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LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Former state Sen. Ray Rawson, whose 20-year legislative career ended last September when he lost his seat in a Republican primary, was appointed Tuesday to the Nevada Gaming Commission by Gov. Kenny Guinn.
Rawson, 64, who said he is a consultant and teaches dentistry classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for free, will earn $40,000 in the position. He replaces Las Vegas attorney John Moran Jr., who resigned earlier this month and is expected to seek the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
The Gaming Commission, a five-member panel, takes final action on matters that have been considered by the Gaming Control Board.
Rawson, who has no gaming experience, will complete Moran's term, which runs through April 2008.
"Ray Rawson has an impeccable record as one of the finest legislators the state of Nevada has ever seen," Guinn said in a statement. "Ray has a deep understanding of many of the complex issues facing the gaming industry in our state, and will bring a fair, reasoned and ethical approach to his new position."
Guinn spokesman Greg Bortolin said Rawson's lack of gaming experience was not an issue.
"The governor is banking on Ray's long service in the Legislature," Bortolin said. "How could he not have an understanding of how gaming works?"
Rawson said the position calls for someone who can offer a fresh perspective on the state's largest industry.
"I don't come in as a novice," Rawson said. "I've lived here 55 years and I understand the industry and its dynamics. In spite of all that's happened, I still believe I have a good reputation as hard working and conscientious, and I am happy to still be of service to the state."
Guinn also re-appointed former Lt. Gov. Sue Wagner of Reno and businessman Arthur Marshall of Las Vegas to new four-year terms on the Gaming Commission.
Gaming Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard said he values the legislative experience brought to the panel by both Wagner and Rawson.
"As a policy-making body, their experience brings a good perspective," Bernhard said.
Rawson, a professor emeritus with the University and Community College System of Nevada, is an adjunct professor for the UNLV's School of Dentistry, and is adjunct clinical professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine in the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
Rawson has served since 1976 as deputy coroner and chief dental examiner for Clark County.
As a state senator representing District 6 in Las Vegas, Rawson held a number of floor leadership posts. He also sponsored legislation supporting class-size reduction and was a primary proponent of establishing the state's rainy day fund. In March, Rawson was appointed to the Nevada Senate Hall of Fame.
However, an 18-month campaign by then-Assemblyman Bob Beers ended Rawson's legislative career.
Beers, who went on to win the Senate seat in the general election, said he was happy for Rawson.
"He's a smart guy. He can learn," Beers said of Rawson's lack of gaming experience. "I'm very happy to see him land on his feet."
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