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EDITORIAL: Lawmakers are lobbyists

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By The Staff

A few weeks ago, state Rep. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera, suggested the Las Vegas City Council hire a lobbyist to help the community get money for needed projects.

In making the recommendation, Vigil had good intentions for Las Vegas. But we disagree with his advice. Hiring a lobbyist would be a poor use of city money.

We’re a relatively small community, and most towns our size don’t have lobbyists. During the legislative sessions in 2006, 2007 and 2008, the city had its then-attorney Matt Sandoval serve as its lobbyist during legislative sessions. And while he often went to the capitol during those times, he still had his duties as an attorney.

As a result of Vigil’s suggestion, the city is contemplating advertising for a new position that would involve lobbying as one of its main duties, the others being grant writing and conducting research.

We don’t like the idea of spending taxpayer dollars to pay a glorified beggar to seek state dollars; there simply are too many other needs. Las Vegas pays its share of taxes, and we deserve our fair share during every legislative session.

Perhaps we’re a bit old-fashioned in this regard, but we believe we already have several lobbyists in Santa Fe — the state lawmakers representing this community, including Vigil. We send them to Santa Fe to advocate for this community’s interests. That’s what they say they will do during their campaigns.

The city can certainly help our lawmakers perform more effectively for Las Vegas. The City Council can give a few unambiguous requests to the delegation well ahead of their departure for Santa Fe. And when making such a list, the council should remember that when everything is considered a top priority, then nothing is.

During the legislative session, we urge all of our city leaders to visit and consult with the legislators — in an effort to see that city projects are getting the attention they deserve.

But we don’t see the need for a lobbyist trolling the halls of the Roundhouse. Do we need another layer of bureaucracy?