LAS VEGAS (AP) — A second member of the elected body that governs the Las Vegas Strip said Thursday she’ll seek the Democratic nomination for Nevada governor next year.
Chris Giunchigliani said she plans an inclusive, progressive, grassroots campaign to empower people statewide to “fix public education funding,” address community mental health shortcomings and help what she called “mom and pop businesses.”
Giunchigliani, a former state Assembly member who is often referred to as Chris G, kicked off her campaign Wednesday in a rally with supporters at a Las Vegas school.
Her entry into the race pits her against Clark County Commission colleague and chairman Steve Sisolak for the Democratic party nomination to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Giunchigliani, 62, is a former special education teacher and teachers’ union president who served eight terms in the state Assembly before she was elected to the commission in 2006. She lost a bid for Las Vegas mayor in 2011.
“I will work with anyone who has a good idea because Nevadans deserve a leader who will put petty partisan politics aside and focus on getting commonsense results that benefit families and our communities,” she said in her gubernatorial campaign announcement. She said she intends to make a “listening tour” around the state.
The seven-member commission has authority over a county the size of New Jersey with about 2 million of Nevada’s 2.8 million residents. The casino corridor just outside Las Vegas city jurisdiction draws most of some 48 million tourists a year who visit Nevada. It oversees a $6.6 billion annual budget, compared with an annual Nevada state spending plan of about $8.1 billion.
Wealthy Las Vegas businessman Stephen Cloobeck, the founder and former chief executive of Diamond Resorts, has said he also is considering a self-funded race for governor as a Democrat.
On the Republican side, state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Las Vegas bicycle shop businessman and political newcomer Jared Fisher have announced their bids for governor.
State Attorney General Adam Laxalt is due to kick off his campaign on Nov. 1.
Laxalt and Giunchigliani both postponed Oct. 2 announcements of the start of their campaigns, in the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas Strip mass shooting that became the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Fifty-nine people died, including the gunman, and almost 550 were injured.