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GOP state Sen. Halseth resigns, cites family
by Michelle Rindels - Associated Press
Feb 17, 2012 | 418 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Republican state Sen. Elizabeth Halseth resigned Friday from the Legislature, citing an "incredibly difficult private matter" and the need to focus on finding a better-paying job and her role as a mother of three children.

Halseth disclosed her decision in a letter to Gov. Brian Sandoval two days after members of a legislative committee proposed replacing her on the panel because she had been missing meetings and was hard to reach.

The letter thanked her constituents in Clark County District 9 for being understanding and compassionate toward her as an elected official and a newly single mother.

Her husband, Daniel Halseth, filed for divorce in November after 11 years of marriage, a few weeks after he was arrested in Las Vegas on a charge of open and gross lewdness. The status of the case could not be immediately determined.

The resignation could spell trouble for state Senate Republicans, who are outnumbered 11-10 by Democrats, and had expected to hold Halseth's seat for another two years. After redistricting last year, Democrats have a voter registration advantage in the district, and many expect Halseth's resignation to all but ensure their continued majority in the Senate.

State Sen. Michael Roberson said he was not surprised by Halseth's announcement, adding that the GOP would keep fighting to win control of the Senate in the November elections.

"We have excellent candidates in all of our competitive races," said Roberson, who is leading the Republican effort to take over the Senate. "This is just another race that we will run and we will win."

Halseth became the youngest woman elected to the Nevada Senate when she won the seat in November 2010, besting Democratic businessman Benny Yerushalmi. She said she looks forward to returning to a normal life with her children "instead of wondering when a friend will ask them about family challenges they learned about from those determined to enhance themselves by tearing down others."

Halseth said she has been trying to find a job, and that her time commitments in the Legislature have complicated the search. State senators make less than $9,000 in salary — plus a $154 per diem allowance for food and lodging — during the 120-day sessions that occur every other year. They are not paid when the Legislature is not in session, unless they serve on an interim commission, where they make $146 a day.

She also cited media attention as part of her struggle to find employment, saying her reputation was "regularly demonized by selfish partisans and a handful of reckless bloggers with personal agendas of salacious, unfounded personal attacks on me."
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