by Alan Snel
On a high desert mesa north of Lake Mead, local resident Bryan Mortensen was riding his bicycle Monday morning when he bumped into another guy on a bike who just happens to be running for governor of Nevada.
Mortensen met Jared Fisher, a 47-year-old father of four from Blue Diamond who was taking time from running his two bike shops and bike touring business to pedal around the state of Nevada for 14 days to hear the concerns of state residents.
For several miles, Mortensen biked with Jared and Jared’s pal, Mark McCann, who is cycling the first 500 miles or so on Fisher’s epic 1,400-mile state circuit ride.
Mortensen teased Jared, saying biking around the state is a tough way to go door-to-door to meet state residents.
But Mortsensen, a 37-year-old water district employee from Logandale in Clark County’s Moapa Valley, said he appreciated Jared’s attempt to meet residents one-on-one via the bicycle.
“It was definitely pretty unique,” Mortensen said after meeting Jared at Snowbird Hill south of Overton in rural Clark County. “This is a great that he is able to combine one of his passions with launching a campaign.”
Mortensen said Jared came off as sincere and mostly listened — which is the goal of this two-week “Listening Tour.”
He said the Moapa Valley’s big issues are jobs and education and that Clark County government is too restrictive on new business owners. “We’re being strangled by the Clark County bureaucracy,” Mortsensen said.
And he said there are too many federal and school district mandates that “are being shoved down our throats.”
Mortensen said he would like to see Moapa Valley’s communities that straddle I-15 about halfway between Mesquite and the Valley of Fire exit have more autonomy when it comes to regulating local businesses and schools.
He said the younger generations in their 20s and 30s are more welcoming to independent-minded candidates such as Jared, who is not a party insider. Jared considers himself a moderate Republican in the Teddy Roosevelt tradition.
He said Moapa Valley residents, which is mostly Republican, typically vote party line on candidates but that they are more centrist on issues.
“The newer generations in their twenties and thirties are looking for someone who will vote common sense and conscience and not just because of the party,” Mortsensen said.
He said Donald Trump winning the presidency showed that someone can overcome the power of the party.
“Everything is so homogenized and well -defined. One of America’s strengths is that an individual can stand up and say we’re a little off course,” Mortsensen said. “I wish (Jared) well.”