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Legislative Watch

Morse Arberry

 Morse Arberry

District: Clark County, No. 7
Political Party: Democrat
Current Job/Position: President and CEO of a Mortgage Company
Born: 1953
Education: Western High School, Las Vegas; Cental Arizona College, A.A.; Northern Arizona University, B.S., Engineering; completing master's in Business Administrationat UNLV

Q & A

Q - How did you get to where you are?

“Lot of prayers, hard work and, you know, just staying consistent on my goals and dreams.”

Q - What other jobs did you have leading up to this one?

“I went to work for the City of Las Vegas, gosh, 25 or 30 years ago.”

Assemblyman Arberry headed a division for Clark County called Neighborhood Services. It started with five employees, including Arberry, and grew under his supervision to 105. Neighborhood Serviceswas broadly assigned to doing whatever it could to help the community; senior assistance programs, graffiti removal, vocational programs for ex-felons, etc. Arberry credited various banks in the region, large and small, for donating funds to help Neighborhood Services.

After retiring from the City of LasVegas in 2000, Assemblyman Arberry started a mortgage company, Canyon Lake Mortgage.

Q - Did you always want to be doing what you're doing now?

“I was always interested in what was going on in the world.”

Assemblyman Arberry cited Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination as a major influence in his life. “That’s when I really started paying more attention. I was involved in the community.""

Q - What are your goals for your regular career or personally?

“My goals are to become a better business person and to grow my company to a baby Wells Fargo or a Bank of America.”

Assemblymen Arberry entered the mortgage business in 2000, before the recent mortgage crisis. He remains optimistic, citing his business goals as: “just to branch off better in the business aspect, business world… this is a new venture for me.”

Q - What are your hobbies or interests?

“I love to travel, see other parts of the world…. I like to play golf when I can. It’s very relaxing. I like to go boating… do a little fishing. My company is a hobby too; I’m very into it... Reading, when I have a chance to sit back and do some reading.”

Q - What unusual events have you been involved in, or unusual or memorable people have you met?

“I had the pleasure of round tabling, back in the day, with President Clinton.”

Assemblyman Arberry met with Pres. Clinton and other federal officials on health care issues. He said it is important for state legislatures to meet with people on a national level: “When you sit down with a person the level of a president or vice president or their key staff…  it brings home a lot when you get the opportunity to do that.”

Assemblyman Arberry also cited: “previous governors, senators… pleasure of knowing them on a first-name basis.”

Q - How did you become successful at what you do?

“A lot of my prayers from my parents. I was blessed to have wonderful parents. They’ve passed on since.” Assemblyman Arberry's father was a reverend. “Some of (his parents') friends today tell me they prayed heavily for their childrens’ success.""

As a final thought he said: “…not giving up on anything that you want to believe in.”

Q - What are your favorite causes?

“Helping some of the non-governmental organizations in the community, in southern Nevada per se. Everyone needs help. Starting from the top at the Cancer Institute to the soccer moms and the Pop Warner (football league) dads.”

He cited one of his favorite things as an assemblyman as: “To be able to help and present a check to some of those guys.”

Concerning state budget shortfalls, Assemblymen Arberry said:“Everyone has their own distinct provision; what they provide to the community. And it’s needed.

“Everything can’t be done by government because we don’t have the tax dollars... Those little things that those organizations provide, this needs to continue.

“I’m talking about outside of government... Government, it’s on its last leg. We had to come up with damn-near a billion dollars to make things work.”

Assemblyman Arberry said it took about $914 million to balance the state's budget, as is required by the State Constitution.

Q - Who or what were your inspirations?

Assemblyman Arberry recalled ac onversation he had with his father after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

What are we going to do now?” the young Arberry asked his father.

“You know, son, that’s something you’re going to have to tackle in your generation,” his father responded.

Assemblyman Arberry pushed a bill through the house to declare Dr. King’s birthday a holiday. He said that each state had to declare the day a holiday separate from the federal government. Concerning passing the law, he said: “I realized its economics.” While legislatures, white and otherwise, favored Dr. King, Arberry said they didn’t universally support the holiday until he pitched it as a way to increase tourism—and income—to Nevada. “At the same time, how much money comes to the state as a state holiday.”

Q - What are your legislative goals next session?

“To try to present issues that will boomerang after I’m gone.” Assemblyman Arberry was referring to term limits that, as they stand now, will limit him and many legislatures to serving only one more term. The language behind the term limits law will likely be disputed by many legislators during the next session.

Assemblyman Arberry said he would be unlikely to vocally oppose term limits because he is weary to engage in a public debate in which he has a personal interest. But he did offer the following comments: “To me, you lose a lot of good people… You lose a lot of institutional experience, a lot of institutional knowledge.” Arberrya dded that other state legislatures have repealed similar term limit laws before.

Concerning his legislative goals, Assemblyman Arberry added: “Dealing with education, not only k-12 but higher education… To lure professors, educators and teachers to come to the state… Once you’re done with college, we want you to be able to go anywhere and say ‘I graduated from a school out of Nevada…’” and have it hold clout on a national level.

Q - What issues facing Nevada do you think are most important?

“Water for Clark County. I can’t speak for the north too much. Gaming is a critical end for me. Gaming has to stay vibrant, especially down here… we can’t keep thinking we’re still in the horse-and-buggy days.

“I don’t believe in big and wasteful government, even though I’m a Democrat, but there are also services people need.”

Taxes from gaming account for a large part of the state’s total revenue, Assemblymen Arberry said, including funding used for public education.

Q - On what issue will you not budge?

“I will not budge on class size reduction” in public schools.

Acknowledging Nevada’s budget deficit, Assemblyman Arberry added: “It just depends on how the money comes.”

Did you Know?

- Assemblyman Arberry pushed the bill that declared Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday in Nevada.

-The communications building at Community College of Southern Nevada is named after Assemblyman Arberry; he wants to see the communications school grow.

- Assemblyman Arberry supports the idea of a full-time legislature as opposed to the part-time legislature that exists in Nevada now.


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