Becoming Governor: Thoughts from someone who's been there


Winning, turns out, could be the easy part.

“The period of euphoria is fairly brief,” Richard Bryan said from his corner office Monday, Nov. 12, high above Las Vegas. “On election night, you could walk to the moon. Next day, all of a sudden, you’ve got an administration to look for, and the time sequence is fairly short.”

That’s the perspective from Nevada’s 25th Governor, offering his own perspective one how the world will change for Nevada’s soon-to-be 30th governor.

Last week Steve Sisolak, the chairman of the Clark County Commission, beat Republican Adam Laxalt to become the first Democrat elected as Nevada’s chief executive since Bob Miller the 1990s.

Richard Bryan was a state lawmaker and later Nevada’s Attorney General. He led the state from 1983 to 1989 before heading to Washington to be our U.S. Senator from 1989 to 2001.

Bryan says Sisolak will be uniquely qualified.

“Well, first of all, he's had experience in administering the largest governmental entity in the state of Nevada except for the state itself,” Bryan says. “He knows the players, the leaders, those that are the movers and shakers as you will, and he is familiar with them, and they are familiar with him.”

Sisolak gets inaugurated Monday, Jan. 7.

He’s ready to go to work.

“The budget is always a major challenge for a new governor,” said Bryan.

The incoming governor will put his stamp on the budget that the outgoing governor, Republican Brian Sandoval, will leave behind.

“The Sandoval budget has already been constructed, but you still have time to make some major changes,” Bryan said.

News 3 got a glimpse last week of some of Sisolak’s priorities when he sat down for his first T.V. interview after being elected.

“The important things to me that are in the budget are the continued Medicaid coverage -- this is really, really important to me -- and the expansion of our education spending, getting marijuana monies in there and some other monies in there,” Sisolak said.

The legislature begins Feb. 4., and Sisolak will walk into a session with Democrats controlling both houses. So did Dick Bryan.

“Both houses were Democrat. Let me tell you, they weren't always a dream to deal with,” Bryan said.

Still, governor and lawmakers hit their stride, he said. The session lasts four months.

“I've often said, what's the happiest day in the Governor's life? As I said, irrespective of Democrat and Republican, it's when the state legislature adjourns,” Bryan said.

First comes inauguration, not quite two months away.

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