Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.   Political Note #358 Laura Kelly Kansas Governor, Political Note #366 Tony Evers Wisconsin Governor, Political Note #381 Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Governor, Political Note #402 Katie Hobbs Arizona Governor, Political Note #407 Janet Mills Maine Governor, Political Note #365 Catherine Cortez Masto Nevada US Senator, Political Note #360 Aaron Ford Nevada Attorney General, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #375 Steve Horsford NV 04

Political Note #396 Terry McAuliffe Virginia Governor, Political Note #401 Hala Ayala Virginia Lt. Governor (Virginia votes on November 2, 2021)

September 26th            Political Note #414 Steve Sisolak Nevada Governor

2022                             General Election

Steve Sisolak’s antecedents were from Czechoslavakia.  Even now. In the 21st century United States, Eastern or Central European upbringing means a blue-collar upbringing and a blue-collar orientation.  That was true for Steve Sisolak https://stevesisolak.comHe grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.  HIs mother worked in a convenience store, his father was an engineer for General Motors. He played basketball in high school. A school friend remembered the 5’7” Steve Sisolak as being quiet, not at all outgoing, and spending most of his basketball career on the bench.  He went to college locally — to the University of Wisconsin – at Milwaukee which is definitely a blue-collar school.  He graduated in 1974 and left for greener pastures in January, 1976 – keenly aware of the dangers of financial insecurity.  His family had experienced stress when his father’s layoff extended for three years.

Steve Sisolak left for Las Vegas, Nevada.  Greener pastures is probably the wrong description for a city in the Mojave Desert. It was a land of opportunity, though.  Steve Sisolak went to graduate school there abd got an MBA from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.  Trained in business, Steve Sisolak was in the right place at the right time.  Nevada was growing.  In the 30 years before 1970, Nevada grew from 110,000 people to nearly 500,000.  In the 30 years after that, Nevada grew to more than 3 million people.  More than two-thirds of the people of Nevada live in Clark County (roughly the same as metropolitan Las Vegas).

Steve Sisolak’s first business, American Distributing Company, was a legitimate telemarketer.  In 1997, he was interviewed by the Las Vegas Sun about the impact of telemarketing fraud on his business.  He sold promotional items to businesses that they could distribute — pens with the company name on them, for instance. Two years before the interview 157 individual Las Vegas telemarketers had been arrested for fraud.  Steve Sisolak said his business had been badly hurt.  When he looks to hire people, fewer apply.  And many who do apply look like people willing to commit fraud. Some of the largest legitimate telemarketers went bankrupt.  American Distributing and, his next firm, Associated Industries, survived, but not for that long.

By 1998, Steve Sisolak had shifted gears. He tried elective politics. He had already served as an appointed member of the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority.  Now he ran to be a member of the Nevada Board of Regents overseeing the various state colleges and universities. As regent, he focused on business matters.  He chaired the budget and finance committee, the committee devoted to evaluation and compensation of personnel, and presidential search committees.  He was active outside of the board of regents as well.  He served on the board of directors of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, on the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and the Las Vegas Better Business Bureau as well as a variety of charitable causes.

Steve Sisolak mainained an interest in his personal business. He bought property near the Las Vegas airport.  The airport expanded as the city grew.  As the airport expanded, it set restrictions on the height of nearby buildings despite warnings that compensating property owners for loss in value because of the height restrictions could cost the airport as much as a billion dollars.  Matters became particularly difficult in 2003. Steve Sisolak had already filed a lawsuit for compensation for the height restrictions.  Owners of a neighboring property negotiated a land swap with the airport which appeared to further devalue his property.  In 2005, he won his lawsuit receiving $23.5 Million in compensation.

Steve Sisolak’s personal life included some difficulties and at least one lawsuit. He married in the late 1980s, had two daughters, and divorced.  He raised the girls himself.  While raising the girls, he had a girlfriend for four years – Kathleen Boutin.   Their breakup was thoroughly unpleasant. He recorded a session with the girlfriend’s lawyer and then turned the tape over to the police as evidence of an extortion attempt. The lawyer had proposed three or four million dollars in compensation for dropping a complaint about supposed improper behavior with the girlfriend’s teenage daughter.  The girlfriend and the daughter dropped the complaint after the daughter said she had been coerced into making false statements.

After ten years on the Nevada Board of Regents, Steve Sisolak ran and was elected a Clark County Commissioner. He ran and served as a financially conservative Democrat.  He opposed raising taxes and taxes were not raised by the Commission during his ten years as a member of that body.  He battled a variety of opponents in order to keep control of costs.  He fought with the firefighters union. He thought they should give up some benefits when the County was facing a $200 Million shortfall.  He wanted them to decline bonus pay for transporting patients to hospitals and to skip cost of living raises because their past cost of living raises had exceeded increases in the cost of living.  He rejected proposals to find the money to avoid layoffs in a capital improvement fund.

