Thursday, May 31, 2012


Two first-time candidates are competing to be the Republican choice for Assembly District 17.
Len Marciano, a retired schoolteacher and administrator, faces Patrick Mendez, a state correctional officer.
Whoever comes out on top in the primary will advance to face Democrat Steven Brooks in the general election. Registered Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans in the district.
Marciano believes his life experience makes him the better candidate.
"I have a handle on the issues and the people of Nevada," he said.
Marciano has worked on several Republican campaigns in the district. If elected, he will apply his professional experience toward helping improve the state's education system, he said.
"In the short term, we need to hire excellent teachers and hold them accountable."
Hiring highly qualified teachers from out of state would help, as would creating more competition among schools and giving parents more choices over where their children get educated, he said.
He also advocates passing a moratorium on new fees for small businesses to help increase the local economy.
Marciano holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in educational supervision and administration from Seton Hall University. He attended Rutgers University for post graduate studies in educational literature.
Mendez, meanwhile, said Marciano's experience is too narrow.
"It seems like his platform is solely based on education," he said. "When you represent the entire district, you really have to focus on a lot of issues."
If elected, Mendez said he would focus on helping diversify Nevada's economy.
"You can't rely solely on gaming and mining to pay for everything."
Nevada could become a magnet for high-tech companies with the legalization of online poker, he said.
Mendez, who was an Army reservist for nine years, also wants to give special incentives to military veterans looking to start businesses in Nevada.
To encourage them and other entrepreneurs, he advocates "letting a business flourish" before collecting fees from them.
Mendez has been taking classes at the College of Southern Nevada and plans to eventually earn a degree in criminal justice.

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