(Sara Michele Crusade) – The first town hall meeting for Senate District 9 and Assembly 13 was held on March 26, 2011, at the Siena Community Center in Summerlin. Senator Elizabeth Halseth and Assemblyman Scott Hammond addressed more than 70 constituents.
Dressed sharply in a black suit, Senator Halseth greeted attendees as they walked through the door to the auditorium, taking the lead in the discussion, and maintaining her reputation as one of the friendliest and most approachable legislators in Carson City. Assemblyman Hammond also demonstrated approachability, as he addressed each constituent during discussion by first name. Both Halseth and Hammond were open to all questions, forthright with responses, and willing to research information they were not up-to-date on.
Topics addressed during the town hall included trash collection, mining, and redistricting. On several occasions, questions were presented regarding pending legislation on gun rights; such as the campus carry bill, and AB123 which addresses changes to the necessary qualifications currently required for semi-automatic hand guns. Both Halseth and Hammond spoke in support of allowing CCW holders to carry on college campuses, stating that many students are on campus late at night, and campus police cannot be everywhere to protect everyone. Halseth recounted a story she heard from a woman who spoke before committee to discuss her rape on campus, which could have been prevented had she been able to use her CCW permit while in school.
Regarding a query about the budget, and whether or not Halseth and Hammond foresee success in balancing it, Halseth responded, “I am very optimistic about our budget.” Halseth stated she believes a balanced budget will be produced, and said that the legislators are working together about 90% of the time in a bi-partisan fashion.
Hammond took the lead on a discussion regarding redistricting, discussing the need to create equal districts, and stating, “There’s not much being done about redistricting at this time,” however, he reported he’s been tasked to work in a subcommittee on the issue.
Another town hall is scheduled for April 9, 2011, at the Grant Sawyer Building, 555 E. Washington Avenue, Las Vegas.
(Sara Michele Crusade is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has been published in the U.S. and Germany. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Email Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.)