Number cruncher Knecht should beat bad reputation Martin for Controller job
The office of controller may be one of the least understood constitutional offices in the state of Nevada.
The controller is basically the chief fiscal officer, responsible for handling the states accounting system, paying bills and collecting debts efficiently and effectively, while providing accurate financial data to various levels of government, to lawmakers and to the citizens.
This year’s race for the seat is between Republican Ron Knecht, an economist who is a former assemblyman and currently a member of the Board of Regents, and Democrat Andrew Martin, an assemblyman and CPA. Both promise to make the operations of the office as transparent as possible.
The current controller, Kim Wallin, is term limited and running for treasurer.
Knecht says the controller’s 16-year-old computer system is obsolete, but believes he could pay for a new system by reducing personnel. He says a new system would allow him to post the state’s checkbook online.
As a regent, Knecht has been involved in rolling out an even bigger computer system that connects all the state’s university campuses and covering everything from student records to accounting and human resources.
Knecht brings a unique and broad range of education and professional experience as qualifications for the controller office. He has a liberal arts bachelor’s degree, a math major, a master’s degree in engineering economics that includes public finance and policy, plus a law degree. He has 43 years in management in economics and financial and technical analysis in both private and public service. On the regents, he has been active in audits, budget and finance, management and investments.
“I’m a numbers, policy and operations nerd,” Knecht says proudly.
“I have a reliable, dependable, long-term record as a limited government conservative, and frankly, if there is anyplace you want a limited government conservative with prudence, it’s the controller,” he said. He was one of the 15 conservative lawmakers in 2003 that helped stopped the largest tax hike in state history — the gross receipts tax.
While the controller sits on the state transportation committee, Knecht attests that he would favor roads and highway spending over mass transit subsidies.
Andrew Martin was rated one of the worst members of the 2013 Assembly by the Las Vegas newspaper’s anonymous poll of legislators, lobbyists and reporters.
We endorse the principled and conservative candidacy of Ron Knecht.
Former assemblywoman Cegavske better choice for Secretary of State office
The secretary of state of Nevada has a number of duties relating to keeping track of business filings, commercial recordings, regulating notaries and securities.
But the highest profile and most significant duty of the office is to oversee the conduct and integrity of elections. That is where the two major party candidates are the furthest apart and provide voters with a clear choice.
Republican Barbara Cegavske, a Las Vegas businesswoman who served six years in the state Assembly and is term-limited from seeking re-election to her state Senate seat, faces Kate Marshall, of Reno who is term-limited from seeking re-election as treasurer.
In a recent televised debate Marshall accused Cegavske of not supporting campaign finance reform that would allow voters to “follow the money.”
This so-called reform is Democratic newspeak for forcing private citizens and groups to register with the state and report expenses and donors or face heavy fines.
Asked recently about the current secretary of state’s litigation against independent groups for not reporting expenditures and donations, Cegavske replied, “I think courts for the most part have declared it freedom of speech and that is what I think the groups have been hanging their hat on.” She expects the state Supreme Court will eventually have the final say.
Cegavske does favor candidates themselves reporting expenses and donations.
Cegavske she would push to institute a voter ID law requiring registered voters to show some form of personal identification at the polls. Marshall has toed the Democrat Party line and said she is against voter ID, because it might somehow disenfranchise some voters.
Marshall says she supports same-day voter registration at the polls. She argued this could increase voter participation. Cegavske doubts registrars of voters could verify voter eligibility or citizenship on the same day as the election. That could throw close races into limbo.
Marshall says she is open to a California-style open primary in which political parties are relegated to the status of non-entities, because voters can cross party lines. This opens paths to all sorts of political chicanery. Cegavske said no to an open primary system.
“I believe we need somebody who has a business background in the secretary of state office,” Cegavske says on the campaign trail, “and of the two candidates I’m the only one who has previous business experience.” She and her husband owned a convenience store for 13 years. “I believe that in the state of Nevada we need to make sure that our businesses are not overregulated and overtaxed.”
She said her 18 years in the Legislature gives her the experience to work with lawmakers and the governor, who has endorsed her candidacy, to address the needs of the state.
We also heartily endorse the candidacy of Barbara Cegavske.