74.9 F

Commissioners pick Tatro to replace Kieckhefer, final decision comes Wednesday (updated)



Don Tatro was selected today by the Washoe County Board of Commissioners and Carson City Board of Supervisors for appointment to the vacant Senate District 16 seat. Tatro will serve the remainder of the current term of his predecessor, Ben Kieckhefer, who resigned in October.

He’ll be replaced in early 2023 when the winner of the November 2022 election for the seat is sworn into office.

Tatro will assume the committee positions held by Kieckhefer, which include the Interim Finance Committee, and will participate in the redistricting process to be taken up in a special legislative session in the coming weeks.

Despite a unanimous vote selecting Tatro for the appointment on Tuesday, Washoe County Commissioners weren’t in agreement today. They approved Tatro in a 3-1 vote with Commissioner Jeanne Herman opposing. Carson City’s Supervisors also had one dissenting vote from Mo White.

Original Story:

Washoe County Commissioners on Tuesday made their decision for who they would like to represent Senate District 16. Commissioners asked very few questions of the candidates and had minimal deliberation before selecting Don Tatro to move forward in the process.

The commissioners will meet alongside members of the Carson City Board of Supervisors Wednesday, Nov. 10 to make a final selection for who will serve in the Senate seat vacated last month by term-limited Ben Kieckhefer, who resigned to take a seat on the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Don Tatro

For the final decision, Washoe County will receive six votes and Carson City will receive four based on the percentage of the district within each community. Carson City Supervisors last week acknowledged that imbalance of votes made their role in the process largely irrelevant.

Upon selection, Tatro thanked Commissioners as if he’d already been appointed to the seat.  

“I will do my best in the upcoming session to represent this district. I appreciate your picking me today,” Tatro said.

“We look forward to you serving for us in the next 14 months,” Commission Chair Bob Lucey responded.

Tatro until recently was Executive Director of the Builders Association of Northern Nevada and has served on a number of government committees and advisory boards. He also worked in Washington D.C. for Senators John Ensign and Tom Coburn. 

Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, who represents District 26 and announced she plans to run for Senate District 16 in the coming election, was one of the more qualified candidates for the seat. Her intention to run for that seat and the need for her existing seat to be filled, should she be selected, are what made her a less attractive candidate, according to Lucey.

“Your experience speaks for itself. We know of you well and you have represented us in the legislature for years now and we are thankful for that,” said Lucey. “I think that you have a strong argument in the sense that you would be a strong advocate for us in that position; however, I cannot lose that strong representation in the Assembly just to move you to another house. 

“I think moving you to another house so that we can have an open seat does not do Washoe County any justice.”

Early in the process to fill the Senate seat Lucey said the priority would be to find someone to serve as a “placeholder” and who was not seeking election to the office in 2022. Tatro said he does not plan to run for the seat next year.

Carson City Supervisors last week unanimously selected former State Legislator Robert Weise to fill the vacancy.

Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.