Storey County Candidate Forum Held In Virginia City
Pipers Opera House hosted the first Storey County Candidate Forum of the 2018 political season in Virginia City. The rainy weather did not discourage county residents from showing up in force to hear the candidates discuss their platforms.
Over a hundred people in the audience were asked to submit questions to the candidates. Candidates not in the Primary had two minutes to introduce themselves.
Karen Woodmansee and Loren Purcell approved the questions submitted by the audience and Loren moderated the event.
General Election Candidates
Nicole Barde introduced herself as Candidate for Storey County Commissioner and described her 30 years of business and non-profit management. She shared her plans for moving forward that include conservative fiscal policy, growing and diversifying the county revenues, providing transparency and accountability to the residents and keeping ahead of the complexity that we face as a growing county.
School Board candidate Sam Toll explained his thoughts on the Jump Start Program and financial literacy. The Jump Start Program gets Storey County High School juniors and seniors into classes at the community colleges to get them ready for college and reduce the financial burden of college on families. He also explained the need for financial literacy curriculum. Kids take algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, while schools ignore basic life skills like knowing how to balance a checkbook or how credit cards can be dangerous.
Toll’s opponent Jeff Nevin was conducting a School Board meeting and was unable to attend.
Then the attention turned to the District Attorney’s Race as Storey County DA Anne Langer and challenger Dave Niedert took the stage.
Anne described the function of the department and how her department works with the Sheriff’s Office in investigations and prosecutions. She described her office as having a good working relationship with the Sheriff’s Office.
Dave Niedert explained that he decided to enter the race after talking do a Storey County Deputy who told him there wasn’t enough cooperation between the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office. Neidert has 28 years as a practicing attorney with much of that being a prosecutor in rural Nevada.
Storey County Commissioner
Storey County Commissioner Candidates were next. This was a bit awkward because incumbent Jack McGuffey was in Idaho for a NACO conference.
Loren Purcell read a statement from Commissioner McGuffey that included his commitment to returning excess money from the success of TRIC to the people of Storey County.
The first question fielded by Jay Carmona addressed that very issue. Mr. Carmona stated that based on his research of the budget, the rebates were pretty much not happening. (You can read more about the budget here, here, here and here.). It was super awkward for Mr. Carmona to answer his questions alone.
Storey County Sheriff
Most of the questions were for the Sheriff candidates. Candidates Cullen and Antinoro both shared their experience in Law Enforcement with Antinoro starting in 1984 and Cullen in 1994.
Antinoro mentioned his experience holding every job from jailer to Sheriff and heading state agencies during his career.
Cullen described his career starting as a Corrections Officer at the State Prison. He then joined the Carson City Sheriff’s Office. After stints as a detective and motorcycle cop, he is now Sergeant and day shift commander.
Some of the questions for the Sheriff Candidates surrounded the budget. The Teller has noticed an adversarial relationship with County management and the Sheriff’s Office surrounding the budget. While the Fire Department seems to get everything they could possibly need to keep the people of Storey County safe, attention to the needs of the Sheriff’s Office and the safety of the citizens of Storey County in terms of budgeting is not the same.
The people in the audience may feel the same way based on their questions about the budget. Candidates were asked how they would increase their budget in the coming years based on the need to get ahead of the policing requirements of TRIC.
Cullen suggested that there should be a minimum of two officers responding to traffic stops out at TRIC because “you never know when a traffic stop will turn into a gunfight”. Mr. Cullen assured the audience that he would work to establish a better relationship with the County Commissioners to get more funds for the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Antinoro reminded the audience of his excellent track record of fiscal responsibility and maximizing the use of the dollars he has to work with.
K9 and SWAT Teams
Candidates were asked about adding K9 and SWAT teams to the Storey County Sheriff’s enforcement tools at their disposal.
Mr. Cullen indicated that he was a big supporter of the K9 program and suggested that there were grant dollars and free training to add K9’s to the office. He told the audience he would implement a K9 unit quickly if elected.
Sheriff Antinoro indicated there was little to no need for K9 units and pointed to the amount of money and training that would need to be diverted from current uses. The impact on the deputy and the county would not provide a substantial improvement in safety especially since the crime statistics revealed that overall crime is consistently down over the last five years.
Similarly, Sheriff Antinoro did not support a SWAT team in Storey County. He suggested that with the dynamics of our county and the nature of the threats posed here, there is no real need for the time, effort, equipment, and training required to maintain a team.
Mr. Cullen backed off his original position he put forth at a recent event. During that event, he suggested that he would implement a SWAT team and lauded their benefit to the community. Cullen has nearly 20 years of experience being involved with the SWAT team in Carson City. At the forum, he echoed the Sheriff’s sentiment that SWAT teams could be dispatched from surrounding counties should the need arise and that he would not push for one if elected.
Department Morale and Leadership
Both candidates addressed their experience in leading a team of deputies and personnel.
Mr. Cullen explained that he has had people under his command for years and is currently the day shift patrol commander.
Sheriff Antinoro shared his decades of leading teams in many different departments and state agencies beginning in 1989. Mr. Cullen suggested this is a critical issue and he would represent a change from the way Sheriff Antinoro has run things.
Next up: Lockwood & Rainbow Bend
After the event, the candidates were able to talk one on one with members of the community. Folks talked for a good thirty minutes after the Sheriff candidates left the stage.
Karen Woodmansee and Loren Purcell are to be commended for their critical efforts in making this a success.
The next Storey County Candidate Forum is at the Rainbow Bend Clubhouse on Tuesday, May 29th at 5:00 p.m.