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Optic Endorsements

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Howell, Gallegos

By Optic Editorial Board

Hands down, it’s Howell

Vincent Howell has been a well-known fixture in Las Vegas for more than two decades — as a successful businessman and a community servant. He’s been a giver of his time, talents and money to many a worthy cause, and now he’s seeking a position on the Las Vegas City Council. The city stands to benefit even more from his nature — if the voters place him on the council in the upcoming municipal election.

Howell, 60, was for years the owner and operator of the local McDonald’s restaurant franchise. That allowed him to do a couple of things. He was able to support and raise a family — he and his wife of 40 years, Vicki, had two children together, both of whom are now grown — and it provided him with a means to mentor young people, many of whom got their first job at his establishment.

He could have kicked back after selling his restaurant franchise, but instead he became even more involved in Las Vegas. His volunteer work has taken the form of numerous leadership positions, serving at one time or another as a board president to the Samaritan House, Big Brother Big Sisters, Animal Welfare of Northeastern New Mexico and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Not too long ago, Howell was hired to coordinate marketing for the chamber, but he had a falling out with the chamber president and Howell’s contract was severed. Now, it’s the chamber that’s on the hotseat and Howell’s opponent for the Ward 2 position, Diane Ortiz, is the former director of the embattled chamber. One might surmise from such a situation that Howell is out for vengeance, but anyone who knows him realizes that’s just not his nature. If he’s elected, we’re confident he will set aside past differences in an effort to do what’s best for the city as a whole.

Howell’s business experience, as well as his passion for “giving back,” has already served the city well. We’re endorsing Howell for the Ward 2 position on the City Council because that would allow him to serve his city even better.

Betting on Gallegos

We can’t speak with the same familiarity about our Ward 3 endorsement, but that’s to be expected. Instead of staying home to serve his community, he’s been serving our country. Our hopes are high that, now, he can focus his energies on Las Vegas, and if he’s elected, we think he would.

In Martin Gallegos lies a proud Las Vegas tradition of military service.

Gallegos, 49, joined the National Guard shortly after graduating from West Las Vegas High School in 1981, and has since served his country both overseas and at home. Now he wants to make his hometown better for himself, his wife, Mary, and their two daughters and grandson.

We don’t know Gallegos as well as we do Howell (who, by the way, also served his country, as a Marine), but we’ve been impressed with his no-nonsense demeanor during this campaign season. We don’t agree with him on all the issues, but that’s not all we should be looking for in our selection. Gallegos brings a thoughtful, disciplined, respectful approach to the issues, which convinces us that he will listen and lead. That’s what we need in a council member — someone who will listen to constituents’ concerns, then lead the city toward real-world solutions.

Ward 3 drew a sizable crowd of candidates this year — six in all — and it’s exciting to be able to choose from such a wide range of candidates. We’re recommending Gallegos as a fresh face, one who can turn an honorable career in service to our nation into effective   leadership on the homefront.