I am honored to be called to serve in the Biden-Harris Administration as Senior Advisor to Governors within the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In many ways, I will work on the same issues I have during my time in elected office: to ensure that the American Dream can be reached by all who seek it in Nevada and our country. While I look forward to transitioning to the White House in the late fall, I will continue to serve in my current role as Lieutenant Governor until that time comes.
It is with bittersweet emotion that I begin to transition to this role. I have served this state I love for more than ten years in elected office. Working with and for Nevadans fills me with hope and gives me faith for the future. Traveling throughout the state, I met small business owners who have remained resilient in the face of incredible economic hardship. I have met working men and women who stepped forward during this pandemic and offered a helping hand, again and again. I have met school children who dream of making the world a better place, and in whose eyes I see the promise of a better tomorrow.
An elected official is a public servant who is only as good as the people she works with. Though it is not possible to recognize all those who have helped me along the way, answered my calls, given me guidance, or even just put up with me, there are a few who I think deserve special mention.
Diana Vansickle managed the state’s investments during the Great Recession. In spite of having no role in the financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, she took responsibility anyway. After I refused her resignation, she came to work before five and left long after dark, making sure the state had enough money to pay its bills. She went gray in thirty days but kept the state’s money safe. I am forever grateful.
Sheila Salehian managed the state’s prepaid tuition program, a program then languishing in quiet obscurity. She saw the value of providing Nevadans a safe and affordable way to save for college. Though we had no budget for it, she visited every school she could, made a flyer with pictures of Treasury staff children, ensured I went on every early (and I mean early) morning show in Nevada to tell parents and grandparents that they could save for their children. To this day, Nevadans come up to me to talk about our great prepaid tuition program. Promise made, promise paid.
Sandy Dombrowski has worked as my executive assistant in both the Treasurer’s Office and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, and somehow made it all work. Phones, computers, travel, files, letters, and sometimes tissues, she made it look so easy and seamless. The best call I received on election night in 2018 was from her. “I’ll be there,” she simply said, and it was all I needed to know.
Michael Cullen joined my team in the midst of the 81st Legislative Session as our Policy and Legislative Director. He quickly became a critical part of my team, proving to be an invaluable asset and trusted advisor.
Christina Lopez, my fearless Chief of Staff, has served in my office since my inauguration in 2019. I gave her intractable problems, only to have her embrace them and solve them. She built consensus where others said none could be had. She made my office shine, she made me look good and she pushed me to focus on what really mattered to be better at my job.
I remain upbeat about the future of Nevada because of the work Governor Sisolak and the legislature have done to bring Nevada to this moment of opportunity. While protecting Nevada workers with right to return legislation, recognizing the value of clean energy to our economy, boosting Nevada’s education budget by an additional $500 million, and ensuring the integrity while expanding access to voting, our Governor and legislature has positioned Nevada for economic growth and a vibrant future.
Most of all, I thank Nevadans – south and north, rural and urban – for putting their trust in me as one of their elected servants. Nevada will remain my home. Though I will soon head to our nation’s capital to serve this Administration, I shall always be a westerner. “Way out in the land of the setting sun… Home means Nevada to me.”