Mini ceremony Monday will make Joe Lombardo Nevada’s new governor
The first few weeks of January will be a whirlwind as Republican Joe Lombardo succeeds one-term Gov. Steve Sisolak, the only Democrat to serve as Nevada’s governor since 1999.
Because Nevada law requires the governor to be sworn in on the first Monday of the new year — whether or not it’s a federal holiday — Lombardo will participate in a quick mini-ceremony on Jan. 2 to comply with the statute.
Only the family and a few constitutional officers are expected to attend. A larger, more formal swearing-in will take place at noon Tuesday on the steps of the Capitol in Carson City. Weather can affect location, his team said. Seats are reserved for invited guests.
Inaugural balls are scheduled in the north and south: January 13 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno and January 20 at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
Jan. 23 will be Lombardo’s 2023 State of the State address in the Nevada House of Assembly.
“I am extremely grateful for the work of my transition team and its working committees,” Lombardo said in an emailed statement to RGJ.
“Their leadership and knowledge have been invaluable during this transition process. I am also grateful to have assembled an excellent team of future staff who are all dedicated to serving Nevadans across the state. Together, we are ready to work to I look forward to delivering my State of the State message in three weeks, where I will discuss the budget and legislative priorities, as well as my administration’s key goals for the years ahead.”
Lombardo’s regular salary was $196,000 a year as Clark County sheriff, according to Transparent Nevada. As governor, he will take a pay cut, with an expected annual salary of about $163,000.
According to the financial website 24/7 Wall St., Nevada has the 17th highest governor salary in the country and the fourth highest in the West, behind California, Washington and Utah.
Ben Kieckhefer will be Lombardo’s chief of staff. Kieckhefer is a former state senator and director of client relations at the Reno-based law firm McDonald Carano. He also has a seat on the Nevada Gaming Commission, which he plans to resign from once Lombardo is officially sworn in.
Lombardo’s other appointments include:
- Michawn Rich as policy director. The Reno native was director of communications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and got her start in public service working for former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller.
- Elizabeth Ray as communications director. She was director of communications for Lombardo’s gubernatorial campaign and previously served as Virginia press secretary for the Republican National Committee.
- Chris Nelson as general counsel. Nielsen had served as general counsel to Governor Jim Gibbons and currently serves as general counsel for the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System.
Nevada governors are limited to two terms.