By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center developer Lance Gilman said Tuesday his support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak is all about Sisolak’s experience and interest in economic development.
“Steve Sisolak does economic development,” Gilman said on Nevada Newsmakers. “He knows how. And that is the issue.
“We want Mr. Sisolak to be our next governor,” Gilman said. “We want to continue the economic development and diversification with him and we know he is qualified.”
The support for the Democratic Clark County Commission chairman by the longtime Republican has little to do with the refusal of GOP candidate Adam Laxalt to investigate sexual harassment charges against Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, Gilman said.
Gilman and fellow Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park developer Don Roger Norman had requested Laxalt’s Nevada attorney general’s office investigate the sheriff. Gilman is a Storey County commissioner and owner of a brothel in the county.
“There will be many who say that (no investigation by the AG) is one of the elements we have looked at and they are very wrong,” Gilman said about his support for Sisolak. “They are two separate issues completely.”
Gilman and the industrial park were also the primary financiers of a recall campaign against Antinoro in 2017, according to reports. The sheriff survived the recall and was re-elected in June. Gilman’s opposition has not subsided with Antinoro’s re-election in the small rural county next to urban Washoe County.
“As a commissioner in Storey County, I must be cautious with my comment to you on that,” he said. “But no, this particular issue is far from over and the true elements behind the scenes have not become public yet. But when they are, I’m sure the outcome will become obvious.”
Gilman said he and Norman broke from the Republican Party in the gubernatorial race because they feel more secure with Sisolak carrying on Gov. Brian Sandoval’s economic development plans for Northern Nevada.
“Roger and I have been registered Republicans for a lifetime, that is absolutely true,” Gilman said. “But I suppose that we’ve invested the last 20 years of our lives into economic development and diversification, a lot of investment capital, a lot of risk taking to get us where we are, working with some very fine governors with a lot of vision.
“I can’t say enough about (Gov.) Sandoval and his support for us,” Gilman said. “Tesla is here because of Sandoval and his efforts, and supporting us at TRI with Switch and even Google.
“And there is only one candidate (Sisolak) in our opinion that has the appetite, commitment, capabilities and background to continue that financial investment and vision for economic diversification and growth,” Gilman said of Sisolak.
Economic development in Northern Nevada could take a step back if Sisolak is not elected, Gilman said.
“We are concerned that if that candidate (Sisolak) is not successful, it will take us to pre-recessionary times because the other candidates are not focused on GOED (Governor’s Office of Economic Development) and NNDA (Northern Nevada Development Authority) and the economic diversification of our community,” he said.
Neither the Republican or Independent American gubernatorial candidates have Sisolak’s experience and know-how in economic development, Gilman said.
“They are not really focused on that,” Gilman said. “Roger (Norman) and I are still very much involved in investing in Northern Nevada and we have personal and specific plans. And there is only one candidate that we are confident and comfortable will support that continued effort.”
Gilman said he was impressed with the work Sisolak did as the Clark County Commission chairman in luring the NFL’s Raiders franchise to Las Vegas and building a state-of-the-art stadium for them.
“Gov. Sandoval wanted a spokesman to bring in for the stadium in Las Vegas and the football team, the Raiders,” Gilman said. “So when that issue became an opportunity, it was Steve Sisolak that the governor selected to lead that committee to capture that opportunity.”
Gilman did not respond to host Sam Shad when it was pointed out that Sisolak, as chair of the Clark Commission, has currently much more to do with economic development than Laxalt, the attorney general.
Gilman defends Musk
Gilman can’t muster any rage against Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX founder, after Musk appeared to smoke a marijuana cigarette on the video podcast of comedian Joe Rogan.
“I think Elon Musk is brilliant,” Gilman said.
After the video appeared, Tesla stock went down and two of Tesla’s top executives resigned, although it is not known if the pot-smoking video was the reason for the stock drop or resignations. The massive Tesla gigafactory is in TRIC.
“How do you think the millennials are going to feel about that, since 80 percent of them support pot?” Gilman said about the podcast. “They (millennials) buy most of his cars.”
Monday, The Associated Press reported that a British diver who helped rescue youth soccer players trapped in a cave in Thailand is suing Musk. The diver is alleging that the Tesla CEO falsely accused him of being a pedophile in a tweet sent to Musk’s 22.5 million Twitter followers.
Gilman did not address that issue but called Musk “a colorful individual.”
“He is very, very visionary and has creative instincts that are above and beyond most of us,” Gilman said. “And I am prepared to believe that he’s magic and will not only survive (this) but be incredible successful.”
Musk’s Teslas are at the top of the electric-car market, Gilman said.
“Everybody is chasing him right now,” Gilman said. “They just came out with a new Jaguar. It is about $70,000. Everybody is chasing that business and he is the lead dog and more power to him.
“I am prepared to believe in him,” Gilman added.
Watch this episode of Nevada Newsmakers here.