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2024 Nevada Primary Election: City of Fallon Mayor

Luai Ababneh has a bachelor’s degree,  accounting major and computer science minor. Also, he has several degrees including an associate in gunsmithing and a degree in general engineering and computer networking.

Career-wise, Ababneh was in banking in the Middle East. After he immigrated to the U.S. in 2000, he joined the U.S. Army where he started as a budget specialist and then switched MOS and became a small arms repair and a linguist for the US Army. In 2012, he medically retired from the Army that was caused by an injury through his deployment in 2009-2010 which after that he opened my own FFL Gunsmithing shop in town which lasted four years. Ababneh closed the business because of health problems, and ince then he’s been retired.

Ababneh

 

How do you balance the need for housing or multiple-housing units with your constituents who may be opposed to new housing projects in their neighborhoods?

Housing planning is controlled by the real estate market, the direction developments of housing move is mostly dependent on the regulation of land development and infrastructure which can be directed by the planning department of the city.
Knowing the expansion plan of the Fallon Naval Air Station and the number of personnel that the station is going to be geared for, we should be planning and designing developments that can accommodate the numbers of service members in the Fallon Air Station and explain to the public the opportunity that accompanies such expansion. And for our constituents that oppose such expansions and developments, I advise that planning for it and knowing the opportunities and the problems that might accommodate such developments.
And approaching it with a well thought plan is a lot better and manageable than opposing it, which can lead to uncontrolled expansion, which can be accompanied with uncontrolled changes that can cause negative effects on our local prospects and values that we like to live by.

How do you see the roles of the Churchill Fallon Economic Development (CFED) and the Churchill Entrepreneurial Development Agency in attracting new businesses and training a potential workforce?
Such organizations can provide well-thought foundation for individuals and groups that strive to be well contributing entrepreneurs in the area which in row, can assist the local community and the younger generation to establish themselves in our local community instead of see a better opportunity in moving out of the area.
Therefore, such programs should be designed in an approachable way where the requirements to join such programs are cost effective and does not add a burden on the approaching individuals who wish to participate in such a program.
I am a sole believer in the free-market and that businesses will target an area as long there is an opportunity and space for such businesses to create profit.

More events are coming to Fallon because of the Rafter 3C Complex. What does the city need to do now to capitalize on this new era of attracting visitors to our community.
Having a well-managed and maintained, working infrastructure that allows ease of function for participants in such events and opening an opportunity for service businesses to accommodate participants in events and visitors can improve on both the social function of the local community and the economy of the area.
Therefore it is important to direct and prioritize The work on the infrastructure to allow the local community to show the real hospitality of City of Fallon and Churchill County for such events.

A number of residents claim the city is losing money by not having a recreational marijuana businesses. Are you in favor or not in favor of having recreational marijuana businesses, why or why not?
Recreational drugs whether legal or not, in my opinion, creates a burden on local community and an opportunity for misguiding younger generation either by example or availability. Also, it creates a financial budget burden on law enforcement that works continuously to keep our community safe.
Therefore, yes, I am opposing such businesses.

During your time in office, how would you envision the city in two years? Four years at the end of your term?
My main goals with our beloved city is to improve and establish maintenance programs for our infrastructure, design a plan for expansion space for the city that can accommodate the expansion of the Fallon Naval Air Station.
Attempt the establishment of youth educational programs that will allow our younger generations coming up to understand the reality of economics, the opportunities of work and education that can be available to them, and the methods that will allow them to prosper locally.
Also, work with the state to establish reforming programs for our law enforcement, especially with educational programs that is geared towards setting them for success in their careers.

Like many small cities, the downtown area has lost businesses to shopping strip malls or big outlet stores. How can our city reinvigorate the downtown area to attract more businesses to Maine Street?
It is very recognizable in the City of Fallon that the turn of businesses on Maine Street is fast where businesses open and close within average of two years, which indicates that there is a fundamental problem of directing venture capital in the right direction and given businesses the fertile environment to thrive, it is known that the first three years of any business is crucial to the development of such business.
And that is where establishing well-thought programs through business development organization that educates individuals and groups with venture capital in the direction of business ventures that has the possibility to pan out and thrive. Another important point is to consider the amount of regulations that certain businesses fall underneath and how much financial and managerial burden such regulations add to the startup of a business.

