Nevada NewsMakers

News - May 24, 2018 - by Ray Hagar

By Ray Hagar

Nevada Newsmakers

State Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said Thursday he will seek the leadership role of the Republican senate caucus for the 2019 session of the Nevada Legislature.

"I am going for leadership and we'll have that vote after the election to determine who will be the best to lead us during the session," Settelmeyer said on Nevada Newsmakers

Settelmeyer acknowledged he may be in a competition for the post with Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, since Kieckhefer has been the assistant caucus leader. State Sen. Michael Roberson, who has led the GOP senate caucus since 2013, is running for lieutenant governor in 2018, the same year is term is up in the state senate.

When asked if he would have to "leap frog over Kieckhefer to be elected as leader, Settelmeyer said:

"It is not a question of leapfrogging," he said. "We just have different leadership styles and different views on the future of the state of Nevada, potentially."

Settelmeyer was first elected to the Legislature in 2006 as an assemblyman from Douglas County. He was then elected to the senate in 2010. Kieckhefer was also elected to the senate in 2010 but did not serve in the Assembly.

"When you look at it, I have over 12 years in this process and in that respect, he actually has less," Settelmeyer said. "So there is a question of leapfrogging, maybe I'm the one who was leapfrogged. Maybe he is. Who knows?"

Settelmeyer said he may be more conservative than Kieckhefer.

"I just have an overall belief, I think, (that is) a little bit more conservative in my viewpoint of the future of the state of Nevada," Settelmeyer said. "I have had the good fortune of living here my entire life and I want to make sure that it is still the same state for the next generation and the generation thereafter.

"It is a question of viewpoint," he continued. "I come from a rural community and I think I just have a little bit of a different viewpoint on a conservative aspect."

Mary Lau, President and CEO, Retail Association of Nevada, said Settelmeyer would do well bringing together the senators in Nevada's North-South divide. Lau also disclosed that she lives in Settelmeyer's district and supports him.

"With James being a rural senator, he gets away from that north-south stuff that is discussed all of the time and he is able to work with both parties," she said.

Settelmeyer's leadership abilities were on display in the 2015 session, when the GOP was the majority party in the senate, Lau said.

"In the very short time that Republicans ruled, he was very well known for working with both sides of the aisle and bringing consensus and bringing some kind of a strength and dialogue," she said. "Not that Ben wouldn't, but he's got my vote."

Pat Hickey, the former GOP Assembly minority leader from Reno, said being the caucus leader may not be the most important thing for Kieckhefer.

"I don't think caucus leader is all that great of a thing," Hickey said.

"In the case of Ben Kieckhefer, he has been quite focused on cutting-edge legislative things with Blockchain (software platform for digital assets) and those things," Hickey said. "And he may find it (not being caucus leader) an opportunity to be more productive in getting his own legislation through and not having to ride herd over cats, which is what you end up doing if you are a caucus leader."

Settelmeyer faces Curtis Cannon, a Democrat from Carson City, in the general election.