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Primaries on both sides of the aisle in AD29

A lawyer is challenging incumbent Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, D-Henderson, while two Republicans are fighting to see who will advance to the November election in Assembly District 29.

The district is centered in Henderson, north of the 215 Beltway.

Cohen is an attorney who mostly handles family law cases.

She says on her campaign website she has worked to improve schools and to move Southern Nevada “forward on a clean energy economy” and that she has voted for background checks “to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals, domestic abusers, and dangerous terrorists.”

If she could accomplish only one thing in the next legislative session, Cohen said she would continue state efforts to bolster affordable housing in Nevada.

She also said she has a history of working across the aisle to pass bills “that are good for Nevadans.”

Joe Dalia

She’s being challenged in the Democratic primary by Joe Dalia, also a lawyer, who said the main issue that prompted him to run is education.

He said he has three young daughters and is “deeply concerned” about the education system, adding it is in the grips of an “unprecedented” educator and support staff shortage.

Dalia said he wants to address teacher compensation and violence in schools. He also wants to reduce “administrative hurdles” that educators deal with, adding he believes many of them feel “unsupported” and “unheard.”

If Democrats end up in the minority in the Assembly, Dalia said the issues he’s focused on, including economic diversification, are not as “deeply partisan” as others and would let him work across the aisle.

Rhonda Knightly

On the Republican side, Rhonda Knightly, an administrative officer with the city of Las Vegas’ public safety department, said she decided to run after three GOP members of the Assembly asked her to consider it.

Knightly said she “completely” believes in absentee voter requests, but she does not want to mail ballots automatically to every active registered voter, which she contends is a waste of money.

If Republicans are in the political minority in the Assembly, Knightly said that lawmakers, no matter their party, need to solve issues and listen to both sides of every argument.

“We need to be able to make intelligent, well-thought-out decisions,” she said.

Natalie Thomas

She’s being challenged on the GOP side by Natalie Thomas, a stay-at-home mom, who said she decided to run because she’s been involved with “grassroots movements” for two years. She said her political involvement included an effort to recall Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Thomas said that she wants to bring more transparency to government, noting she normally hears about bills only after they’re approved, not while they’re being considered, and that if Republicans are in the minority in the Assembly, she would have open communication.

It’s a tough political climate, she added, and she assumes not everyone is going to get along.

“I’d have to grit my teeth and work with everyone,” she said.

As for getting support from lawmakers on her ideas, she said she would work closely with her community and “present the best case that I can,” including by showing examples from other states.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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