The reports are in and there will be several key candidates that Mesquite, Bunkerville and the surrounding areas will want to watch as the political year kicks off.
For Mesquite, there may be a changing of the guard at City Hall.
Running for the job of Mayor will be Allan Litman who currently holds that spot as he was appointed to the position when former Mayor Mark Wier vacated the seat in April 2014. Because Litman was appointed to the position, this will be the first time the voters can put him back into the driver’s seat for the next four years as Mayor.
But for Litman to continue his efforts for Mesquite, he will face two others who believe they could do things better.
The first is Ken Cook, a founding member of Mesquite Regional Business, Inc. He also helped form the committee that put Mesquite on the map as a Bronze Status Bicycle Friendly Community from The League of American Bicyclists from 2014-2018. Most recently, Cook served as the President of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Board in 2015.
The third candidate running for Mayor, Arthur Pareida, is a local resident and Vietnam Veteran. This is his first time to run for any office in Mesquite.
For City Council positions, three in total, the field is a little more crowded with seven candidates.
Councilman George Rapson is running for re-election this year after being elected initially in 2011. As a Councilman, he serves on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors. Rapson is also a local real estate agent.
Current Councilwoman Cindi Delaney is also running to continue her job. As with Litman, she was appointed in 2014 to fill Litman’s spot on council. During that election, she finished in fourth place. Delaney has been a prominent fixture in the community having owned several businesses, including being one of the founders of the Mesquite Local News, which she and her partners sold to Stephen’s Media in 2009. Currently, she serves on the Mesquite Opportunities Regional Fund (MORF) Board of Directors. As part of her council duties, she is the Mesquite Representative on the Southern Nevada Health District Board.
Next up is local businessman David Ballweg, owner of LoadTec. He has been an active face in the community sponsoring local businesses and scholarships. This is his first attempt at seat on the Mesquite City Council.
Mike Benham has made his way through Mesquite over the past year as he took over management of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Benham has held positions in local government in other parts of the U.S. but not in Mesquite.
C.J. Larsen retired about a year ago from the City of Mesquite as the supervisor for the 911 Dispatch Center. This is her first time running for any local offices.
David West is with the marketing department at Reliance Connects and is heavily involved with the local Boy Scouts chapters in Mesquite. This will be West’s first run at an elected office in Mesquite.
Brian Wursten is the General Manager at Falcon Ridge Golf Course and will experience his first political season in Mesquite.
Moving on to other important roles up for election, the Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) will have two seats available, but only one of them will continue through the election year.
The seat available to represent Bunkerville, currently held by VVWD Board President Nephi Julien will continue as normal, as there were no other residents who registered to oppose him. He will serve another four-year term through 2020.
The other seat available to serve Mesquite’s interests is also a four-year term. Currently held by Sandra Ramaker, she will run for reelection but she will have to face off against the City of Mesquite’s Travis Anderson who is the Engineer for the Public Works Department. His wife, Natalie, is currently an employee at the VVWD.
While this will be Anderson’s first shot at the position, Ramaker will attempt to pull off a win to serve her third term. She was first elected to the VVWD in 2010 for a four-year term and then drew the straw in 2014 for a two-year term. This will be her final chance to serve the VVWD rate payers.
For the Overton Power District (OPD), current board member representing Mesquite, Mike Young, will move on to his next term as there were no challengers to his position.
The At Large seat, which serves OPD’s whole district of Mesquite, Overton, Logandale and Bunkerville, and will be a four-year term will have current representative Judy Metz up against some competition. Metz was voted into her current seat in 2012. Metz also owns Sugar’s Home Plate in Overton and has been active on various boards and committees in the Moapa Valley.
As an incumbent, Metz will have to compete against two opponents this year.
David Bennett, who has lived in Mesquite for many years, served for 12 years on the Mesquite City Council and unsuccessfully ran for Mayor in 2011, coming in second to Wier. He currently serves on the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
The final candidate vying for the At Large seat at OPD is Phillip Charles Hanson. Apparently he has not run for office before in Mesquite, as there is little to no information available about him.
Another contentious race to watch in 2016 will be that for Assembly District 19, currently held by Chris Edwards. He will face Mesquite Resident Connie Foust in the Primary in June.
What makes the AD-19 seat interesting, however, is that both candidates are Republican. Because of this, there will be a runoff election at the Primary and the winner of that vote will take the office and not have to worry about the General Elections in November.
According to the Clark County Elections Department, as of March 15 there were 8,348 active voters in Mesquite, 538 in Bunkerville, 526 in the Moapa Township and 3,509 in The Moapa Valley Township, which consists of Overton and Logandale.