Steve Sisolak sworn in as Nevada’s first Democratic governor in 20 years |

Steve Sisolak sworn in as Nevada’s first Democratic governor in 20 years

Geoff Dornan

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Pledging to follow the example set by his predecessor, Brian Sandoval, Steve Sisolak was sworn in Jan. 7 as Nevada’s 30th elected governor.

“Thank you for prioritizing our kids’ education and our families’ health and for always putting people over partisanship,” he said in a brief speech following his swearing in at the state Capitol in Carson City. “As governor, I pledge to follow the example you’ve set — to find common ground, reach consensus, make a difference in people’s lives and keep moving the state forward.”

Sisolak is the first Democrat to become governor since Bob Miller left office 20 years ago.

But he told the crowd of more than 300 that isn’t the only notable thing about this inauguration. He pointed out Attorney General Aaron Ford is the first African American to hold a statewide constitutional office in Nevada; and, Nevada is the first state in U.S. history to elect a majority female legislature, a line that drew cheers and applause from the women in the audience.

And with the swearing in of Supreme Court Justices Lidia Stiglich, Abbi Silver and Elissa Cadish — who join Kris Pickering — Nevada’s high court is now majority female.

It took Sisolak just an hour to announce his first major action as governor. With Ford at his side, he signed an executive order creating a task force to study sexual harassment and discrimination in Nevada.

Naming Ford to chair the task force, he said its job will be to produce real recommendations that will ensure no one suffers harassment in the workplace.

Sisolak fought back emotions and tears as he praised his daughters Ashley and Carley, who he described as “kind, compassionate hell raisers,” as well as when he praised his new wife Kathy.

He said his goal as governor will be to “bring opportunity back within reach and do what I can to repay the state that has given me so much.”

“First things first,” he continued, “we’ve got to get our education system back on track because we know that’s the bedrock of a thriving economy and the pathway to a better life for our families. The future of Nevada is in their hands and they should have the resources and respect they deserve.

“And we need to make sure there are jobs waiting for everyone who wants one.”

Another major thrust of his administration, he said, will be to address the financial burdens of healthcare — cracking down on the rising cost of prescription drugs, blocking any efforts to roll back protections for pre-existing conditions, protecting access to women’s healthcare, “and defending a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions.”

“Healthcare isn’t political,” he said. “It’s personal.”

Prior to the 11:30 a.m. Jan. 7 ceremony, Sisolak attended a special mass at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, joined by several hundred people including officials and legislators from both parties.