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Chamber Foundation, UNLV Create Public Policy Leadership Program

The diversification of Nevada’s population and economy prompted the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and UNLV to create an education program for professionals interested in better understanding government operations in the Silver State.

The Public Policy Leadership Series kicks off later this month with the goal of developing skills to navigate through all layers government in Nevada. It is designed for elected officials, prospective candidates, and others interested in effectively engaging government.

“The objective is to help people who are either interested in serving in elected office or have been elected to office in Nevada understand the tenets of good public policy and good governance,” said Cara Clarke, the executive director of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber's Leadership Foundation.

Clarke said the series will help lawmakers be able to evaluate policy so they know before deciding on a new law what the implications will be for all of Nevada.

Christopher Stream, the director of the School of Public Policy and Leadership at UNLV's Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, told KNPR's State of Nevada that while what one considers 'good policy' can depend on personal political views, the foundation of policy is the same. 

He said the program is based on providing practical training, not just theory.

“This program that we’re focusing on here is really tool oriented," Stream said, "Really helping people who are interested office who want to make a difference, giving them tools to do that.”

Gail Tuzzolo is the political director for Nevada's state AFL-CIO. She hopes the program will help legislators to look at all sides of an issue before making a decision. 

“All our issues in Nevada are much more complex than a soundbite you would hear about,” she said.

Tuzzolo gave the example of the rooftop solar issue. She said if you listened to just the soundbites about solar power, you might assume some people are for solar power and some people aren't. But she said, that isn't the case. The problem is more about payment structures and business models than pro-solar or anti-solar forces. 

The coursework for the five-week program was developed and will be delivered by professors from UNLV’s Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

Topics will include:

  • Understanding the role of the elected official in the policy process
  • Learning how to be an effective elected official
  • Learning how to communicate with citizens and the media
  • Understanding the Nevada budgeting process, as well as sources of revenue and funding mechanisms
  • Learning tools to evaluate policies, including resources for better policy decisions

For more information on the program, visit the foundation’s website:

Cara Clarke, executive director, Las Vegas Metro Chamber's Leadership Foundation; Christopher Stream, director, School of Public Policy and Leadership at UNLV's Greenspun College of Urban Affairs; Gail Tuzzolo, political director, Nevada State AFL-CIO

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.