Mayor Hillary Schieve was elected to her third term against her challenger George “Eddie” Lorton. Election results as of Nov. 15 show that Schieve received 52,510 votes against Lorton’s 36,392, or 59.07% versus 40.93%.
In a phone interview this week, This Is Reno asked the mayor a few questions about what she has done so far and what her plans are for the next four years.
When asked about what the biggest challenges facing Reno are, Schieve said that regional fire response time is at the top of her list.
“About 10 years ago, there was a massive fire divorce between the county and the city. It created a lot of boundary restrictions of where fire trucks could respond based on jurisdiction,” she said. “People don’t care what color the fire engine is and they don’t care about the logo. They want good response times because it could save their lives or their home.”
Other issues the mayor said she would like to focus on are affordable housing, creating good paying jobs and mental health. These are issues Schieve said have been needing some of the most attention to better help the citizens of Reno.
“I think if you really want to be innovative you have to try new things.”
When asked about what were some of her achievements in the last eight years, the mayor focused on a few issues ranging from revitalizing Midtown, investing in affordable housing, and creating sustainability of the river. The initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic to get people more access to telehealth for both physical and mental health issues was something she said she was also very happy with.
Speaking about the criticism that she has received during her two terms, she mentioned that being mayor doesn’t give her the right to decide what happens unilaterally.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that the mayor is just part of the council and they don’t have executive power,” she said. “I think people tend to think that the mayor runs the city, which we’re a strong form of city manager government. In some ways I think the title can be a little misleading.”
Talking about her time as mayor so far, Schieve said that one thing she would do differently is try to hyperfocus on one thing at a time instead of trying to work on multiple projects at once.
Also speaking about the motels that have been demolished in the last few years, Schieve said she wished she had documented the motels better for people to see what kind of living conditions people were dealing with as well as how expensive the rents were.
While discussing some complaints of transparency, such as public records, archive meeting materials and decision making processes for development, Schieve mentioned a lot of these issues were related to accessibility due to technological shortcomings.
She said that it shouldn’t be so difficult or take as much time as it does to receive meeting minutes or any other public records.
In response to her past enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies, NFTs and blockchain, especially considering that now these industries have experienced such high volatility and bankruptcies, Schieve explained how she saw this going forward for Reno.
Since the financial markets are so volatile and new, it is important to approach them with careful consideration, Schieve suggested.
The technology of blockchain is more interesting and possibly more important for the future of politics, she added. Voting systems via blockchain might be something that becomes a reality, and it can serve to modernize current practices.
Schieve said she believes technology and innovation should be embraced and used to make things work better than they do now.
“I think if you really want to be innovative you have to try new things,” said Schieve. “Are you going to fail? Yes, but if you don’t fail, how will you ever know what works and what the future looks like.”