Henderson City Council Ward 1 seat sees 6 candidates vying for spot

Henderson City Council Ward 1 seat sees 6 candidates vying for spot

At least six candidates are running to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat on the Henderson City Council in the upcoming special election.

The seat, which represents downtown Henderson and the city’s far east end, was vacated by the recent election of Michelle Romero as mayor. The City Council voted Jan. 4 to schedule a special election to fill the position, but a date for the vote has not yet been set.

The election will be the first to be held under a ballot question approved in the November election that limits voting to residents who live in a certain ward; previously, all Henderson residents were able to vote for City Council candidates regardless of where they lived in the city.

Here’s a look at who’s running for the job:

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson said he has “served his entire life,” in the U.S. Marines and the Boulder City Police Department.

Johnson said the main focus of his campaign will be his support for local police and fire departments, responsible growth for the city and getting Henderson out of the Clark County School District. A ballot initiative led by Henderson Councilman Dan Stewart that would have allowed local communities to form their own school districts failed to gather enough signatures to go before the Nevada Legislature.

Johnson was most vocal about his support for first responders.

One change Johnson said would improve the city’s police department is a focus on helping officers within the department grow into leadership roles instead of hiring officers from outside Henderson.

“We have to develop internally, move (our officers) up through the ranks without looking elsewhere for leadership,” Johnson said.

He also said Henderson “absolutely” needs more police officers and firefighters, and they should continue to expand as the city grows.

Johnson said the school district has longstanding “systemic issues” that hurt its performance and is too big to help any of the communities that lie within its jurisdiction.

Ali Nilson

Ali Nilson was born and raised in Henderson, and now lives in a rural neighborhood with her husband and their three children.

Nilson said the main points of her campaign are public safety, education and responsible economic development. She emphasized that while all of these are interconnected, public safety functions as the foundation from which other points must grow.

Nilson said the lack of security can cause a ripple effect that can make it harder to get anything else done in a city. She explained that if people in the city don’t feel safe, they won’t go out and spend money at local businesses, which causes those businesses to fail, which costs the city tax revenue, which makes it more difficult for the government to address security concerns.

“You have to make people feel safe, because if they don’t feel safe, everything else fails,” Nilson said.

She also said she supports seceding from the Clark County School District and praised the city’s growth and economic development thus far and wants to ensure it continues to do so responsibly.

Nilson lists more than 50 endorsements on her website, which include many Henderson residents who have lived there for more than three decades.

Alex Kleytman

Owner of an insurance firm in Henderson and resident of a rural local neighborhood, Alex Kleytman describes himself as an activist for his community.

Kleytman said preserving rural neighborhoods, education with a focus on school choice and supporting emergency services are the focal points of his campaign.

When residents of the rural Mission Hills neighborhood objected to the construction of a major connector road in mid-2022, Kleytman protested the planned road along with his neighbors. He said he spoke to more than 200 neighbors who opposed building the road and advertised signature pages against the project at a demonstration.

“We need the city to be a little more sensitive to the needs of our rural neighborhoods,” Kleytman said.

Like other candidates, Kleytman supports Henderson schools seceding from the school district. He is a big supporter of school choice for parents. He explained that his support for the idea came from his experience with his own children, who he pulled out of Smalley Elementary School halfway through the school year because he felt the school wasn’t giving them enough individual attention.

Kleytman said he has been endorsed by the Nevada branch of the Service Employees International Union.

Melissa Woodbury

Former Rep. Melissa Woodbury noted that she has the most government experience of all the candidates, having spent ten years representing Henderson in Carson City.

The main ideas of her campaign are education, quality of life and public safety. She said her main focus was quality of life.

She also agrees with the idea of ​​splitting the Clark County School District and giving Henderson its own district.

She said to do that, the community needs to work with the Legislature, where she sees “an appetite” to consider redistricting.

If the Legislature does not end up fulfilling this goal, she said it could be done with another ballot measure in 2024.

Woodbury also supports school choice for parents.

“I’ve been a part of the school choice and desegregation (Clark County School District) fight all along,” Woodbury said.

Woodbury praised Henderson’s current quality of life and said she wants to maintain it as the city continues to grow.

Woodbury is endorsed by incumbent state Sens. Carrie Buck, R-Henderson, and Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas; Assemblywomen Danielle Gallant, R-Las Vegas, and Melissa Hardy, R-Henderson; Boulder City Mayor and former State Senator Joe Hardy, Henderson Constable Kenny Taylor and other current and former political leaders.

Eddie Hamilton

Eddie Hamilton is no stranger to running for office in Nevada, having appeared on the ballot in nearly every election since 2006. His resume includes runs for Henderson City Council, Mayor of Henderson, Congressional District 1 and 3, the US Senate and the governor.

Hamilton said the main principles of his campaign are promoting quality of life, public safety, water conservation and education.

Hamilton said he wants more economic and neighborhood development in Ward 1. He said Henderson’s west side has a lot of development and he wants to achieve equity for the “older, less affluent” part of the city.

He also said he wants to make Henderson the safest city in America.

“We cannot make progress in law enforcement and public safety if labor is in conflict with management,” Hamilton said. (The department’s unions recently took a vote of no confidence in Police Chief Thedrick Andres, who later announced his resignation.)

Hamilton said he wants a police chief who is tough on crime and knows about social justice. He said he hopes the City Council will wait to approve the next police chief until the vacancy is filled.

Like most other candidates, Hamilton supports Henderson seceding from the Clark County School District. However, he doesn’t want the entire school district disbanded, he just wants Henderson to be independent.

In keeping with a tradition of his previous campaign efforts, Hamilton gave himself a new nickname with this run. His latest voting moniker: Eddie “Every Cycle” Hamilton, which he said is meant to encourage people to get involved in every public election cycle.

Jim Seebock

Jim Seebock has spent nearly 30 years working in law enforcement, with several years spent in leadership roles within the Metropolitan Police Department. Currently an assistant sheriff, he says that experience makes him “uniquely qualified” to serve Henderson.

Seebock’s main campaign focal points are public safety, growth and redevelopment, and dealing with Henderson’s homeless population. He said the main focus of his campaign is public safety.

“I want to make sure the police and first responders have the resources they need,” Seebock said.

He plans to provide these departments with resources through employment and infrastructure improvement.

Seebock said he will use his experience overseeing Metro’s homeless outreach team and working with the behavioral health unit to address Henderson’s homeless population.

He also said he wants to continue the trend of redevelopment in the First Ward that began on Water Street and ensure the city’s infrastructure can support that growth.

Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill officially approved Seebock for the job.

Contact Mark Credico at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MarkCredicoII.

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