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Kara Jenkins: Running for Mayor, Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Locals, Interviewed by Zeina Kreidieh!

Meet Kara Jenkins, a candidate with a heart for Las Vegas locals! Interviewed by Zeina Kreidieh, Kara’s focus is clear: putting locals first and making Vegas more fabulous. “We roll out the red carpet to our guests. It’s now time to roll out the red carpet to our people,” says Kara, emphasizing her commitment to the community.

1• Can you share with us a bit about your personal background and how it has prepared you for the role of mayor in Las Vegas? 

I was always driven by my desire to help people.  I am social and curious about others and their well-being.  My mother and father raised me and my siblings to be conscious of the needs of others and grateful for what we have, for family, good music, food and friends.  Law school shaped my thinking and turned my compassion into a deep desire to understand how laws are created and enforced.  I later attended Harvard Kennedy School of Government where I studied negotiations, government problems and solutions with other international leaders.  I am currently the state administrator for the Nevada Equal Rights Commission as a governor appointee.  My desire to run for mayor was a choice that I made as a resident.  A leader in government, yes.  But I am a sister, friend, and neighbor too.  And it was from this perspective I related very much to the needs of locals that were not being addressed in a thoughtful way – our safety, homelessness concerns, affordability of daily items, traffic, cultural representation, happiness, access to services…Our quality of life, seemed to be secondary to the political ambitions of elected officers with little to no regard of how we collectively can make living in Las Vegas better.  So, with much thought and amazing support, I announced my run for mayor.  My family background, educational achievements, years of government work at the state level and kindness have prepared me to effectively represent the diverse people of Vegas – and in a way that uplifts and supports. 

2• What motivated you to run for mayor of Las Vegas?

I was feeling motivated to make a difference at the local level and felt frustration like so many with outdated systems and complications that made access so tedious.  I also wanted to use my experience to show people that the government can work, regardless of political party if we put Vegas residents first. I am a leader focused on governing based on shared priorities to create huge wins and opportunities for everyone!  

3• What are your main goals or priorities if elected as mayor?

My goals all focus on putting locals first when it comes to solving city challenges and making sure we are considered at all times. The mayor is the CEO of the city and uses her platform to lift her people up.  The top priorities include alleviating homelessness and addressing mental health and recovery challenges that play a major part in this crisis facing all major cities; affordable housing, better wages, access to capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses, lifting up the arts and culture with our own local talent and making the city accessible to its mayor.  You WILL see me beyond ribbon cutting ceremonies.    

4• How do you plan to address specific issues facing Las Vegas?

My plan to address these pressing issues is researched.  We collaborate with private and non profit experts and use data to see how these collaborative efforts helped in other cities.  To not tap into experts and only seek solutions within government is not innovation.  I will bridge areas of expertise in city challenges and create sensible task forces to effectively alleviate problems.  The mayor can and will work with the city council and the city manager to allocate funds to pay for these initiatives in a transparent and responsible manner.

5• How will you listen to residents’ concerns? And How will you help businesses in Las Vegas? 

My office will be accessible, period.  Much like a candidate, I rely on the inquiries and concerns of the residents I hope to serve.  I will be a face of the city and quite active on boards, educational initiatives, job and innovation conversations, and extremely loud and clear that massive events collaborate with the city to give our locals exposure, access and business opportunities.

6• How will you keep the city safe? 

Keeping the city safe is a top priority.  I support the city Marshalls and LVMPD.  These men and women serve to keep us safe from physical threats and cyber attacks.  I also believe in fostering a sense of trust amongst law and enforcement and our residents.  Vegas is a world class city and a safe city thrives.  We want a mayor who will be on-call to address safety concerns, incidents, natural disasters and instill a sense of responsibility and calm when we are threatened.  I will be there alongside law enforcement to make sure our residents have a concerned and responsive mayor who will care, possess empathy and make our safety a priority.

7• As mayor, how would you make sure every day in Las Vegas feels like a celebration? 

