In 1993, after costs charged to businesses for workers injury insurance had been held down by the state for many years, resulting in huge unfunded liabilities, the Nevada Legislature adopted a plan that, thanks to corporate lobbyists, dumped much of the burden of making the system solvent on workers instead of on the businesses that had gotten years of below-cost rates. Assemblymember Chris Giunchigliani fought against that plan, taking on a governor of her own party. After the Assembly, with its Democratic majority, voted against Giunchigliani’s reforms, the late Washoe Assm. Bernie Anderson stood up and apologized to her for so many legislators who abandoned her.

It was not the first battle Giunchigliani fought, nor the last time Anderson praised her courage. In 1999, when she introduced legislation decriminalizing marijuana, Anderson said, “I always admire someone who has the courage to … put this issue forward. It’s been misrepresented for a long period of time.” She was ahead of her time.

She now runs for governor, facing fellow Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in the Democratic primary.

On issues from guns to reproductive freedom, Giunchigliani has followed her conscience and values while Sisolak adjusts his stands to his latest political needs. In public office, his record has been lackluster. No one can seem to remember a single initiative for which he was responsible as a Nevada regent. Her achievements are scattered throughout Nevada’s lawbooks.

He received an A-minus grade from the National Rifle Association. She contributed $2,000 to the ballot measure to require background checks on more gun purchases. He made a showy effort to exploit the Las Vegas concert shooting by setting up a GoFundMe page with his name all over it. He says he changed his mind on guns after Newtown. She didn’t need to. And suppose the wind shifts again—what will he do then?

Sisolak helped ram through the corporate welfare for the Raiders stadium. She opposed it.

This last is a very revealing issue. Sisolak, because of his regent service, paints himself as an education advocate. Yet he supported the room tax increase to pay for the Raiders stadium. In Clark County, 38.7 percent of the room tax goes to education. In effect, he diverted that amount from schools. He would argue that without the stadium, the tax would not have been hiked. That would still have been preferable to throwing it down the black hole of the stadium, given evidence that around the nation, 78 percent of stadium costs end up being picked up by taxpayers.

Between these two candidates, only one has the ability to do something leaders must do—tell the public what it does not want to hear. While Giunchiigliani has spent a career leading, Sisolak has spent his career walking on eggshells and pandering to big money, and it has paid off for him—all year, Democratic Party leaders who should have known better have tried to undercut Giunchigliani, with former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid reportedly cutting off her money from large givers, even though Sisolak can pay for the campaign from his personal fortune.

Many Nevadans have difficulty pronouncing Giunchigliani’s name. Phonetically, it is june-killy-onny. In reality, just call her a leader.

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