Friday, July 23, 2010
Former Nevada governor Kenny C. Guinn, a two-term moderate Republican whose tenure marked a prosperous era in a state now facing severe budget problems, died July 22 after falling from the roof of his home in Las Vegas, the Clark County coroner said. He was 73.
Coroner Mike Murphy told the Associated Press that the accident was being investigated. The Las Vegas Sun reported the cause of death as a heart attack.
Gov. Guinn, the predecessor to current Gov. Jim Gibbons (R), was pronounced dead at University Medical Center, officials said. Billy Vassiliadis, a spokesman for the Guinn family, said that Gov. Guinn had been on his roof making repairs.
Gov. Guinn, a former Clark schools superintendent and millionaire bank chairman, was a Democrat-turned-Republican who served as governor from 1999 to 2007. His tenure marked a prosperous era, but Nevada now has huge tax deficits, an unemployment rate of 14.2 percent and the most foreclosures per capita in the nation.
Gov. Guinn was elected in his first bid for statewide office, defeating Democrat Jan Jones with 52 percent of the vote while drawing criticism that he was the handpicked candidate of powerful special interests.
During his tenure in Carson City, he overhauled government agency operations, revamped budgeting and tax collections, pushed for a major student scholarship program, fought federal plans to bury nuclear waste in the desert outside Las Vegas and sought to diversify Nevada’s casino-dependent economy.
Gov. Guinn also spearheaded the biggest tax increase in state history, then returned to residents $300 million in excess revenue.
In 2003, he fought for an $830 million tax increase, which was criticized by many Republican supporters but praised by government experts. “The state will be better off for years to come,” Alan Ehrenhalt, executive editor of Governing magazine, told Time magazine.
In 2005, Time named Gov. Guinn among the five best governors in the country, saying that the tax increase was “a still controversial but realistic step to shore up the overstretched budget of the nation’s fastest-growing state.”
“People say, ‘Well, growth ought to pay for growth,’ but I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t,” Gov. Guinn told the magazine.
Kenneth Carroll Guinn was born Aug. 24, 1936, in Garland, Ark. He grew up in Exeter, Calif., as the son of migrant fruit pickers. He once lived in a tin shack and attended almost 30 schools as his parents followed the crops.
He earned a college football scholarship and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education from California’s Fresno State University. He received a doctorate in education from Utah State University in 1970.
He moved to Las Vegas in 1964, starting as a planning specialist for the Clark school district. In 1969, he was named superintendent. He left the district in 1978 to join Nevada Savings and Loan. He became bank chairman and chairman of Southwest Gas.
Survivors include his wife, Dema Guinn, and two sons.
Kenny Guinn was born on August 24th, 1936 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Guinn
August 24th, 1936
8 + 24 +1+9+3+6 = 51 = his life lesson = what he was here to learn = Governor.