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Retired union administrator to replace Assemblyman Sprinkle

March 27, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Washoe County commissioners on Tuesday selected the widowed spouse of a former state lawmaker to replace a Nevada Democrat who resigned over sexual harassment allegations.

The board picked Greg Smith, a retired union administrator, to take the spot left vacant by former Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle, the second high-ranking Democrat to step down in scandal this legislative session.

“My commitment to you today is to be a statesman and conduct myself with the utmost integrity in a manner that will make you and this community proud,” Smith told commissioners Tuesday afternoon before being selected.

Smith’s late wife, state Sen. Debbie Smith, died in 2016. Greg Smith, who has lived in Washoe County for more than three decades, said he’s “immensely supportive of the direction we’re taking in this community.” The Democrat expressed support for working across the aisle and said he has been dedicated to wildlife conservation issues for the last two decades.

Smith said he’s familiar with how the Legislature operates and pointed to his relationships with current lawmakers.

Commissioners expressed interest in picking an applicant who could quickly begin work in Carson City. Other candidates vying for the position included a Washoe County public defender, the ex-head of the Northern Nevada Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a former mayoral candidate for Sparks.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said in a statement that Smith will serve the Legislature with honor and integrity.

“Greg has more than three decades of experience advocating on behalf of working families in our state and is well aware of the tasks at hand,” he said in a statement.

Sprinkle, a paramedic and firefighter, served as the party’s majority whip in the Assembly and was first elected to the body in 2012. His stepping down came less than two weeks after former Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson tearfully resigned on the Senate floor and announced he had misused campaign funds.

Sprinkle’s sudden resignation prompted quick condemnation from leading Democrats. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement he was “disgusted” and “outraged” by the sexual harassment allegations.

Smith is expected to be sworn into office Wednesday.

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