Sisolak's Plans: A sit-down with Nevada's governor-elect

Steve Sisolak (KSNV)

Tuesday night, the head of the Clark County Commission became one of seven Democrats around the nation elected Governor.

“Dealing with hundreds and hundreds of emails and text and congratulatory notes. Got some sleep yesterday for the first time in a long, long time, so it felt good,” Steve Sisolak told News 3 Thursday at his office at the Clark County Government Center.

He tells me his promotion is still settling in.

He beat Republican Adam Laxalt Tuesday night by four points to become the first Democrat headed to the governor's office since Bob Miller left it in the late '90s.

Laxalt, currently Nevada's Attorney General, called him Tuesday night.

"I appreciate him calling. It's a tough call. I've been on that side where you lost and you're really disappointed. And he clearly was. He expressed that to me and wished me luck and it was a relatively short call," says Sisolak.

That's in the past. What's in the future is an inauguration on Jan. 7, and a new legislature on Feb. 4.

Sisolak will build on the budget outgoing that Gov. Brian Sandoval is putting together.

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

Sisolak also has other priorities. On a day America saw another mass shooting, and with memories of ours still fresh, “we’re gonna try to get background checks implemented as quickly as we possibly can cause that's important to me,” he says.

Nevada voters passed background checks in 2016. It has yet to be implemented because Laxalt says the language in the initiative was flawed and the system it calls for could not be carried out by federal authorities.

Critics have said Laxalt and the current administration are guilty of stalling implementation.

In the meantime, the governor-elect is assembling his transition team.

“I'm gonna really focus on being bipartisan, bringing everybody together. I mean, the state has gone in a fractured way too far too long,” said Sisolak.

He says he plans to resign his seat on the commission, which he’s held for 10 years, in January. The governor appoints a replacement of the same party, and depending on the timing, the governor could be him.

He has a tough act to follow: a very popular Republican, Sandoval, who leaves the state in better shape than he found it.

“I've got enormous respect for the governor and the team he's assembled up there. I mean, we're on the same side of an awful lot of issues,” Sisolak says.

Soon it will be Sisolak ’s job, Nevada's 30th governor, to keep this state moving forward.

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