By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Guy Nohra, a Republican candidate for Nevada governor, has lived the American Dream. He became a successful venture capitalist in Northern California, after moving to Alameda from war-torn Lebanon as a teenager.
About six years ago, he moved to Reno and now, he has joined the crowded field of the GOP gubernatorial primary.
In his first foray into Nevada politics, he is seeking the highest office in the state.
He spoke like a man in a hurry Wednesday on Nevada Newsmakers when asked why he’s starting with the governor’s office instead of running for a local or county office.
“I think you wouldn’t know me if you’d think that I would start at the bottom and work my way up,” he told host Sam Shad.
Nohra, however, said had worked his way up as a venture capitalist, “when I was a much younger man.”
As he enters the political arena, the time is now for Nohra.
“But you know, A) the state doesn’t have the time and; B), I don’t have the time and; C), I’ve managed complex organizations over and over and I have gotten them to be a success, so it’s not like I need a learning curve here,” Nohra said.
“And I don’t want to learn politics,” Nohra continued. “I am a governance person. Politics doesn’t interest me. So being Reno mayor, no offense to anybody who is in these positions, by the way, I don’t want to learn politics. I want to do governance. That’s what I want to do.”
Nohra does not anticipate much trouble, if elected, when first dealing with the Legislature, even if it retains a Democratic majority.
“As far as dealing with the Legislature, it is going to be pretty easy, initially,” he said. “It is going to be vetoing a bunch of stuff. They have got a lot of very, very unwise things they are trying to pass. They think they are California. They’re not. They shouldn’t be.”
When asked for an example of “unwise things,” he said:
“The election law was bad. The guy signed it. I wouldn’t have,” he said.
He then talked about taxes on mining. In the 2021 Legislature, imposed an additional tax on mines that gross more than $20 million annually.
“They are always trying to play around with taxes,” he said. “Add this tax here. Add this tax here. The mining tax, absolutely not. I wouldn’t have signed that. It is another example.”
When reminded the mining industry agreed to the plan, Nohra said, “Just because they got bad advice doesn’t mean that’s the right thing to do.”
Nohra predicted gaming, the state’s No. 1 industry, would be the next to be taxed.
“It was their turn,” Nohra said about mining and new taxes. “Next it is going to be gaming. Next it is going to be, ‘Let’s find another successful industry and let’s beat them up,’ which is the absolute opposite of what you should be doing.
“With mining we should be giving them mining credits and say, ‘We have some of the most important rare-earth metals in the world and we want to compete with China,” Nohra said. “Go get them. Let’s go and help you to get these. That’s the kind of stuff that drives me crazy.”
Nohra said he would be self-funding his run for governor, although he is still seeking donations as a way to add credibility to his campaign.
“It is an interesting dynamic I’m learning about which is, you should self-fund but you need to show broad support as well, otherwise, they won’t take you seriously. They’ll just think you’re a crazy, rich guy,” he said. “I have to show broad support so I am actually fundraising every day, just to make sure people understand, because somebody’s first vote is a check.”
Nohra described his profession as a venture capitalist as “people who invest in concepts, ideas. In my case it was in life sciences which is biotechnology and medical technology.”
Nohra said he has worked with 180 companies in medical technologies. Currently, he is funding technology to beat cancer, working with PhDs from Stanford and Harvard.
“They have an approach to cure cancer which is different than anything we have done before,” he said. “They come to people like me and we give them the initial money to actually take their project from the lab into a company.”
Nohra said he fought in the ongoing civil war as a Christian in Lebanon when he was only 15, training in the mountains on the weekends.
“What was important to me was defending my neighborhood, my family and my people, in that order,” he said.
“For me, I wasn’t looking at the big picture,” he said. “For me, I have parents upstairs, I have friends behind me. The crazy thing like the front that is in the city, one day, where you cross everyday to go to school or work becomes the front. So in my case, my school was behind me and my dad’s work in front of me. It as just about protecting my people.”
Nohra was familiar with Reno because he used to ski at Tahoe resorts in his youth. Yet he became concerned because “California was just moving away from me, mostly from a morals perspective, values perspective and political reorientation perspective.
“In the Bay Area, now it has gotten to the point where if you are religious, you kinda try to keep that under a low profile,” he said. “I’m Catholic, I go to church all of the time. We talk about it. And you get funny looks when you do this.”
Nohra mentioned a TV show to help show his concerns.
“There is this great show called Silicon Valley. I don’t know if you have ever heard of it but the Christian is in the closet and the gay person with two moms is actually right out there doing everything they can do. Nothing wrong with any of that. Nothing at all. But I felt for me, it was kind of beginning to move. I had to almost be careful about my religious beliefs, my political beliefs, anything, you just have to be very, very careful.”