LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Four candidates in a growing field of people running to replace longtime Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman squared off in front of some 70 people on Tuesday in the Northeast Valley.
It was the candidates’ first opportunity to discuss some of the issues facing and plaguing the city, including longstanding problems like mediocre public schools, rising property crime statistics, and pervasive homelessness.
“I’m tired of the middle school food fight that is modern-day politics,” Tera Anderson, a candidate from Ward 1 who did not appear in Tuesday’s debate because she announced her candidacy after the Chamber of Commerce’s deadline to enter stated.
After a long career in real estate development in which she had confronted what she calls “a lot of bureaucracy” in dealing with the city, Anderson wants the city to realize its “untapped potential.”
“I think that I represent most people that are common sense, practical people who just want good governance and adults in the room,” she added.
One of those adults running for mayor is Shelley Berkley, a former seven-time U.S. congresswoman and lifelong Las Vegan.
“My congressional district overlaid the city of Las Vegas. So there isn’t anything that was happening in the city that I wasn’t intimately involved in,” Berkely said.
At the debate, Berkley expressed interest in using the mayor’s position to enhance medical care in the area and keep doctors who are educated nearby from leaving the region.
Another candidate with some political prowess who attended the debate sits on the Las Vegas City Council a few seats down from Goodman, and despite her objections to the contrary, does not always agree with the current mayor.
“I actually am not a critic of the mayor,” Ward 2 councilwoman Victoria Seaman said. “I have been a critic of the policies down at city hall quite a bit.”
Seaman said at the debate that her close work with law enforcement – in particular Sheriff Kevin McMahill – and her frequent interactions with other community leaders make her a viable candidate.
“I have a record of being a good steward of the taxpayer dollar and not kicking the can down the road on tough issues that a lot of politicians don’t want to tackle,” Seaman said.
One of those issues, Seaman told the 8 News Now Investigators, is the controversial, still unsettled development of the former Badlands golf course.
One candidate, while not positioning herself as an outsider – most likely because of her appointments into three Nevada governors’ administrations – says she is a fresh face in the field.
“I would be new blood in the sense that I would be the first black female mayor for the city of Las Vegas,” said Kara Jenkins of Ward 3. Jenkins, an attorney by trade, runs Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s equal rights commission, which investigates and settles discrimination claims at no cost to taxpayers.
Another candidate, Donna Miller was the other candidate on stage who had not been previously elected to political office. She is a retired nurse and businesswoman.
“I want to make Las Vegas the next big city,” Jenkins said. “It already is, but for entrepreneurs, this is the place we want to invite people to come and visit. And they need a mayor that can do that. Not just cut the ribbon.”
Ironically, for her part, Goodman was indeed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony during the time of Tuesday’s debate. Goodman presided over the grand opening of a new police substation just steps from the canopy at Fremont St., an area where Metro and the city council determined a need for a stronger and closer police presence.
Candidates Deb Peck and Las Vegas City Councilman Cedric Crear did not respond to the invitation to participate, the invitation to Tuesday’s debate from the Chamber of Commerce. Some nine candidates have already announced their intention to run.