Buckley Named Assembly Speaker

Barbara Buckley, a 46-year-old lawyer and veteran Democratic legislator from Las Vegas, has been unanimously elected speaker of the Nevada Assembly, becoming the first woman to hold the post.

Buckley, chosen at a caucus late Wednesday in Las Vegas, has been an assemblywoman since 1995 and majority leader since 2001.

As speaker, Buckley will set the agenda for her party and decide who leads and sits on Assembly committees. She said she will announce those appointments in about 10 days.

Assembly Democrats have a long agenda for the 2007 Legislature
that includes phasing in full-day kindergarten in schools throughout the state.

"Full-day kindergarten has been shown to improve student achievement," Buckley said.

Assembly Democrats also will seek an increase in teacher salaries because "teachers don't make enough to purchase houses," Buckley said.

The Democrats' agenda also includes a goal of making the state a
leader in alternative energy development, she said.

Buckley also noted that the state has the fourth highest percentage of people without health insurance, saying that something must be done to improve that standing.

During Tuesday's election, Democrats picked up an additional Assembly seat to increase their majority over the Republicans to 27-15.

Assembly Republicans planned to meet Thursday in Reno and were
expected to name Assemblyman Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas, as their

State Senate Democrats, bolstered by one new member from Tuesday's general election, will decide Friday who should lead the
caucus in the upcoming session of the Legislature and into the 2008
election season.

Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, who lost her election bid for governor, said Tuesday she wants to keep the job in the upcoming session.

The Senate Democrats picked up one seat but are still the minority party by an 11-10 margin.