Swank not running for re-election, plans to focus on preservation nonprofit

Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank announced Wednesday that she plans to leave the Legislature at the end of her term and will not seek re-election in her Las Vegas district.

Swank, who served four terms in the Legislature and chaired the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining, works as the executive director of the Nevada Preservation Foundation. The nonprofit works to preserve the state’s history and historic buildings. As the foundation has grown, Swank said it has taken up more of her time. 

Swank, who worked on legislation involving water, wildfire funding and payday lending, said that she would have likely stayed in the Legislature if it were a full-time position. She said the current set-up, a citizen Legislature that meets on a biennial basis, excludes many people from serving.

"It's a part-time Legislature,” Swank said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. “Working a job-and-a-half, it gets to be too much after a while. If it was a full-time gig, I would be there."

“There are a lot of people who cannot run for office because it is not a full-time gig,” she added.

Swank, who announced her decision not to run on Facebook Wednesday, had been considering leaving the Legislature for some time. Last year, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced that Swank would lead its newly formed Division of Outdoor Recreation, only to later walk back the appointment after determining that a sitting legislator was ineligible.

Swank ran unopposed in 2018 in Assembly District 16, which leans heavily Democratic.