News Column

N. Las Vegas Welcomes First Hispanic Councilman

July 2, 2013

North Las Vegas received an infusion of new leadership Monday evening when John J. Lee was sworn in as the new mayor and Isaac Barron was sworn in as the first Hispanic to ever serve on the city council.

Anita G. Wood, who was re-elected to the council this year after her first term, also received the oath of office.

The five-member council faces a host of challenges, including a budget crisis that has led to sharp cuts in city services and a slow crawl out of the housing crisis.

Lee, a former Nevada assemblyman and state senator, was elected in April. In a four-candidate race, he carried the election with 53.6 percent of the vote.

"North Las Vegas has a wealth of intelligence and we're going to use that," Lee said, referencing the many people he met with while campaigning for mayor.

"I must admit to you that we have our work cut out for us in North Las Vegas, and I alone can't do all that needs to be done," Lee said. "I'll need everyone's help to begin to define our community's future once again. We will finally take our place and become a productive regional partner to our sister cities and the Clark County Commission."

Lee has said one of his first actions will be forming the Financial Accountability for Community Transparency Commission, which will conduct a complete review of the city's finances.

Barron, a teacher at Rancho High School who has been actively involved in the community for years, was born and raised in North Las Vegas. The son of immigrants, his father was brought to the United States as part of the Bracero Program that imported labor from Mexico.

"If my parents could be here today, they would be a little bit shocked," he said. "They would be very proud. ... My parents believed in the American dream, and I think they'd be really happy."

Barron, who won a four-candidate primary before taking 59 percent of the vote in a June general election, said he hoped his election to the council would mean more Hispanic members of the community will attend council meetings and get involved in the community.

"We have to get our financial book in order. Then, I want to start serving our people. We need to bring back the services they need. Also, we need to help the city grow out of this financial situation by retaining businesses, attracting new businesses and opening up new roads (for investment)," said Barron, who was sworn in by Sen. Harry Reid, D Nev.

Anita Wood was elected to her second term on the council in April, when she won 52 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race.


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Source: (c)2013 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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