Vegas and celebrations go hand-in-hand!  The work is a priority, but I understand the importance of being a leader that uplifts, inspires and emphasizes the fabulousness of the city!  I believe that although we are mission critical with key needs for our residents (housing, affordable living, business opportunities) – I can and will bring levity and fun to the office while we work diligently on fixing what is broken.  Many times we see locals lifted up with proclamations, ribbon cutting services or street name dedications.  These are beloved traditions and will continue when I am your mayor.  However, we will also be celebrating EVERY win especially for our small business owners while actively participating in activities especially in areas of culture, food, spirits, festivals and wellness.  We will ensure that the Mayor’s Office knows her people, and she knows and loves them!

8• If you could add one fantastical attraction to the Las Vegas Strip, what would it be? 

One “fantastical” attraction to the city that has been a priority is highlighting our vegas culture from a more inclusive lens.  Many visuals leave out Black showgirls, female artists and musicians of color.  My plan is to expand the lens from a perspective of those who have been left out – including our veterans, culinary geniuses, female owned businesses and artists.  The notion that we are transient or lack culture is not only factually inaccurate but insulting.  We will fix that.  We love classic cars, have a strong motorcycle and bike culture – all will be recognized under my administration.

8• Las Vegas is known for its entertainment. What’s your favorite Las Vegas show or performance? 

A favorite show in Las Vegas was probably the Usher residency on the Strip.  I went twice and loved to also see how my teenage crush was embraced by our city and honored to perform during our first ever Super Bowl!  I appreciate artists that have talent and rhythm.  I also love Lil Jon! 

9• If you had to create a signature cocktail for Las Vegas, what would it be called and what would be in it? 

A signature cocktail for Vegas – hmm, it would be a balance of sweet, smooth and strong, but unsuspecting… this drink will make you want more.  This drink is enticing, and a feel good; a classic – and I would call this drink the “New Las Vegas.”  Bye bye Martini-olive.  We serve flavor.

10 • Las Vegas is full of fantastic food options. What dish do you think best represents the spirit of the city?

A dish that reflects Vegas’ diversity cannot be named by just one!  There are so many eateries in the city and downtown that I will not name one!  However, Parlour, Barry’s, Esther’s Kitchen, Makers and Finders, Gritz Cafe, 1228, and Main Street Provisions are on rotation when I am not campaigning.

11• Las Vegas is known for its weddings. How would you make getting married in Vegas even more memorable?

Weddings for our locals and guests are a huge part of our industry and we often see tourists tying the knot!  I am not sure how the legend that is Elvis became synonymous with this tradition; but in Vegas you can and should marry the love of your life with ease and celebration however that looks for you and your beloved.  We will encourage partners to say loving vows and celebrate in our city.  Now, I am no Elvis, but I could easily see myself at several ceremonies as a surprise witness to make the evening even more memorable!

12• If you could create a new holiday unique to Las Vegas, what would it celebrate and how would people celebrate it?

If I could create a holiday for the residents in Vegas  or a new holiday for Vegas… This is easy, I would call this holiday: “Local Love Day” – with discounts and featured businesses in the Las Vegas area that need visibility and support with celebrations once a month.

All of these amazing attributes – our people, food, culture, music, chapels, sports and entertainment as well as gaming make Vegas an easy sell to promote tourism.  Where we truly need the mayor’s platform is to drive tourism and money to the city and downtown businesses, not just the strip.  I will absolutely advocate tourism outside of the strip to support and drive economic growth to our residents.  We roll out the red carpet to our guests.  It’s now time to roll out the red carpet to our people.

13 • And lastly, how can the community best support you and your campaign to ensure your vision for the city becomes a reality?

I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my vision as your next mayor for the fabulous locals of Vegas.  Please visit my website www.kara4lvmayor.com to get involved/volunteer, learn more and donate!  No amount is too small. Please also follow my road to mayor on social media: IG and Threads @kara4lvmayor and Kara Jenkins on Facebook.  Please also register to vote – my primary election is June 11, 2024 and General Election is November 5, 2024.  I need your support and plan to be the mayor you deserve!  



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