by April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current
Nevada Gaming Commissioner Ben Kieckhefer will be chief of staff for the Joe Lombardo administration, the governor-elect announced Monday.
Kieckhefer, a Republican, served in the Nevada State Senate from 2011 until fall of 2021 when he resigned and was appointed to the Nevada Gaming Commission by Gov. Steve Sisolak. His district covered Carson City and part of Washoe County.
Kieckhefer is also the director of client relations for the law firm McDonald Carano.
In his announcement, Lombardo praised Kieckhefer’s “exceptional leadership, unmatched integrity, and extensive legislative experience” and said he will be “an important part of our success in Carson City.”
Kieckhefer served in state senate leadership positions – both when Republicans were the minority party and when they were the majority party. As a state legislator, Kieckhefer was known as a moderate Republican and bridge-builder. He sat on the Interim Finance Committee, which approves and oversees financial decisions when the full Legislature is not in session.
During 2021, Kieckhefer sponsored a trio of “good governance” proposals, including the creation of an independent redistricting committee and open primaries. He has also sponsored legislation related to blockchain technology, government oversight and education. According to his professional bio, his legislative accomplishments include helping create the state’s first need-based scholarships for community college students and the development of alternate routes to licensure for K-12 teachers.
Lombardo will be governing with a state Legislature controlled by Democrats.
“I’m humbled by Governor-elect Lombardo’s trust in me, and I’m excited to have another opportunity to serve Nevada, a state I love so deeply,” said Kieckhefer in a statement. “Under Governor-elect Lombardo, I’m confident that this administration will deliver innovative solutions and historic victories for our great state.”
According to the press release announcing his selection as incoming chief of staff, Kieckhefer will resign from the gaming commission once Lombardo is sworn into office in January.
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