Rory Reid blasts Sandoval, lays out platform during Incline Village visit |

Rory Reid blasts Sandoval, lays out platform during Incline Village visit

Matthew Renda

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – Rory Reid fired a salvo of shots at both his Republican gubernatorial opponent and current Gov. Jim Gibbons, repeating his familiar “expensive suit” phrase while outlining his plan Wednesday for remaking Nevada’s educational system and using the renewable energy industry as a spark to reignite the state’s flailing economy.

Reid, the Democratic candidate for Nevada’s soon-to-be vacant governor’s seat, said Brian Sandoval, the Republican candidate, is all flash and no substance during a one-on-one interview with the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza before a public Q-and-A session at the home of Incline Village residents Barbara and Andy Whyman.

“He’s Jim Gibbons in a more expensive suit,” Reid said. “If Nevadans want another term of Jim Gibbons, vote for Brian Sandoval. I offer a completely different vision.”

Reid also took issue with Gibbons’ tenure in office, dubbing the current Governor “a failed leader.”

While Reid said he admired Gibbons’ ability to unswervingly stick to his political convictions, he said ideologues are incapable of governing well, as listening to others in a spirit of collaboration is an equally important skill for a leader.

“I will listen when it is appropriate, but I will push for ideas when I believe in them,” he said. “And I will not compromise on education.”

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Reid has made revitalizing Nevada’s education system – which bottom feeds among national rankings in many categories – the cardinal staple of his campaign.

His proposal centers on the idea of empowerment, meaning less interference from “bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and Carson City” and more decision-making autonomy for principals, teachers and parents in communities.

“The best decisions are made closer to home,” he said.

However, more decision-making power would result in more accountability, meaning if a school fails to meet standards under Reid’s plan, site teachers and administrators would be replaced.

“That’s what we do in America,” Reid said. “We provide freedom and demand responsibility.”

While Reid did not endorse the controversial International Baccalaureate program set to start in August at Incline’s public schools, he said if a consensus emerges in Incline Village that IB is right, then administrators should implement the program without consulting state or federal officials.

“If parents, teachers and principals want to bring IB to Incline schools, that’s what they should do,” he said.

Reid said Nevada needs to move away from tourism as a primary means of economic vitality, adding that having such a narrow fiscal portfolio means the state’s economy is susceptible to frequent boom-or-bust cycles.

The solution lies in Nevada becoming a leader in the emerging green sector, he said, by utilizing abundant natural resources the state already possesses.

“Why are we trucking in coal from Wyoming and Montana when Nevada has 300 days of sunshine, making it one of the highest concentrations of solar potential in the United States?” he asked. “We are second only to California in the amount of geothermal energy we produce on an annual basis and there is potential to produce more.”

Reid said sector investments will create short-term contracting jobs, which will lead to long-term manufacturing jobs, thus leading to research and development jobs that will turn into a robust university system working in concert with the private sector.

It’s a self-perpetuating cycle which could help Nevada escape the boom-or-bust economy, Reid said.

Investment in new energy will not only create job growth, Reid said, but will lead to a clean and sustainable economy that protects Nevada’s No. 1 asset – the great outdoors.

“I love Nevada intensely; I’ve fished in every lake in the state,” he said.

One of those lakes is Tahoe, which he called one of the most beautiful in the world.

“Lake Tahoe is what I think of when I think of Incline Village,” he said. “Tahoe is utterly unique. It has intrinsic value due to its beauty, but it is also a magnet for tourists and an incredibly important place for scientists to conduct environmental studies.”

If elected, Reid would be tasked with appointing at least one person to the federal, bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board – a responsibility he takes seriously.

“The TRPA’s mission is praiseworthy,” he said. “Lake Tahoe is an important national asset and I pledge to make sure the right people are in the right place to make the right decisions.”