Boyd School of Law to be Represented in 2010 Primary Election
No fewer than three Boyd School of Law alums and two students plan to enter the June 2010 primary for the Nevada legislature.
Most state and local political pundits expect the three incumbents to win reelection: John Oceguera '03, Democrat representing district 16; William Horne '01, Democrat representing district 34; and James Ohrenschall December'09, Democrat representing district 12. Democrat Venicia Considine '08 and Democrat Lucy Flores '10 are considered serious challengers.
John Oceguera: The most senior of the group is Ocequera. A native Nevadan first elected November 2000, he is the current assembly majority leader. He also is the Assistant Fire Chief of the North Las Vegas Fire Department and a member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe.
Ocequera was named the 2007 Consumer Advocate of the Year Award by the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association and was given the In Business Las Vegas 40 Under 40 Award.
"Each day, I try to do my best," he said. "Whether working as a paramedic responding to a heart attack or traffic accident, as a firefighter working to save a home or business, or as a legislator listening to testimony and reading letters from constituents, I do try my best."
The answer he gave to an interviewer in an earlier campaign is relevant for 2009 as well, "Finding ways to support working families is my first priority. I know that is a broad topic, but I look at every proposal to first see what impact it has on the finances and quality of life for average Nevadans."
William Horne: Second in seniority is Horne. After his election in 2002, he was named the Outstanding Freshman Assemblyman. In 2005, he was named one of the five most effective Nevada legislators.
Among the many bills Horne sponsored or co-sponsored are these four.
(1) Assembly Bill 79, a law that would prohibit public employees from using governmental time, property or equipment for a political campaign. He said,
"It’s important that our public officials and employees are held to a high standard, and your tax dollars should not go towards political campaigns. I hope this is a step in the right direction to restoring the public trust in our elected officials.”
(2) Assembly Bill 149 would provide funds for the prevention of the abuse of Methamphetamine, an addictive psychostimulant drug.
(3) Assembly Bill 194, seeks to protect victims of domestic violence by prohibiting adverse parties from having a firearm. William was honored by the Southern Nevada Domestic Violence Task Force for his work on this bill.
(4) He also was the chief sponsor of a resolution honoring United States Air Force Major Nicole Malachowski, one of Nevada’s Thunderbird pilots
As a student at the Boyd School of Law, Horn was elected president of Phi Alpha Delta, the international law fraternity, and he volunteered as a student attorney for the Child Welfare Clinic.
James Ohrenschall: The son of longtime legislator Genie Ohrenschall, James Ohrenschall was first elected in 2006.
During his relatively short time in office, he has been able to propose bill drafts designed to open car pool lanes to drivers in hybrids and to curb copper theft. In addition, he actively supports both a state registry of persons convicted of domestic battery and an effort to restructure the state's tax system that will bring stability to the budget process. He favors, for example, certain toll roads and a four-day work week for state employees.
The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund gave Ohrenschall an A+ grade and the Nevada Conservation League awarded him a perfect 100 percent rating.
While at Boyd, Ohrenschall was a semifinalist in the Clark County Bar Association Client Counseling Competition. He also was named to the Dean’s Honor List and was awarded an academic merit scholarship.
Lucy Flores: Flores is interested in the District 28 seat being vacated by Democrat Mo Denis, who plans to run for the state Senate.
She said she is motivated to seek public office in large part because "Nevada ranks near last in the country for High School graduation rates . . .. Meanwhile, we are trying to cut teacher pay, cut funding to art, music and P.E. classes, and even cut money from textbooks. Sadly, our schools are but one example of areas all over our state that need improvement. As a kid, my father taught me that it’s not right to sit on the sidelines and complain about a problem, hoping for somebody else to come along and fix it. So, when I heard that the seat in my district was coming open, I decided it was my time and to stand up and do my part to fix it."
Although Flores has not held public office, she has considerable experience working through the legislative process firsthand in Carson City, advocating for several bills and causes that are important to her. She said, "I believe my firsthand experience, my connection to the district, and my passion to take on these issues are the best tools I have to seek this office."
Among the issues Flores places at the top of her proposed agenda are a crumbling education infrastructure and the process for prioritizing highway construction projects. Simultaneously a passionate idealist and a grounded realist, she plans to enter the legislative fray will full force, but recognizes that "major changes to anything take time and patience."
Calling herself a "hopeful realist," she says, "Ultimately, my final goal is to represent the voice and the needs of the people in Assembly District 28."
Not surprisingly, her favorite quotation is this, "It's better to have tried and failed, then to have never tried at all."
Although still a student at the Boyd School of Law, Flores is the youngest person appointed to a two-year term on the nine-member Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs.
Venicia Considine: A Nevada delegate to Democratic National Convention in 2004 and a candidate for an assembly seat in district 18, Considine currently works in the Consumer Rights Project at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
Considine developed an interest in women's issues after her daughter, Sydny, was born in 2000, when she was surprised to see how few persons attended meetings of the Nevada National Organization for Women. Wanting to be part of the solution and not the problem, she increased her involvement with NOW, and was elected president of the Nevada chapter in 2009.
Unhappy with the policies of the Bush administration, she began making trips in 2001 to Carson City where she could observe the legislative process. She said, "I just wanted to see how things [in Carson City] were done. And I thought, if I can do this, anybody can." Then she realized the inverse: If anybody could do it, why couldn't she?
She was selected to be one of two students speakers at the December 2008 UNLV commencement.