Posted on: November 28, 2022, 04:17h. 

Last updated on: November 28, 2022, 05:06h.

Ben Kieckhefer, a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission since last year, is moving state agencies to the governor’s office come January.

Nevada Gaming Commission Ben Kieckhefer Joe Lombardo
Former Nevada State Senator Ben Kieckhefer has been named chief of staff for Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo. Kieckhefer currently serves on the Nevada Gaming Commission, a position he’s held for only a little more than a year. (Image: Reno Gazette-Journal)

Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo (R) ousted Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) from office during the gubernatorial race held earlier this month. The sheriff of Clark County and the top cop in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) beat the incumbent by about 15,400 votes.

Lombardo, best known outside of Southern Nevada for being the face of law enforcement’s response to the deadly mass shooting that occurred on Oct. 1, 2017, assumes the governorship on Jan. 2, 2023. In anticipation of becoming Nevada’s 31st governor, Lombardo is staffing up his office, and his right-hand man will be Kieckhefer.

Ben has dedicated his life and career to the service of Nevadans, and there is no one more qualified or better prepared for this role,” Lombardo said in a release. “I know that Ben’s exceptional leadership, unmatched integrity, and extensive legislative experience will be an important part of our success in Carson City.”

Kieckhefer said he was “humbled” by the appointment and is confident “that this administration will deliver innovative solutions and historic victories for our great state.”

Commission Exit

As a member of the five-person Nevada Gaming Commission, Kieckhefer plays a critical role in the chief governing body of the world’s richest gaming market. The commission oversees the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and its many regulatory divisions.

Kieckhefer was appointed to the commission only late last year by Sisolak. Before joining the state gaming agency, he served in the Nevada State Senate for almost 11 years.

According to his Nevada Gaming Commission biography, Kieckhefer focused much of his state Senate tenure on budget and tax policy, as well as on economic development, technology, and tourism.

A Republican, Kieckhefer is originally from Illinois. He received his undergrad from DePaul University and masters from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Kieckhefer has worked as director of client relations for Reno-based law firm McDonald Carano. He additionally serves on the board of trustees at Sierra Nevada University in Incline Village.

Once Kieckhefer becomes Lombardo’s chief of staff in early January, he will resign from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Lombardo will be tasked with naming his replacement.

Meanwhile, Clark County and the LVMPD will need to name Lombardo’s successor.

‘Education Governor’

Lombardo has pledged to become Nevada’s “Education Governor,” a notion that he will spend his days in office listening to Nevadans and learning what issues matter most to the populace.

We must set aside our differences and come together as Nevadans,” Lombardo declared after winning the election. “No matter who you are, where you’re from, or who you voted for, I’m ready to listen to you, work for you, and earn your trust.”

The “education governor” tag also applies to improving education in the Silver State. Lombardo says he will prioritize initiatives and programs that will better educate K-12 students.