NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) --
John Lee, 58, is an avid outdoorsman, an Eagle Scout, and a lifelong Las Vegan.
“I moved here when I was 5 years old, went to high school and graduated,” Lee said. “Then I just started my own life, and my family has lived here 53 years.”
The local businessman isn't shy about his love for North Las Vegas.
|Election 2013: Voters in cash-strapped North Las Vegas will soon choose a new mayor or elect to keep their current one. This is part of a series looking at the main candidates, incumbent Shari Buck and top challenger John Lee.|
“North Las Vegas is an exciting place,” he said. “All roads lead to North Las Vegas.”
The father of seven and grandfather of 18 started out as a dishwasher at the Silver Nugget, where he learned the value of hard work, along with the principles that would eventually help him start his own successful plumbing business in the valley.
But perhaps the hardest work of his lifetime came in 2007 when Lee was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
“I died one night,” he said. “It got so bad with the chemo and radiation, and I'm back again. I think it makes you a more somber person, a more loving person, a more concerned person about the people around you and the fragility of people.
“It makes you want to stop and when somebody tells you they have a problem, stop and listen to them. Give them a little bit of time.”
Time is something Lee has already given Nevada. He served as a state assemblyman and a state senator before considering a move to Washington -- a place he says left him dismayed.
“If I'm going to be involved in something, I want to see progress, I want to see results,” Lee said. “I found Washington was not cut for my personality. So I called the shot and said I'm not running for Washington. I see no future there for me.”
So Lee returned home to North Las Vegas where he decided a run for mayor would be his best choice, his destination and the place that would see the sunset of his political career.
“I'm doing this job because I care about the community,” Lee said. “I care about our future. I care about the opportunity that people have in this community. And to see it all thrown away is just more than I can stand.”
Lee may view North Las Vegas as the end of the road politically, but he says, it just doesn't matter because he's committed to the city's viability.
“I'm no longer financially motivated,” Lee said. “I'm more interested in the goodness of mankind.”