In order for us to open the opportunity for small businesses to start on Maine Street, we should allow the space and the opportunity for individuals and groups to seize such an opportunity. Not only that but we should advertise it for them.

Being mayor is more than serving the residents. How do you envision working with state and congressional leaders for funding of projects, etc.?

I am a big believer in small government, as the great president Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address: “I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”

Therefore, my goal is to work with state and federal government in a way that allows the flow of funding to our beloved city, without the influence of changing the societal values that we believe in.

Attracting doctors to Fallon has been difficult. How can Fallon attract doctors and other medical personnel to establish a practice in the city?

Medical businesses nation-wide, have been suffering from a personnel shortage, especially since the pandemic that we have suffered in the past years, which makes it even harder to advertise the local market for medical personnel to move into the area.

That is where unburdening such businesses and working with the state and legislatures to create a buffer period for such businesses to move into our city where they subscribe to programs that lowers their license fees, taxes, and certain requirements that is creating a burden on such businesses to see the opportunity of starting in our city.

How do you balance the need for housing or multiple-housing units with your constituents who may be opposed to new housing projects in their neighborhoods?

To best balance the need for, and concerns about new housing in our community we must first focus on our current infrastructure. By bolstering the existing infrastructure we can improve the lives of the citizens, putting them at ease to the ideas of expansion with new housing developments.

Robertson

 How do you see the roles of the Churchill Fallon Economic Development (CFED) and the Churchill Entrepreneurial Development Agency in attracting new businesses and training a potential workforce?

As long as these entities can create a satisfying experience and create positive results for those utilizing them I will see their roles as crucial to our community.

More events are coming to Fallon because of the Rafter 3C Complex. What does the city need to do now to capitalize on this new era of attracting visitors to our community.

One thing our city can do to take advantage of these events coming into our town is to welcome them with open arms and create opportunities for local businesses to participate through city events hosted in parallel to large events at the Rafter 3C Complex. We’ve seen great success for the Cantaloupe Festival with the recent concerts and rodeos, so why can’t our city create and capitalize on the same golden opportunities?

A number of residents claim the city is losing money by not having a recreational marijuana businesses. Are you in favor or not in favor of having recreational marijuana businesses, why or why not?

The city is indeed missing out on revenue from recreational cannabis that as a result ends up in the city of Fernley and other nearby communities.

Money shouldn’t be the only concern, though. A lack of regulation causes a black market to thrive, so if the city could land a clean blow to the harmful black market while simultaneously creating tax revenue, then I would support it.

During your time in office, how would you envision the city in two years? Four years at the end of your term?

In two to four years I would like to see a city that is experiencing more community involvement. My vision looks like regular town hall meetings held at reasonable dates and times, transparent announcements to the town about what is happening at its core, and people inspired and hopeful about using the voices they have.

Like many small cities, the downtown area has lost businesses to shopping strip malls or big outlet stores. How can our city reinvigorate the downtown area to attract more businesses to Maine Street?

I was always a huge fan of the farmer’s markets that were hosted on Maine Street, and even though some businesses disapproved of the weekly event I personally believe it was positive for the community and shops that chose to be involved. Those farmers markets brought our community together and made downtown thrive with life. With the foot traffic created by those types of community events businesses have access to more customers and more exposure for their brand in the downtown area.

Being mayor is more than serving the residents. How do you envision working with state and congressional leaders for funding of projects, etc.?

My vision for working with the state and congressional leaders is simple, but our residents must surely be involved. A man representing his community at the state level without hearing their voices and concerns is not an asset to his constituents.

Attracting doctors to Fallon has been difficult. How can Fallon attract doctors and other medical personnel to establish a practice in the city?

