Susan Brager can’t seem to stay away from politics.
The three-term Clark County Commissioner is the most recognizable name of the five candidates running for the Nevada Board of Regents in District 7.
The incumbent, Dr. Mark Doubrava, is ineligible to run because of terms limits.
Brager, 75, faced term limits on the County Commission in 2019 when she had to step down after 12 years in office, but indicated at the time she might run for the Board of Regents.
“I love serving, and I feel that this would be a complete cycle for me because I would be returning to education,” Brager said recently. “I’ll bring integrity and a proven record of being out there and listening to the needs of the people.”
Brager said she has a love for education, having served on the Clark County School District Board of Trustees between 1995 and 2006. She was involved in hiring three superintendents during her tenure.
The next regent in District 7 will likely play a role in finding a new chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education. The previous chancellor, Melody Rose, resigned earlier this year after a stormy tenure in which she alleged she was the victim of a hostile work environment created by the Board of Regents.
An investigation found insufficient evidence to support her claims, but the regents voted to pay her $610,000 in severance.
Brager said the board seems to be “very fractured,” but she considers herself a consensus builder who has a history of bringing people together.
In contrast to Brager’s lengthy public service career, political newcomer Hieu Le has stepped into the race with the goal of becoming a student-friendly regent.
The 25-year-old Le, a lifelong Nevadan, graduated from UNLV during the pandemic in 2020 and now is working on his masters in public administration at the university.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I’ve always been a student and will forever be a student. We need to put students first on every issue. Not politics.”
Le wants to improve communications between students by bringing Discord, an instant messaging and digital distribution platform, into the university system.
During his studies, Le has worked for the Nevada Legislature, the Clark County County Election Department and the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Le said he wants to bring more diverse leadership to the university system and make college more affordable.
David “Coach” Crete
On the other end of the political spectrum, real estate broker David “Coach” Crete, said he will bring conservative thinking into the classroom and the Board of Regents.
“We need to broaden the conversation to include all opinions, not just progressive opinions,” he said.
Crete, 57, said he earned his nickname working as a volunteer football coach, specializing in defense, at several local high schools, including Gorman, for 26 years. He is also a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Crete hopes to bring stability within the leadership of the university system, which has seen a revolving door of chancellors in recent years.
“We need to take an internal look at the hiring process and what we are doing wrong,” he said.
He also wants to improve the education system to attract more companies to Nevada and diversify the economy.
“We know education is part of the answer,” he said.
Dr. Aury Nagy
Dr. Aury Nagy brings credentials as a prominent neurosurgeon into the race.
Nagy, 50, a Yale University graduate who grew up in Las Vegas, is the managing partner of Nevada Brain & Spine Care.
He is the vice president of the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners, which oversees physicians in the state.
Nagy also served as chairman of the neurosurgery department at the taxpayer-funded University Medical Center between 2018 and 2020.
The Board of Regents, which oversees two medical schools and several schools for health professionals, needs a physician within its ranks, Nagy said.
“Without having someone on the board who understands how to improve those institutions, it’s difficult to understand what is needed to improve health care in Nevada,” he said.
He also wants to work to improve the board’s transparency and fiscal responsibility in the wake of the allegations swirling over Rose’s short tenure as chancellor.
“I don’t know what caused the parties to take the actions they did, but I do feel it’s unfortunate that the outcome of those actions caused substantial loss to the university system,” he said.
Las Vegas publicist M. J. Ivy, who runs Ivy’s Communications Group, rounds out the list of contenders in District 7.
Ivy, 50, an ordained minister since 2001, is the pastor at Kinship Community Church.
He said he decided to run for regent to bring more minority representation to the board and improve communications, responsibility and transparency within the university system.
“I have a history of working with diverse groups of people,” he said. “I can bring civility to the board.“
Ivy, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, said he was a member of the Clark County School District’s diversity task force.
On his campaign website, he says he’s going to promote system-wide policies that “target discrimination and eradicate racism and sexism.”
He hopes bring the kind leadership to the board that “reflects the changing landscape of the society we live in.”
Contact Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.