Sandoval Says There Is A Lot of Work Left Before Term Ends
Governor Brian Sandoval has less than nine months left in office and he says he intends to make the most of it.
Governor Brian Sandoval has held office for more than seven years, and a lot has changed in that time. With less than nine months left in his second term, he says he has no intention of slowing down.
"I'm working as hard or harder than I ever have," Sandoval said.
The republican governor says his top priority is keeping schools safe. That is why he recently created a panel of experts to find solutions, hoping to prevent violence that has impacted many schools across the country. Superintendents, teachers, principals, police officers and many others are bringing their ideas to the table.
"There's been this conversation to harden schools in terms of single-point entry and perhaps more security, but I think there's another important point and that is softening and showing some compassion with regard to mental health, behavioral health for the students, and making sure the resources are there so that perhaps something doesn't escalate to a point where we have school violence," Sandoval said.
Sandoval created another task force to fight issues related to opioids. Lawmakers passed several bills during the 2017 legislative session to reduce the amount of addiction and overdoses caused by prescription drugs.
"We lose a Nevadan a day," Sandoval said. "That's one too many. I think the goal should be zero and if we could achieve that, that would be wonderful."
The legislature approved almost all of Sandoval's recommendations in 2017, and he is already working on the next session. He has until late August to finish his proposed budget for the next biennium, though a new governor will be in office.
"I'm going to build that budget as though I was going to be the next governor," Sandoval said. "We've gotten pretty good at this over the past seven years and we'll build it in a way that continues to fund education priorities, higher education and other priorities."
Sandoval prides himself on being a "hands-on" governor and has no intention of changing that until he leaves office. He chairs about a dozen boards and committees, while focusing on things like workforce development. Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College offer that kind of training, and the University of Nevada is expanding its College of Engineering to train future workers.
"We don't want to train people for jobs that don't exist," Sandoval said. "We want to train them to get into jobs that are good-paying jobs with benefits."
Sandoval says our state has established itself as a leader in the tech industry, bringing companies like Tesla, SWITCH, Apple and Google to northern Nevada. That includes testing for driverless cars and drones.
"This is all a conversation that wasn't in our vocabulary seven years ago and Nevada is in the forefront of that," Sandoval said.
Infrastructure is still a major priority for the governor, and getting federal money into the state could speed up some projects including broadband for rural parts of the state. Project NEON is a $1 billion project in southern Nevada that is being completed and the first electric highway in the country will run from Las Vegas to Reno, offering multiple charging stations for electric cars.
"We have a lot of projects in the pipeline," Sandoval said. "If the other states don't use their money, we have the opportunity to use that money for a Nevada project. That's going to help start the construction of the Spaghetti Bowl here in northern Nevada."
Sandoval says there is still a lot of room for improvement in our state and he says he has no intention of having a "lame duck" period as his term draws to an end.
"I understand that," Sandoval said. "That's part of the process but I've made a commitment to the people of Nevada and that is to work every day. I love my job. I mean it is a privilege and honor to serve in this position and I don't know any other way."