Freshman Orientation: Assemblyman Andy Matthews

As in periods previous, The Nevada Unbiased is publishing a sequence of profiles that includes all the brand new lawmakers within the state. That is the ninth installment of greater than a dozen. Test again within the coming days for extra tales on new legislators’ backgrounds, pursuits and coverage positions.


  • Freshman Republican who succeeds Democratic Assemblywoman Shea Backus
  • Represents District 37, which is north of Summerlin and incorporates components of Solar Metropolis Anthem in Las Vegas
  • District 37 has a slight benefit in voter registration for Democrats (36.eight p.c Democratic, 35.2 p.c Republican and 21.eight p.c nonpartisan within the 2020 election)
  • Matthews defeated three different candidates with 49 p.c of the vote within the 2020 Republican major, together with former tv journalist Michelle Mortensen, Jacob Deaville and Lisa Noeth.
  • He then defeated incumbent Assemblywoman Shea Backus within the 2020 common election, successful rather less than 51 p.c of the vote.
  • He sits on the next committees: Authorities Affairs, Well being and Human Providers, Legislative Operations and Elections


Matthews was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston College with a level in journalism and labored as a sports activities journalist earlier than coming into the political discipline.

He and his fiancé Valerie dwell in Las Vegas.


Andy Matthews no means anticipated to be right here.

For one, he thought he can be engaged on the opposite facet of the Capitol Amphitheater after serving as coverage director for former gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt’s 2018 marketing campaign. However Laxalt misplaced the race to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, and no job within the governor’s workplace materialized (Matthews described the loss as a “punch to the intestine”).

However past that, 42-year-old Matthews no means actually anticipated to finish up within the political discipline, a lot much less within the Nevada Legislature. Born in Massachusetts and initially educated as a sports activities journalist earlier than transitioning to the political realm, he says he “took the scenic route” to the Legislature.

“In the event you instructed me at 12 years previous once I was residing in rural Massachusetts, I’d serve within the Nevada State Meeting sometime, I’d in all probability ask you what a state meeting was, and ask you numerous questions on how I obtained from level A to level B,” he stated. “However I’m honored to be right here, and it has been an incredible expertise thus far.”

Matthews was born in New Bedford, however grew up in a rural space (Freetown) about 50 miles south of Boston. A life-long Pink Sox fan, Matthews performed basketball and baseball in highschool however moved away from athletics after getting a job at an area newspaper, writing up field scores and temporary sport summaries. In highschool, he and one other pupil helped begin a pupil newspaper — the “Laker Delight,” named for the our bodies of water across the space, not a reference to the Celtics’ foremost rival.

After graduating school with a journalism diploma, Matthews labored at quite a lot of sports activities reporting jobs, together with at FOX Sports activities and a stint for (the place, for an article, he went undercover and attended an open-to-the-public Pink Sox tryout. Matthews says he was no means “actually at risk of constructing the workforce.”)

However his pursuits broadened past sports activities; first with the contentious circumstance across the 2000 presidential election, but in addition with the phobia assault on 9/11. On the time, Matthews was residing in Hoboken, New Jersey, with a view from his bed room window into decrease Manhattan. Working nights, he stated he didn’t know in regards to the assaults till his dad referred to as him. He remembers pacing between the tv and his bed room window.

“I believe the mixture of these issues in my early 20s for me put points entrance and middle in my life, in my thoughts, that I hadn’t actually given a complete lot of thought to earlier than,” he stated.

Matthews labored on a New Jersey political race in 2005, then moved to Nevada to work as marketing campaign supervisor for former state lawmaker Bob Beers’ finally unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2006. Deciding to remain in Nevada, Matthews was employed on as communications director for the Nevada Coverage Analysis Institute (a nonprofit, pro-free market suppose tank) and ultimately turned the group’s director in 2011.

He stated the group was an incredible match for him due to his political pursuits and background in communications expertise, however at instances he was pissed off that the group’s legislative advocacy didn’t translate into desired coverage outcomes.

Outdoors of “facetious barstool conversations,” Matthews stated he hadn’t actually thought-about a run for workplace himself, however a turning level got here in 2015 after former Gov. Brian Sandoval (a Republican) pushed via a record-breaking bundle of new and prolonged taxes price greater than $1.1 billion.

“If we’re not getting what we must be getting, in my opinion, out of the present crop of elected officers, possibly we want some completely different officers,” he stated. “One of the best ways to alter coverage typically is to alter coverage makers.”

So in 2016, Matthews determined to leap within the contentious Republican Celebration major for the state’s third Congressional District. With then-state Senate Majority Chief Michael Roberson (who helped Sandoval shepard via the tax bundle in 2015) and well-known and perennial conservative candidate Danny Tarkanian additionally within the race, Matthews stated he hoped to run as a “new face principled outsider” — and carve out the center floor between Tarkanian and Roberson.

However that pathway was largely closed off when firebrand then-Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore additionally determined to leap within the major. Matthews says he continued to marketing campaign arduous, however ended up coming in fourth out of the seven-way contest (noting that he and Fiore mixed had a vote share roughly equal to that of Tarkanian, who ended up successful the first however dropping to Democratic nominee Jacky Rosen).

