Interview – John McKenna, Republican Incumbent Carson City Supervisor Ward 3



john mckenna carson city

John McKenna, Incumbent

(vs Lori Bagwell)

(This is a non-partisan race.  Both candidates are Republicans)


Website: None

Please post a short personal resume:

  • More than 30 years as an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Carson City School Trustee – 16 years
  • Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce – President 1996.
  • Carson City Debt Management Committee
  • Carson City Cable Commission
  • Carson City Audit Committee
  • Community Council on Youth



    • Carson City Supervisor


  • Organization / Committees as a Supervisor:


                   (RTC) Regional Transportation Committee

                   CAMPO – Carson Area Metropolitan Planning    Organization

                   Parks and Recreation Commission

                  Carson City (internal) Audit Committee

                  Carson Water Sub conservancy District

                  SB391 Community College Governance and Financing Legislative Sub Committee (appointed member)




  • Carson City Rotary Club – Member of Rotary for 22+ years
  • Tahoe Rim Trail Association – Master Trail Builder
  • Community Council on Youth 1990 – 1994
  • Chamber Business and Education Committee
  • Carson Access TV (Cat 10)
  • Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce – President 1996
  • Carson City Debt Management Committee
  • Carson City Cable Commission –
  • Carson City Audit Committee – volunteer
  • Community Council on Youth
  • Parks and Recreation Commission – volunteer




  • 1972 B. S. Accounting – University of Southern Colorado
  • 40 hours of Professional Education (CPE) every year for 30 + years.


NATIONAL DEFENSE – 1965 to 1968  Purple Heart for wounds received (caused by the enemy) in active ground combat against a hostile enemy force.

1. You are running as the incumbent. Define your strengths and why you would better serve Carson City in this position than your opponent.  

I currently serve Carson City residents as the Supervisor from Ward 3 and am running for another term. The primary reason that I am running for a second term is there are still things I want to accomplish to benefit the people of Carson City.  Plus, there are challenges facing the city that my education and experience as a financial professional can help.  The city needs someone like me, who is up to speed on effective solutions that will be implemented over the next few years.

As the economy improves delaying solutions is not cost effective. However, a prudent balance between restoring financial reserves and currently improving infrastructure must be struck.  Reserves were spent and infrastructure maintenance was delayed during my first term because of the poor economy.  These needs can be accomplished now with my leadership because of an improving economy and a new business like philosophy of city management.

The City is on the cusp of reviewing the methods of delivering services and making Carson City more efficient.  We have already seen changes to Animal Services that remove these activities from City employment.  The City is currently working on using private business to streamline Building Services and should have a positive announcement in September.  I have proposed having the management of the Open Space functions made more efficient and volunteer managed. Where the City cannot revise functions at a cost savings or to gain efficiency we are looking at reducing cost or gaining efficiency through regionalization.

As the local economy improves I am keeping my promise to reduce the Real Property tax rate.  Because of my insistence Carson City is the only county in Nevada that reduced the property tax rate this year.  Most of the other members of the Board listened to my reasoning that reducing the property tax rates is essential to the economic future of Carson City.  But, there will always be some who think that more money should be spent by government.  A concern is that the Legislature and most of Nevada’s governments share this philosophy of spending and there will be strong efforts in the Legislature to increase property tax. I plan on continuing to reduce this rate as revenue improves.

My strength that will allow the City to become more efficient with my continued service includes 30 plus years of high level independent business consulting and experience.  A proven success record in industry and government service (volunteer and elected) demonstrates an ability to work cooperatively with others with diverse philosophies to achieve a common goal of fiscal efficiency.  My cooperative leadership on the School Board which saved the District $11,000,000 proves that efficiency in government can be accomplished through effective leadership. This proven documented ability is needed now.

2. Give your assessment of Carson City’s current business climate.

Carson City’s current business climate is improving but has not returned to the level of 2006.  No one can predict what the future level of improvement will be and the timing of this improvement.  The changes to the business climate are determined materially by factors that are beyond local control.  The citizens of Carson City and business professionals will determine how the business climate improves, not government spending.  The City can help by making sure that cost effective public safety and public infrastructure measures are in place. It can also assist by being fiscally responsible and adhering as close as practical to the principals of basic economics. The Board of Supervisors and City Management must also work with Nevada to keep state functions and employees here in Carson City.  Nevada spending is an important component of our local economic makeup – we are the Nevada Capital.

It is critical that every voter carefully weigh the actual impacts of the Margins Tax.  This proposal has the ability to send the Nevada business climate into a new recession if it is implemented.  Personally, I am voting against it because it will cause a significant decline in business and jobs without providing the promised benefits.

New business and manufacturers are more likely to locate here if Carson City business and government can efficiently supply their basic needs in a cost effective manner.  City management must know what existing business needs from it so that real needs can be met and reality not speculation drives City spending in this area.  Carson City needs to insure that their regulation of business is at the bare minimum needed to effectively meet the requirements imposed on the City.

Carson City’s basic infrastructure such a Sewer and Water are an asset that will attract new business.  The improvements to utilities will spur economic growth.  The recent change in philosophy that requires rate payers to pay the actual cost of the service and not artificially subsidize these rates by artificial increases on business activities will continue to improve the business climate to all of Carson City’s benefit.  The City also needs to look at its business tax structure to improve business.

