LAS VEGAS — Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt made his gubernatorial aspirations official Wednesday in Las Vegas where he spoke to a crowd about personal matters, including his struggle with alcoholism and family history, as well as his vision for turning Nevada into the most economically prosperous state in region.
Laxalt, the presumed GOP front-runner, plans to visit the state’s 17 counties in the span of a week to promote his bid to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval. State Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Las Vegas bicycle shop businessman and political newcomer Jared Fisher are also seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
“Nevada must be the most economically competitive state in the American West,” Laxalt told the crowd of about 200 people gathered at the warehouse of a janitorial supply distribution company. “It must be a place where businesses can thrive, our families can prosper and every Nevadan can work towards a better life.”
Without providing any specifics, he called for “smart reforms that keep taxes low,” as well as limit regulations, lead to job growth, attract entrepreneurs and prepare the workforce with the skills for well-paying jobs.
Laxalt, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, has served as the state’s chief prosecutor since 2015. He is the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt of whom he spoke of during the at-times personal speech that also mentioned having being raised by a single mother and meeting his father, New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, as an adult.
Laxalt had to postpone his announcement for a month after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place Oct. 1 on the Las Vegas Strip.
On Tuesday, Laxalt declined to tell reporters whether he would push to protect the state’s Medicaid program, whose expansion under former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was embraced by Sandoval. The expansion has allowed more than 200,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable Nevadans to gain coverage.
A crowd of about two dozen protested outside the warehouse that hosted Laxalt’s event. They chanted and held a sign that read: “Laxalt: extremist unethical incompetent.”
The gubernatorial hopeful also addressed long concerning topic for Nevada residents: the consistent low performance of public schools. He suggested finding solutions “that would create choices, not restrict them.”
“Your address may determine where you sleep at night, but it cannot be the primary factor in determining the type of education our kids receive.”
Democrats Chris Giunchigliani and Clark County Commission colleague and chairman Steve Sisolak have said they will seek their party’s gubernatorial nomination.