Making any city a beautiful place to live attracts skilled individuals who can provide exceptional services. Successful people want to live in successful towns so we should focus on cleaning up our streets and reputation in order to attract the right professionals who will want

to put down roots in our community.

Incumbent Mayor Ken Tedford was first elected in 1995, and before that, he served as a councilman. The mayor is responsible for the day-to-day operation and oversight of Fallon’s government and its enterprises.

Tedford served on city council for eight years before his election as mayor. He is owner of Tedford Tire and Auto Service, a family-owned auto shop that has been serving Churchill County since 1947.

Tedford

How do you balance the need for housing or multiple-housing units with your constituents who may be opposed to new housing projects in their neighborhoods?

The City of Fallon has historically planned for growth with zoning ordinances that provide for development of single family residences, multifamily residences, and commercial areas while protecting existing neighborhoods. As a result of the above, we have avoided the neighborhood issues this question poses.

Development is always a complex issue; it requires consideration of utility infrastructure, needs for law enforcement and fire protection, and traffic impacts. Currently within City limits there are many existing properties which could accommodate multifamily housing. In fact, there are three multifamily projects in various stages of approval now.

As Mayor, I’ve charged the City’s development team with making the project planning and development process as efficient as possible while protecting existing neighborhoods and homes.

How do you see the roles of the Churchill Fallon Economic Development (CFED) and the Churchill Entrepreneurial Development Agency in attracting new businesses and training a potential workforce?

CFED and CEDA are critical’ partners in sustaining our local economy. The City of Fallon and Churchill County created the Churchill Fallon Economic

Development organization (“CFED”) and retained the services of Bruce Breslow to recruit major global and domestic corporations to Churchill County. Working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, we strive to recruit investment in Churchill County and the City of Fallon to maximize utilization of our natural resources and land use. The City just entered into an agreement with Amazon to locate a distribution center with the City’s Business Park.

The City was an original member of the Churchill Economic Development Authority. Beginning in 1985, and working with the late Chair Shirley Walker,

CEDA played a vital role not only in recruiting business to our community and developing the City of Fallon Business Park, but also creating a support system for existing and new local small business alongside our agricultural community. 

With the Creation of CFED and the transitioning of CEDA to the Churchill Entrepreneurial Development Association, it is imperative that this vital work continue, partnering with the Fallon Chamber of Commerce and the Western Nevada Development District. Collectively, these partners provide expertise, occupational training and education, financial counselling, and grant opportunities to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

More events are coming to Fallon because of the Rafter 3C Complex. What does the city need to do now to capitalize on this new era of attracting visitors to our community?

As Mayor, along with the City Council, the City of Fallon supported Churchill County Manager Jim Barbee and former Commissioner Pete Olsen’s vision of accomplishing what was a 20-year dream into construction of the Rafter 3C complex within 18 months. The City provided financial support, staff support, and marketing assistance to this endeavor.

In addition, the City provides direct assistance and support to various events through the Convention and Tourism Authority and the Office of the Mayor. Currently, the highest need is the development of additional hotel/ resort properties to support the patrons and contestants of the large events this facility attracts.

I have personally, along with Bruce Breslow and County management, been actively engaging with local motel operators to expand their facilities. I have also been reaching out to regional and national developers to fulfill this need.

4. A number of residents claim the city is losing money by not having recreational marijuana businesses. Are you in favor or not in favor of having recreational marijuana businesses?

I personally have an unfavorable view of recreational marijuana businesses as the citizens of the City of Fallon, in two separate elections, voted in favor of medical marijuana but voted in opposition to recreational marijuana.

The Fallon City Council, reflecting the wishes of the majority of citizens of the City, approved an ordinance allowing a medical marijuana dispensary within the city, but voted against permitting recreational marijuana dispensaries within the City. I respect the actions of the Council.

In these decisions, the City Council acted on principle and not out of a preoccupation with the prospect of lost revenues when it respected the will of the citizens. The potential amount of lost revenue occasioned by the prohibition of the sale of marijuana for purely recreational use is insignificant relative to the city’s overall budget.

