13 March 2023
As in legislative sessions past, The Nevada Independent is publishing a series of profiles featuring the new lawmakers in the state. This is the 16th and final installment of more than a dozen stories on new legislators’ backgrounds, interests and policy positions.
ASSEMBLYMAN KEN GRAY
Freshman Republican from Dayton who succeeds Republican Jim Wheeler.
Represents District 39, which includes Dayton, Minden, Zephyr Cove, Genoa and Gardnerville as well as parts of Indian Hills
District 39 is safely Republican (50 percent Republican, 19 percent Democrat and 31 percent registered as nonpartisans or to other political parties in the 2022 election).
Defeated Democrat Janice Noble in the general election, carrying 71 percent of the vote. Before this, Gray faced a much more competitive primary election, beating his sole opponent — research analyst and longtime Republican legislative staffer Blayne Osborne — with just 52.1 percent of the vote.
Sits on the Judiciary, Revenue and Health and Human Services committees
FAMILY AND EDUCATION
Gray was born in Long Beach, California and now lives with his wife of 26 years, Kati, in Dayton.
The couple has two daughters. One daughter, Katelyn, just finished four years in the Navy as a petty officer second class and is attending college in Texas. His other daughter, Hannah, is a medic with the Nevada National Guard and a third-year cadet in the UNR ROTC program.
Gray is an Air Force veteran. During his 26 years of service, he studied health care management and allied health science at the Community College of the Air Force, earning an associate’s degree in both fields.
He also received a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College and attended graduate school at Chapman University.
After 26 years in the Air Force, Gray retired but became involved in local politics.
Gray was a Lyon County commissioner from 2017 to 2022, and has served on numerous boards and commissions. He was also the Lyon County representative for the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) on the Public Lands and Natural Resources Committee and on the NACO Legislative Committee.
Gray has also been involved in volunteer work and local non-profit committees, including serving on the Lyon County and Nevada Republican Central Committees, the Nevada Judicial Ethics and Elections Practices Committee and as a council member of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard.
He was also one of the first uniformed responders to Hurricane Katrina, according to his campaign website.
During his time as a county commissioner, Gray also spearheaded an effort to declare a state of economic emergency in Lyon County and declined to enforce then-Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 directive during the pandemic lockdown. A similar effort was made in White Pine, Eureka and Elko counties.
“It’s very important the rural counties of our great state to be united with one message going forward,” said Gray at the time. “We must stand together as one to face the abuses of our civil liberties which have taken place and stop them from going any further.”
ON THE ISSUES
Gray says on his campaign website that he will not vote for any new taxes during his time as a legislator.
“More than that, I will fight to stop any proposed unfair taxes that penalize people who drive long commutes to work, own large parcels, or choose to live in a rural area,” Gray said.
Gray says on his campaign website he wants schools to focus more on core subjects, believing teachers are “being made to take over the responsibilities that belong to parents in directing their children about what their morals should be.”
Gray wants to support policing on a local level and provide police with the resources they need to succeed.
“I am committed to supporting local policing solutions,” Gray said on his website.
Gray was quoted by the Associated Press as saying he believed the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
He was also one of three votes on the Lyon County Commission to rename the Lyon County Justice Complex to the Donald J. Trump Justice Complex.
As a legislator, Gray said he wants to restore faith in local elections.
On his campaign website, Gray said he knows “firsthand how important it is that people have faith in the process used to choose their elected officials” from his experience as a county commissioner.
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