Major fundamental changes in the basic economic makeup of Carson City have taken place over the last ten years. Carson City’s home building industry ran out of large tracts of land.  This changed the city needs from those of a rapidly expanding community driven by an expanding population to a steady state population.  Another part of this change has to do with the way business is conducted in the United States and in the World.  Retail has been changed through the growth of the internet and delivery services.  This trend has also adversely impacted local builders because fewer retail buildings are needed and because of rapid delivery of goods, manufacturers do not need as much storage space.  Shipping is now more important than warehousing.  Carson City’s business climate is adapting to doing business in a world economy but there are those that do not embrace change.  Carson City government is changing to use modern methods and to be more responsive to changing business demands.

Education – especially Western Nevada College – is important to the citizens and business in Carson City, and the region.  Workforce Development attracts new business and retains existing business.  I have been involved in keeping WNC a viable asset and to improve its functions.

3. As a long-time Carson City Supervisor, what do you believe are your greatest accomplishments? What will be your greatest challenges in the next four years and how would you address them?

I guess one term as a Supervisor might be considered a “Long-time” when you look at the all the accomplishments during the last three plus years that have made the city government more efficient, effective, financially responsible, and responsive to the needs and wishes of Carson City citizens.  I consider my greatest accomplishment of this short period to be having a major role in changing the philosophy of Carson City government from reacting to situations and guessing at what the needs of citizens will be, to finding out what the actual needs and desires of local citizens and business are and effectively planning to meet these needs in a timely cost effective manner.  Changing from reactionary, which is inefficient, to being proactive and fiscally responsible.

I think that the greatest challenge facing me as a Supervisor will be creating more fiscal and operational efficiency in government.  In coming years there will be demands from all groups and interests for more services. Holding the line on the size of local government will be a challenge that I want to address.  Using modernization, partnering, and providing you the actual services you need, will help keep the City small and to the extent practical, reduce its size.

Reducing Real Property Tax rates will be a difficult challenge but it will be met.

Other challenges will be to efficiently deal with the backlog of deferred maintenance and needed upgrades caused by the recent economic crisis in a manner that will allow for the creation of adequate financial reserves while still modernizing your city.  Deferred maintenance ranges the entire range of City functions from Emergency Communication equipment and Sheriff vehicles, to parking lot sealing, and building roof repair, to Ambulance equipment and 911 service equipment, the list is long and is receiving attention.

4. It is a long campaign season. Many accusations and assertions are made by candidates. Are there any specific charges or assertions made by your opponent, or others, that you feel are inaccurate or unfair that you would like to answer to?  

When this campaign started I pledged that I would run a clean campaign, as I always have in the past.  The other candidate and her campaign manager also pledged to honor a clean campaign philosophy.  My campaign is and will continue to be about the actual facts and issues and what I can do and have done to make Carson City a better place to live, work, do business, raise a family, and to be old.  This is what I am about.  My record is open, public, diverse, frugal, effective and long.  I have been active in Rotary since the early 1990’s.  I was active in the Carson City Chamber of Commerce since I moved here in 1987 at least until 2000, including being Chamber President in 1996.  My non-elected public service included being one of the early officers of the Community Council on Youth back in the early 1990’s, Parks and Recreation, Audit Committee, and many other volunteer positions.  I have spent my free time involved in Carson City activities since I came here in 1987.  I do not want anything from Carson City except for it to be a great place for you and me to live.

The availability of factual information to the public in Carson City has declined over the last few years.  Elected officials and those wanting to further their power base at the expense of truth have taken to electronic media.  I ask that you trust me to deal with your matters in a quiet, honest, businesslike manner for your benefit and not my personal aggrandizement.  I am an intelligent, quiet, hard working person who does not believe that decisions based on politics and political rhetoric are good for Carson City.  Some web site creator, or other commentator will try to make me look weak or that I vacillate on decisions. I make good decisions based on actual facts and on sound economics, which are good for Carson City. My principals do not change and I do not seek to please others, but I do listen to them.  Most people that challenge my decisions in media either have not obtained the basic factual knowledge to understand the issue and solution, or have not talked to me to determine the factual basis for my decisions.  Most opinions that allege my personal weakness are simply a reflection of the author’s personal biased opinion, not reality. I simply ask that the voters ask me to explain my basis for an action (seek reality). It is very easy to contact me.  775.883.9036 or I am available and happy to talk to you or your group.

Editor’s Note:

I have asked Republican candidates in the Carson City District Attorney and Supervisor races & the Lyon County Sheriff’s and Commissioner races to participate in an online interview

The interview responses will be posted in full, unedited as submitted on NewsDesk (, the CCRW website ( and the Carson City Central Committee website (, and all other GOP associated websites that wish to do so.   The responses will be emailed to the membership of each organization, with reposting of any interview by interested parties strongly encouraged.

The purpose of these interviews is to allow our Republican candidates the opportunity to state their positions in their own words, describe how they differ from their opponent’s positions and why they would better serve their local government better than their opponent.

Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor NewsDesk (Est. January 2003)