He had other battles.  Steve Sisolak was willing to spend more when he thought additional spending was needed to get good work done.  He was accused of pro-union bias when he attempted to avoid awarding a contract to a lower bid firm for a Beltway Project because the lower bidder had numerous difficulties in other states.  He fought for diverting federal park funds in ways that he thought the funds would be better spent.  And he insisted on eliminating a Water District million-dollar contract with the Chef Wolfgang Puck for a Spring Preserve café.  Some of his quarrels were not about money at all.  He replaced appointed officials in two towns to the consternation of the supporters of the officials who were replaced.

He had declined to run for governor against moderate governor Brian Sandoval – insisting that he did not want to disrupt Sandoval’s movement toward adopting the Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act nor his efforts for increased education funding.  He was ready to run, however, when Sandoval declined to run. In 2018,  Steve Sisolak defeated extreme right winger Adam Laxalt 49% to 45%.  He was the first Democrat elected governor of Nevada since 1994.  He ran on increased education funding and signed a bill toward that end.  He ran on improving the state’s economy and tied the education funding to that.  He ran on improved access to health care and supported and signed into law bills that prohibited surprise medical billing, codifying insurance protection for pre-existing conditions and codifying women’s right to choose He supported additional funding for family planning services and transparency regarding the cost of medications. He advocates, among other things, an increased minimum wage, a statutory right to equal pay for women, guaranteed paid sick leave for care to children or the elderly, and increased ballot access for all Nevadans.

He has had one more public quarrel as governor.  This double-barreled quarrel involves both Covid and his second marriage.  In December, 2018, after his November election as Governor, Steve Sisolak announced his marriage to Kathy Ong, with whom he had had a five year relationship. She was a co-founder of Hobbs, Ong & Associates – one of Nevada’s leading financial consulting firms.  In August, 2021, a County Commissioner, without providing anything that resembled a fact, accused Kathy Ong Sisolak of profiting from the coronavirus.  The Commissioner claimed her family owned a company in China that had a financial interest in states imposing mask mandates. Steve Sisolak accused the Commissioner of anti-Asian bigotry.

Steve Sisolak, the quiet boy at the end of the bench for his Wisconsin high school basketball team, finds enough controversy as an adult in Nevada.  Nevada Democrats and national Democrats are glad to have him.  Careful financially, progressive on a variety of issues, his reelection is central to making Nevada a Democratic state.  His reelection, the reelection of Catherine Cortez Masto as US Senator, and the election of down-ballot Democrats in 2022 will solidify Nevada as a Democratic state.

Help elect a Democratic Governor in 2021

Virginia             Governors in Virginia are limited to one term, Terry McAuliffe is running to replace the Democratic governor who replaced him. The election is in November, 2021.

The Cook Report projects the following Democratic governors as Likely, or Leaning Democrat for 2022 rather than as Solidly Democratic.  We should protect those seats.

 Kansas              Laura Kelly (Toss up)

Maine                 Janet Mills (Likely D)

Michigan           Gretchen Whitmer (Lean D)

Minnesota        Tim Walz (Likely D)

Nevada              Steve Sisolak (Likely D)

Wisconsin        Tony Evers (Lean D)


We should be thinking about Republican Governors we can flip.  In some cases, we know who the Democratic nominee will be.

Arizona                     Secretary of State Katie Hobbs will be the nominee (Toss up)

Georgia                     Ex State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams will be the nominee (Lean R) even though she has not yet announced

Texas                         Ex Congressman Beto O’Rourke has just announced and will be the nominee (Let’s wait to see how people see the race now that Beto is in)

Pennsylvania        Attorney General Josh Shapiro has not announced, but, as PA Dems exercise internal discipline, he will be the nominee (Toss Up)

Arkansas                  African American Nuclear Engineer Chris Jones is making a stir in the Democratic primary for this open seat that would ordinarily be considered (Safe R)

In some states, we don’t know who the Democratic nominee will be

Florida               Ex Gov and Rep Charlie Crist and Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried are the principal competitors for the Democratic nomination (Lean R)

Ohio                   Mayors John Cranley and Nan Whaley have announced for this seat where the Republican governor is facing a primary challenge (Likely R)

Maryland          I count eight candidates so far for this formerly Republican open seat (Lean D)


Organizations to support

Democratic Governors Association (DGA)  Organizes to elect Democratic governors.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

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