Brian Sandoval Moves On By Ken Adams, CDC Gaming Reports January 16, 2019 at 8:45 pm Beginning in 1996, Brian Sandoval was Nevada Assemblyman, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, Attorney General of Nevada, a judge serving in the United States District Court or the District of Nevada and in 2011 he became Nevada’s 29th governor. Throughout his twenty plus years in politics he was always considered among the best and brightest, a rising star. Nationally, he was considered for a Supreme Court nomination and as a vice presidential candidate on the ticket with Donald Trump; he declined both of those opportunities. Although Sandoval is a Republican in an increasingly blue state, he is in all ways a “favored son” and remained very popular to his last day in office. In 2013, I was flying between Las Vegas and Reno when Brian Sandoval, in his first term as governor, boarded the plane late and ended up sitting in a middle seat. Sandoval got on alone. He did not have a guard or an entourage and he got no preferential seating. He acted like an ordinary Nevadan, took his seat and talked to his neighbors; he was what Nevadans expect of their elected officials. Nevada is a very small state with very little political influence in Washington, D. C. Occasionally, someone like Harry Reid rises to a position of power. When that happens, Nevadans treasure the opportunity. It means, for example, federal assistance to lower the train tracks in downtown Reno, help with the Core of Engineers when Reno was desperately trying to control the Truckee River during peak runoffs and hundreds of other projects throughout the state. A person in a national position of power can do a great deal to assist fellow citizens with the federal bureaucracy. Outsiders could never understand why Nevadans supported Harry Reid. It was easy – if we needed him, he took our calls. Harry got old and retired, but we had hope with Brian Sandoval, our new star on the horizon. He promised to be our brightest star ever, outshining even former congressman, governor and Ronald Regan’s best friend, Paul Laxalt. Sandoval had what it takes; charm, political savvy and he understood Nevada and Nevadans. He understood us because he talked to us, he listened to us. Over his two terms as governor, I saw Brian Sandoval several times and twice talked to him. Once, in passing, at a public gathering I had the opportunity to tell him I had written a piece about him, Brian Sandoval: The Middle Seat Governor. The second time was at my nephew’s graduation. In 2014, my nephew graduated from ACE High School, a trade school. The graduation was in a small events center next to the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City. Governor Brian Sandoval and his family attended the graduation and stayed for lunch. There were about twenty young people graduating and the governor shook their hands and spoke to each one, wishing them well. I went up to him afterwards to tell him why I had written about him. Brian Sandoval was accessible to all Nevadans. We could talk to him anytime we saw him and we did see him because he was involved in our lives. By now, you have probably heard that Brian Sandoval is leaving politics and going to work for MGM Resorts. In his new capacity he will be attempting to help MGM get a casino license in Japan and assist the company in any way he can as it spreads into sports betting in this country. MGM thinks it has found the perfect person for both of those jobs and Sandoval thinks MGM is the right company for him as he moves off into the private sector. I am sure that both are correct in their assessment of the other. Still, the decision makes me slightly uncomfortable and part of me wishes it were not true. I think the announcement came too soon on the day after he left office, and that means he must have been planning the move while still governor. But that is not what makes me uncomfortable. Nevada is losing a valuable asset, one that will be hard to replace. I am sure the new governor, Steve Sisolak will do a fine job and so will our newly elected members of Congress. However, none of the others bring the same promise to Nevada. Did we not think he might run for president and did we not think he had a chance, even when in our heart of hearts we knew no Nevadan was ever likely to become president? Can you just imagine a Middle Seat President, attending a small tech school graduation, shaking hands and eating off a paper plate? The loss of that possibility is enough to make a grown man cry.