Assemblyman Duncan Takes On Jobs and Education

by S. LANEY OLSON

Despite having no political experience, freshman Assemblyman Wesley Duncan is holding his own in the 77th Nevada Legislature.

Born in Sonora, California, Duncan received a political science degree from University of Berkeley, California, and later a law degree from Ohio State Law School.

He used that law degree in the Air Force and helped prosecute Al Qaeda members in Baghdad. For four and a half years, Duncan was stationed at Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas; there he met his wife, an active duty nurse.

In 2011, Duncan entered the reserves and remained in Southern Nevada. It was then that he was called to office. He contacted his local Republican office and announced that he wanted to run for assemblyman in District 37. His chances looked slim since he was running against incumbent Marcus Conklin, a man whose name had been thrown around to become the next Speaker of the Assembly.

“I walked door-to-door,” Duncan said. “Seeing people who didn’t have jobs, it becomes very real.”

According to Duncan, this experience strengthened his resolve to win and is what he believes helped him to his victory.

Like all freshmen entering high school, college or even the Nevada State Legislature, Duncan was overwhelmed his first few days.

“Your first session you want to do a good job,” Duncan said. “I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of knowledge it takes to do a good job.”

Ducan works from his desk. / Photo by S. LANEY OLSON

Ducan works from his desk. / Photo by S. LANEY OLSON

However, Duncan’s law degree and experience with reading statutes has helped him significantly, and he has wasted no time taking on his two main issues: jobs and education.

“The overall climate in Nevada is one part jobs, one part education,” Duncan said. “Parents don’t focus on education if they don’t have a job. We need to think, ‘What are the incremental changes we can make this session to get Nevada back to the path of growth?’”

Above all else, maintaining a connection with constituents in his district is most important to Duncan.

“A lot of time, elected officials come to power and have a disconnect with people,” Duncan said.

Duncan continues to strive for open communication with the constituents in his district, constantly communicating with them in person, on the phone or through email. Duncan believes seeing the effect he’s having on his constituents is the most satisfying part of being an assemblyman.

“It’s an immediate, tangible reward,” Duncan said.



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