5. During your time in office, how would you envision the city in two years? Four years at the end of your time?

In my next term as Mayor, I will continue the work of making Fallon the best place to live for all our residents. For me, this commitment comes down to two topics: public safety and quality of life. Our City Police Department is a CALEAcertified, highly professional law-enforcement organization.

The City/ County Volunteer Fire Department maintains an ISO-I fire rating within City limits — the only volunteer department in the Nation that achieves this.

I see my role in improving citizen’s quality of life through managing our Cityowned parks, events, and enterprises and also through enhancing and preserving culture and our economic base. It can be a challenge to address all of these areas on limited resources, but it has been something we’ve been successful with in the past and will continue to do in my next term.

My personal charge is to strive every day to improve the quality of life for every citizen of the City. I endeavor to create economic opportunity for our youth so that they can remain in or return to their hometown; I do my utmost to ensure that all of our senior citizens maintain a connected, sustainable lifestyle with local health care services.

6.  Like many small cities, the downtown area has lost businesses to shopping strip malls or big outlet stores. How can our city reinvigorate the downtown area to attract more businesses to Maine Street?

Beginning in 1999, in collaboration with downtown property owners and businesses, a vision for downtown improvements, streets, water, sewer and sidewalks was created and implemented. A five-phase project with partial funding through NDOT was completed in 2019, which runs from Williams Avenue to Tolas Place, and from Center Street to Oats Park.

During the past two years, private property owners have increasingly invested in their properties along with major public investment by CC Comm, the William M. Pennington Life Center, and renovating the Churchill County Bank Building.

The Central Nevada Health District is renovating two large buildings which will create 40-50 new jobs in downtown Fallon. The vacancy rate is quite low and there are large sections of undeveloped land which will facilitate development and that is not the case in most historic downtowns. As of today, there is serious interest in renovating existing structures and developing downtown open spaces. We are engaged with these people to keep downtown a central, vibrant space.

7.  Being mayor is more than serving the residents. How do you envision working with state and congessional leaders for funding of projects, etc.?

My philosophy is that the most important thing a Mayor does is serve the citizens. Everything he or she does must be with that end in mind. To serve effectively, a Mayor must be able to work with our State and Federal colleagues. Throughout my tenure I have developed very close, bi-partisan, and professional relationships. Currently, I enjoy such a relationship with with, among others,

Governor Lombardo, Senator Cortez-Masto, Senator Rosen and Congressman Amodei. In the course of these relationships, I am always advocating for the best interests of the City of Fallon and Churchill County.

But it is not just about my advocacy and relationship with our partners. It is also imperative that the Mayor help foster interconnectedness between the City’s elected officials and appointed staff with our partners. In my time, we have done that. The City, as an organization, maintains strong relationships with the governor and state legislators, and also with our senators, congressman, and state and federal agencies. As a result of these active partnerships, the City has accomplished more for its citizens. In fact, as a direct result of these relationships, we have pending over 40 million dollars in congressional directed spending, federal grants, and state funding.

8. Attracting doctors to Fallon has been difficult. How can Fallon attract doctors and other medical personnel to establish a practice in the city?

In 1981, I was recruited to join the Hospital Board. Having served for 35 years on that Board and succeeding governing and advisory boards, I realize the challenge of recruiting primary care doctors and specialists. This is not just a local issue: right now, there is a severe shortage of doctors across the United States. The State of Nevada has among the lowest doctors per capita in the country. The competition for medical professionals is intense.

My experience has been that you don’t just recruit a physician; you recruit their entire family. This requires attractive housing inventory, recreational and cultural opportunities, a robust education system, a professional support system, and further economic opportunity.

 In recent years, Banner Health System has taken the lead in our community recruitment efforts. They are not doing so alone, though. As recently as last month, as Chair of the Central Nevada Health District Board, I initiated a conversation regarding providing incentives to our high school graduates to pursue a medical education and return home to their home town for their professional careers. This is a long-term approach, but certainly one that we have the ability to put in place and the kind of thing that I am working towards.