from recession to recovery.
“Nevadans can nonetheless pause and reflect with the feeling that we, once again, are moving forward, not backward,” he said.
Nevada’s economy is in far better condition than it was when Sandoval first took office in 2011. Job growth — the worst in the nation in 2009 — has rebounded to the third-highest rate in the country behind North Dakota and Colorado.
Electric car company Tesla announced plans to construct a battery factory in northern Nevada, and the state was one of a handful designated as a drone test site.
But with overcrowded classrooms in Clark County and state revenue that’s falling below projections, Sandoval has hinted that he’ll spearhead a politically tricky attempt to change the state’s tax structure.
“The Nevada of the future needs better schools and universities” along with a stronger, more diverse economic base, he said during his speech.
Sandoval’s specific plans will be revealed when he releases his proposed state budget on Jan. 15; the Legislature will convene Feb. 2 to begin debating it.
The governor’s performance in the second term will define his legacy and could determine the next steps of his political career. His name is already being tossed around to challenge Sen. Harry Reid in 2016, although Sandoval did not directly address that possibility on Monday.
Other officials who were sworn in on Monday:
— Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison, who served half of a four-year term as a state senator from Las Vegas before easily winning his race against former Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores. During the campaign, he played up his endorsement from Sandoval and said the two would work as a team if he won.
— Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who was barred by term limits from running for another term representing Las Vegas in the state Senate. Cegavske won a race against Democrat Kate Marshall, who was wrapping up her second term as state treasurer.
— Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a lawyer, former Navy JAG officer and political newcomer, who won a bitter, expensive race against Secretary of State Ross Miller. Laxalt’s grandfather is former U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, who also served as Nevada’s governor in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
— Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a businessman and investor who won a race against two-term state controller Kim Wallin.
— Controller Ron Knecht, a member of Nevada’s board of regents who defeated former Democratic state lawmaker Andrew Martin.
Nonpartisan Nevada Supreme Court justices Mark Gibbons and Kris Pickering were also be sworn in.