KEN GRAY – CANDIDATE LYON COUNTY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 3
Lyon County must live in their district, but are voted on countywide.
There are three candidates running for the District III commission seat – Ken Gray, incumbent Ray Fierro both responded to the interview request. Candidate Charles Shirley did not respond.
With only Republican candidates filed for this race, the winner of this seat will be determined in the Primary. The winner’s name will be placed on the General Election ballot unopposed.
1. Please provide a short personal resume, including how long you have lived in Lyon County.
I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1986 and reported for Active Duty after graduating high school. Throughout my 26 years of service, my career covered both Active Duty and Reserve assignments. During my first 4 years of service I was assigned to civil engineering units in the United States and Europe. Following those assignments, I became a Flight Medic and served in a medic capacity for the next 22 years. As a medic, I was able to serve in assignments throughout the world including 5 deployments to combat areas. I retired from Active Duty in September 2013 as a Chief Master Sergeant.
My wife and I moved our family to Dayton in 2003 where we have raised our two wonderful daughters. Katelyn, our oldest graduated from Dayton High School, went to WNC and has just enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Hannah, our youngest is a Freshman at Dayton High School and is an award winning dog musher. She was named the Pacific Northwest 3 Dog Sprint Champion for 2016. My father and brother both live with us and my sister is a resident of Stagecoach.
I have an extensive background in leadership and management. This background includes graduate work at Chapman University, but more importantly, many years of real world experience and application.
2. Explain why you are better qualified to serve in this position than your opponent(s).
Far, far too often today, politicians lose sight of whom they represent and are far too concerned about getting reelected. To that end, as an elected representative of our county, I will always do what is in the best interest of our residents. I will not act in my best interest, the best interest of a special group, or the best interest of the government. Further, I will regularly communicate our residents and be willing to listen.
3. With the completion of U.S. Parkway from I-80 and the Reno-Tahoe Industrial Park to US 50 in Silver Springs now in the foreseeable future, it is predicted this will have a huge impact on residential development in Lyon County. To try and meet these future challenges, the County has been working on updating their development codes (Title 15) for what now seems an eternity. What would be your response to those asking what is/why the delay in adopting these updated development guidelines?
My response as to why it has taken so long to adopt Title 15 is because it really isn’t something that should be passed as it was written. The document far too large, overreaches its’ authority, intended scope, and goes well beyond on what it should, to the extent it could infringe on the rights of property owners. Further, it is too complicated and leaves any discretion to the government and not the property owner. However, we do need to align our codes with the master plan. This is imperative to creating an environment promoting industrial growth and development rather than stifling it. Title 15 should be broken up into individual titles. Each of the titles should be briefly written and any time there is ambiguity, it should always be decided in the interest of the property owner.
4. With an expected influx of new residents to Lyon County, particularly in the Silver Springs area, what do you see as the major challenges to the County in meeting this population growth?
The major challenges I see facing us with regard to the projected growth in the county are ones we are already facing. We will continue to struggle with providing services, the availability of water, and economic development. If we do not focus on economic development and building a strong environment for industrial development, we will continue to be a bedroom community for the larger counties that surround us. This will increase the stress on required services and water.
5. Approximately 85-percent of Lyon County is comprised of public lands. Do you have any issues with federal ownership and policies related to these lands? Elaborate.
I have always been at odds with the federal government “owning” public lands. They should be caretakers and good of it for us. As it stands now, “public lands” really means off limits to the public. Many of these lands could be converted to areas that would contribute to economic and industrial growth supporting the communities within which they lay.
6. What is your view in regards to the City of Fernley’s failed bid to receive what they term as “their fair share” of SCCRT funding from the County?
The issue of Fernley and the SCCRT is unfortunate for all involved. I believe this issue will continue to raise its ugly head again and again. Not having direct knowledge of what the original written and possible verbal agreements were, I would definitely want to review the situation Fernley is in. The county should do everything possible to assist Fernley. The county should ensure what they are doing is both “just” and legal. As a county, we are in financial crisis. No one community should have to suffer more than another.
7. Lyon County’s revenues versus budgetary needs continue to be a challenge. What would you propose to improve the County’s obviously weak tax base?
Like the state of Nevada as a whole, Lyon County needs to diversify its’ economic engine. We have relied too heavily on property owners and agriculture to meet our budgetary requirements. We must create an environment where capital investment will be seen as safe. To do that we need to improve the way we issue permits, consider providing tax incentives, and work with our educational institutions.
8. Lyon County could be facing some major mining activities in the coming years, particularly in the southern portion of the county. There has been considerable controversy in regards to mining operations in the Comstock area, primarily because of its location to residential properties. What is your position in regards to mining exploration and activities?
Generally speaking, I am pro-mining. It has been a backbone of Nevada for over 150 years. Mining could prove to be a very important factor in our economic survival. However, as with any operation of this magnitude, care must me exercised to ensure all involved parties are protected to the greatest extent possible.
9. What do you view the role as of the Lyon County Land Use Master Plan
The Land Use Master Plan should be the collective vision of THE CITIZENS. It should reflect their vision for the future of our county. It should promote economic development, provide guidance for the appearance and character of our county, guide the development and use of resources in the best interest of the citizens of the county, while balancing private interests.
10. If there is some issue you want to comment on that is not noted above, here is your opportunity:
The following is not a personal attack on Mr. Fierro but on his record. He has been in office now for six years and we are as bad off now as we were when he assumed office. We are still cutting budgets and services, hampering the development of business and industry, and most importantly raising taxes. A few highlights of Mr. Fierro’s tenure include, voting to raise our property taxes to the max extent allowed, voting in favor of raising his own pay, and at the April Lyon County Republican Central Committee meeting, voicing his support of lifting the 3% property tax cap.
It is time for a change, and I ask the voters of Lyon County to vote for me, Ken Gray on June 14th.
EDITOR: This is one in a series of online interviews with Republican candidates. All Republican candidates with Primary races were contacted – US Senate, US Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, Carson City Mayor and Lyon County Commissioner. The responses are posted as the candidates presented them to me – no editing. These interviews will be posted in no particular order and, obviously, all races are not of interest in everyone’s particular district; however, NewsDesk readership (www.ndbynd.com) is spread throughout the state so all responses will be posted. You are welcome to repost any of the interviews as long as proper credit is given to NewsDesk.
Primary election day is Tuesday, June 14, 2016. If the candidates in a particular Primary all belong to the same party, the winner will be determined in the Primary and go to the General Election ballot unopposed.
Dates to remember:
- May 14 – Last day to register to vote by mail
- May 24 – Last day to register to vote in the Primary
- May 28-June 19 – Early voting
- June 14 – Primary Election