Making a stand on issues of green energy and green job development, Katherine Duncan is a long-shot candidate for Las Vegas mayor. Duncan was one of the first candidates to throw her proverbial hat in the ring for the mayor’s race; she was first candidate interviewed by the Las Vegas Tribune, and first mayoral candidate interviewed on Veterans in Politics radio, however was not invited to participate in the mayoral panel at Stoney’s First Friday event March 4th.
Duncan is far from new to politics, however being a community activist, an appointed member of the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission, an appointed member to the City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission, and president of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce.
Meeting for this interview at Main Street Station, Duncan enthusiastically launched into her pitch about the high speed rail as a major opportunity in green energy. Her belief is that to speed up the economy; one needs to increase the speed of goods and people. Duncan’s apparent favorite project is the Maglev; a high speed train that “floats” above the rails using magnetic levitation. She sees the high speed rail as a way to increase tourism and revenue by enabling tourists to travel from Anaheim, California to Las Vegas, Nevada in 85 minutes; something Duncan purports will be advantageous to international travelers who fly into Los Angeles and want to make a gambling or business jaunt to Las Vegas.
Politics is the problem in Duncan’s opinion, not the solution; “It’s a huge opportunity but our politics are in the way.” She was adamant that Las Vegas can have the high speed rail through matching federal money, but that the private sector is also excited about the prospect of developing the high speed rail, thus creating jobs and revenue.
She’s also a proponent of hydroponics, modeling after a European farm, “We could grow way more if we used this kind of technology.” But a major idea in Duncan’s mayoral arsenal is to retrofit Las Vegas buildings with green technology that will make them more energy efficient. She stated there are many incentives at the federal level which would defray most of the cost of retrofitting, however the work would employ construction workers and engineers.
Duncan stated energy conservation is a $400 billion market that Nevada should be tapping into, especially given our year-around sunshine for solar technology, and high desert winds for wind turbines. She has ideas for handling waste, water, and all aspects of utilizing green technology to improve Las Vegas’ economy. It was her desire to lift a community out of poverty that nudged Duncan toward the green movement, and her founding of the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce. She attributes her inspiration to Van Jones, an environmental advocate who was President Obama’s Environmental Advisor until he resigned amidst controversy.
Becoming somewhat more heartfelt in her discourse, Duncan spoke to the plight of the “projects,” stating the Westside is where her activism grew. Duncan shared, for instance, that Las Vegas spends $18,000 monthly on keeping the grass green in the projects; money that could be used to convert grass into community gardens with edible crops. She said she would like to see residents take pride in their neighborhoods, learn horticulture and participate in the gardening with the children alongside; which would decrease the need for hand-outs and decrease the boredom that leads youth to graffiti.
A one-time Republican turned Green, Duncan blends many ideas from many Party playbooks to present herself as the only green candidate running for mayor of Las Vegas. The mayoral primary election begins early voting on March 19, 2011. Duncan will be joining The Freedom Hour on Wednesday March 9th at 6:00PM (PT). The Freedom Hour is a weekly internet broadcast hosted by Sara Crusade.