Cast of characters

You can’t keep score without a scorecard. Here’s the starting lineup for this year’s heated legislative session:

Jim Gibbons
Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

Jim Gibbons—Nevada’s embattled Republican governor is being called “irrelevant” by state higher-education-system Chancellor Jim Rogers, who’s made no secret of his disgust with the proposed $473 million cut to higher education.

Barbara Buckley—Assembly speaker and outspoken critic of all things Gibbons. Democrat Buckley has vowed that education is among her top priorities. How exactly she intends to salvage the system in the face of a $1.8 billion deficit remains a mystery.

The faces of legislature

Steven Horsford—Senate majority leader and Democrat. See Buckley.

Randolph Townsend—Republican state senator since 1982, much respected, and one of the casualties of term limits (his term expires after the legislative session this year), Townsend is seen as a possible candidate for Gibbons’ seat in 2010.

Bill Raggio—Republican Senate minority leader and currently the longest-serving member in the state senate at 36 years, Raggio has long supported a properly funded education system.

Billy Vassiliadis—Chief executive of R&R Partners, Vassiliadis represents gaming at the legislative level. He’s also a mentor to Horsford and has a good working relationship with both Buckley and Raggio.

Kathy McClain—Democrat assemblywoman and chair of the Assembly Taxation Committee, as well as a member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. McClain will be a big part of any taxation proposals during the 120-day session.

Steve Hill—Chairman of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and a member of Gibbons’ Spending and Government Efficiency Commission. Hill will be a big voice for business.

Sheila Leslie—Democrat assemblywoman and perhaps Speaker Buckley’s closest confidante, Leslie will be a strong voice for education, health and human services and continued opposition to Yucca Mountain.

John Oceguera—Democrat assemblyman and Assembly majority leader.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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