New Doors Open in 2017

“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,

and brave enough to face himself…[and] be proud and unbending in honest defeat.”

Gen. Douglas MacArthur


For most of the past year (2016), I devoted myself campaigning against passage of Question 2, the ballot initiative that legalized and commercialized recreational marijuana in Nevada.

Despite a host of dedicated individuals and organizations who opposed legalization, Nevada voters passed the measure on Nov. 8th. Clearly, we lost the good fight. History will judge whether the issues raised against passage were worthy or not. Still, even in “honest defeat,” as the old general said, there is a certain pride in standing for a cause you believe in–even when you lose.

The WWII and Korean War figure spoke at his Farewell Address to West Point cadets saying, “Old Soldiers Never Die.” I hope, like the general said, I won’t just “fade away,” either.

I certainly don’t intend to. Besides, I’ve lived long enough to learn when “one door closes, another door opens.”

Here’s what yours truly is planning for in 2017:

Teaching Two Political Science Courses

The first, “Understanding the Nevada Legislature,” is a community-based course (open to members of the public and the business community), and is being co-taught with Professor Fred Lokken, of Truckee Meadows Community College. The course will include visits to the Legislature, while in session, and will host guest speakers who are prominently involved in the Nevada Legislature. Interested? You can sign up at or call me at (775) 762-8006.

The second is a class I taught at UNR last year entitled: “The Legislature, Special Interests and the Media.” This seminar-style course was very popular with Political Science students from all different political stripes. Guest speakers will abound in this course as well.

New Role as Executive Director of the Charter School Association of Nevada (CSAN)

When the door to the Nevada Legislature and the State Board of Education closed behind me this past year–an exciting new door opened this year. As the original Assembly sponsor of enabling charter school legislation in 1997, I’m happy to have been hired as the Executive Director of the Charter School Association of Nevada. There are now more than 40 charter schools and 30,000 students (and growing monthly) that now comprise Nevada’s third largest school district.

As a public school option for parents and students–charter’s are playing a crucial role in reforming Nevada’s education system–helping a new generation of students become career and college ready for the economic development challenges that the “New Nevada” is offering.

Besides helping with public policy positions for CSAN at the Nevada Legislature, I look forward to assisting Nevada’s uniquely structured charter schools (for example: in Career and Technical Education, math and science, arts integrated curriculums, etc.) to become a viable school-choice complement to our traditional public school system. Underserved and underperforming students are a particular challenge that I want to help Nevada charter schools address as they expand throughout the Silver State.

Appointed to the Board of Directors for the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities

Upon leaving the Nevada Legislature the first time in 1998, I was pleased to have been asked to serve as the Editor for the Nevada Journal, the public policy magazine published by the Nevada Policy and Research Institute. I’m even more excited about now being asked to join the Board of Directors of the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities. The Guinn Center is a well-respected (on both sides of the Legislative aisle) nonprofit, bipartisan “think-do” tank focused on delivering independent fact-based, and well-reasoned analysis of critical policy issues that advance solutions for the “New Nevada.” The Guinn Center is planning to play a more proactive role during the 2017 Legislative Session. I look forward to assisting that effort.

Planning for a new year shouldn’t be done without reflecting on the year just passed. For all of you who supported my elected positions in the past, and those of you who joined me in the causes we believed in, let me simply say…

Thank you.

Happy New Year and best…Pat Hickey