After that election cycle, Matthews moved to the political orbit of former Legal professional Basic Adam Laxalt, main his Morning in Nevada PAC for a spell earlier than transferring to work on Laxalt’s 2018 gubernatorial marketing campaign. 

However the 2018 election cycle was a nadir for Nevada Republicans, and Matthews stated that although that loss stung, he figured political fortunes in a swing state resembling Nevada would ultimately swing again. Working for the Legislature, he stated, was a approach to get in on the bottom ground.

“We will rebuild, a method or one other, we will get stronger, and I might like to be a part of that,” he stated. “In order that as our social gathering begins to realize power and have extra of a say, sooner or later, I will be on the desk and attempt to attempt to form issues as greatest I can, in a manner that aligns with the rules that I believe we actually ought to stick to.”

Assemblyman Andy Mathews throughout the first day of the 81st session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson Metropolis on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (David Calvert/The Nevada Unbiased)



Matthews is a signer of the Taxpayer Safety Pledge, a written promise for federal and state candidates to oppose any and all tax will increase with out some sort of corresponding revenue-neutral tax minimize. Matthews stated that pledge contains the gaming and gross sales tax initiative petitions circulated the Clark County Training Affiliation and now earlier than the state Legislature. 

“We have to rebuild our financial system, and I don’t consider saddling Nevadans with larger taxes is the way in which to do it,” he stated.

Election safety

Matthews plans to introduce a invoice that may repeal AB4 from the state’s 2020 summer season particular session, which offered for sending out mail ballots to all energetic registered voters and in addition legalized poll assortment, the apply the place people can gather and switch in absentee ballots for different voters (Republicans typically consult with this apply as “poll harvesting”).

He stated he was wonderful with no-excuse absentee ballots, however that the apply of robotically mailing ballots to voters made the state’s election system “inclined to fraud and error.” 

Requested whether or not he believed that huge voter fraud occurred to a stage that may have affected the end result of the presidential race in Nevada, Matthews famous that there was a point of “error, fraud, or irregularities” that occurred within the election (citing statements made Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria on discrepancies in an in depth county fee race).

However he stated his major focus is election safety, and that he doesn’t need to get “slowed down” in whether or not “the end result of 1 explicit race (was) the right final result when it comes to voter intent.”

“Proper now below our system, it is designed in a manner that makes it a lot, a lot simpler than it must be to cheat if one needed to,” he stated. “And so, we are able to travel all day on, did nobody cheat, did one individual cheat, did 200,000 folks cheat? We do not know; nobody is aware of; you do not know; I do not know. As a result of we now have a system that is designed in such a manner that we will not know. So my job as a legislator, it is to make it possible for we now have the right methods in place to make it possible for we do have an election that is safe.”

(The secretary of state’s workplace has stated it didn’t see any proof of “wide-spread fraud” within the 2020 election, although election officers have stated they’re pursuing a number of particular person circumstances of doable election-related fraud within the 2020 election).

Felony justice reform

Whereas important of measures handed in latest periods that he stated “went a lot too far when it comes to tying the arms of legislation enforcement,” Matthews stated he was broadly supportive of efforts to cut back recidivism and assist present and former inmates efficiently alter again into regular society.

“That is an space the place I believe all of us can take a look at, as a result of we’re all going to learn,” he stated. “If somebody comes out of our jail system after various years and does not have the skillset to discover a job, there’s an excellent likelihood that individual might find yourself again in that cycle of disruptive habits. That advantages no one.”

Different proposals

Different payments that Matthews plans to introduce this session embody the next:

  • A measure that may permit native jurisdictions to opt-in to the 287(g) program, a federal partnership between native police and federal immigration officers to put “detainers” on folks not legally within the nation however arrested or taken into police custody for non-immigration associated causes. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Division opted out of this system in 2019 after a federal court docket case enjoined ICE from issuing so-called detainers with out “specific state statute authorizing civil immigration arrests.”
  • A measure making a state-level REINS Act, a proposal championed Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul basically requiring important laws with a serious monetary influence to be accepted explicitly the Legislature, versus an government department company. Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker applied a related program in that state
  • A measure to extend penalties for public companies that fail to adjust to public document legislation violations
  • A invoice to topic the collective bargaining course of between authorities worker unions and native authorities employers to necessities within the state’s Open Assembly Regulation
  • A measure permitting creation of “constitution companies,” an idea promoted former Controller Ron Knecht and the Nevada Coverage Analysis Institute to remodel state authorities companies giving them broad coverage targets and “permitting company administrators to find out the very best technique of reaching these goals.”

Matthews acknowledged that a lot of his payments will possible not transfer very far in a Legislature and governor’s workplace managed Democrats. He stated that whereas he hopes to draw bipartisan assist for at the very least a few of his proposals (together with the payments geared toward enhancing authorities operate), there was nonetheless some worth to be gained at the very least introducing the ideas.

“If I can transfer the needle at the very least on the dialog on a few of these issues, there’s worth in that, as effectively,” he stated. “If a specific invoice does not get applied on this explicit legislative session, at the very least (we’re) starting the dialog, and possibly altering some minds, and hopefully taking a step towards a spot down the highway. there’s worth in that as effectively.”

Supply hyperlink