Why Carolyn Goodman Is Wrong For Las Vegas

Carolyn Goodman is the wife of Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, a colorful character with a zest for gin, showgirls, and off the cuff remarks made in inappropriate company. After years of being lawyer to the mob, Oscar became the self-proclaimed “happiest mayor on earth” when he was elected to the position 12 years ago. Now that he’s run up against the term limit wall, his wife Carolyn wants to take his place so that she can continue his vision, saying “I’m running because my husband has done so much downtown in the past 12 years, and it’s such on the verge of really taking off.

Hello? Remember us, the “people” you want to represent? We’re the ones who voted in favor of term limits. Collectively, we said too much of any one leader is not a good thing so we put provisions in place to protect us from singularly minded career politicians.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of term limits but the “People” decided we needed them.  Back in February when Mrs. Goodman filed for office, even she had to acknowledge the slippery slope she was treading. According to the Las Vegas Sun, when asked if her campaign was like giving her husband another term in office, she said “I think that would be sort of cheating.”

Asked if her campaign was like giving her husband another term in office, she said “I think that would be sort of cheating.”

– Las Vegas Sun, Feb. 2, 2011

So how is it that this candidate is running on a platform that touts preserving old ideas and eliminates fresh thinking and thinks that a good idea?

Simply put, the answer is that everything about Carolyn Goodman is old school. There is nothing about her that is original.


Have you enjoyed Oscar so far? Then vote for her. Unless you don’t want her to have that platform. Then she’s her own person with her own mind who doesn’t even pay attention to what her husband says half the time.

Campaign Material:

The Huffington Post notes that Mrs. Goodman gives out poker chip containing her image along the campaign trail. Sooooo been done before: that piece of stage theater belongs to Rep. Shelley Berkley.

Who’s Good Enough:

According to Mrs. Goodman, there’s not a single person in this entire million plus valley besides her who can do the job. Last month I listened to Mrs. Goodman speak at a Hispanics in Politics breakfast where she talked a lot about “you people” and “your” culture. She claimed her “greatest fear” is the city electing a new leader because they will want to establish a new vision of their own.  Well, isn’t that the point? And just to show how perfect she is for the job, she adds “I have lived, I have lived, ate and breathed this for 12 years side by side with him (Oscar).”

Oh. I guess that was during those times when you were listening to him? Or was that before or after you were your own person?


Carolyn Goodman’s has three chief accomplishments and they are:

  1. Being married to the current mayor.
  2. Being mother to the current mayor’s grown children.
  3. Being founder of the Meadows School, a private school for the wealthy.

Last time I checked, none of those things are listed on the job description for mayor.

She doesn’t know the inner workings of the city. She doesn’t know the issues. She hasn’t worked with the common citizen. She has never fought for the little guy. She has no day-to-day, hands on business experience. She doesn’t have a vision of her own. She doesn’t even have her own name. She’s riding on her husband’s coat tails all the way.

She doesn’t know what the DREAM Act is. This, despite the fact that Las Vegas has been host to several demonstrations, rallies, and meetings on the subject over the past year.

She doesn’t know if she would support or oppose a repeal of Nevada’s domestic partnership law because she would have to learn more about it first. But it’s not really “her” thing. But if it’s your thing then she backpedals and says she’s supportive.

She supports diversity. She can prove it to “you people” because she was the first to make Spanish a required course in her school curriculum.

I’m frustrated by a candidate whose sole reason for running for the position is to continue someone else’s vision (her husband’s).

I’m stunned by a candidate who doesn’t know about or understand some of the basic, high-profile issues of the day.

I’m offended by a candidate who thinks the majority of Nevadans are stupid enough to believe that being the spouse of the current mayor makes her qualified to be mayor, too.

Carolyn likes to talk about her children being a success story. The fact that Carolyn Goodman’s children received private school educations and went on to become successful white-collar professionals does not mean she is qualified to be the Las Vegas mayor. In fact, it doesn’t even mean she was a good, bad, or indifferent mother. All it means is that she had the money to buy good educations for them.

But as the gap began to close on her election lead, she took this pot shot at Chris Giunchigliani: “That’s weak. She has no idea. Look, this is her life. She doesn’t have children, she doesn’t have a family. … Her life is politics, from what I see…”

That a woman would criticize another woman for her reproductive choices is the antithesis of everything women have worked so hard for the last 50 years. I’m appalled that a woman would sling so low. Would we be having this discussion if Chris was a male candidate?

But since she raised the question, what’s wrong with having a life in politics and trying to make our communities a better place to be? While Carolyn was raising her children, Chris was out working for the little guy, giving voice to those who couldn’t speak or couldn’t be heard otherwise. She was teaching the most disabled among us; championing the rights of workers, teachers, public safety officers, women, Latino/a, Black, White, Brown, and everything in between. She was making sure there were parks and roadways and access to basic human services. She was fighting for human rights, animal rights, and yours and my right to criticize her work. Where was Carolyn? At some gala, raising money for the private sector, dining in fancy restaurants with other privileged families, or tagging alongside her husband and his showgirls. Carolyn has ZERO record of ever working for the commoner among us.

Raising four children in a life of privilege means nothing in terms of Goodman’s qualifications to be mayor. But when one compares her parenthood to the thousands of children whose lives were improved as a result of having Chris Giunchigliani for a teacher and/or public servant, the silence is deafening. If I hadn’t already decided upon voting for Chris Giunchigliani, this outrageous statement from Mrs. Goodman would have sealed the deal.

The more I look at Carolyn Goodman the more I fear for our city. Her loyalties are to the artistic elite, her friends are among the rich and powerful, and her qualifications seem limited to being able to raise a lot of money for the Meadows School. Her vision isn’t even her own – it’s taken directly off the back of her husband. She has no plan of her own, no direct life experience, and no understanding of the “real” Nevadan.

One final souring note: Today, a member of Mrs. Goodman’s staff reported having earned the endorsement of QVegas Magazine. Not true!  Kelly Smith of the magazine says QVegas did not endorse any candidate for Mayor.

Carolyn may have this sewn up through name recognition but that’s a real shame for the people who actually need someone to do something to help small businesses and the little guy. For them, the candidate they should be voting for is Chris Giunchigliani.

And on a personal note? Using a woman’s personal reproductive situation as a campaign strategy is about as offensive as you can get. SHAME ON YOU. As a woman, I’m ashamed of you. And if you did as good a job raising your children as you claim, your daughters should be ashamed of you, too.

Marla Turner

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  • kenneth morris
    July 14, 2011, 10:13 am

    Your article is right on. I am writing this after the fact that Mrs. Goodman has been elected. Having lived here for 8 years with a three year hiatus in Texas, I find myself now deciding to leave Las Vegas for good for Texas. Why?…because I was making 20 dollars an hour in Dallss doing a job that you get 8 dollars an hour for here. Mrs. Goodman doesn’t get it and her husband didn’t get it either. These are upper class people who never look past the strip hotels and don’t realize there is an entire underbelly of people nearly starving to death here. I am leaving before I become one of them. I feel sorry for any average worker who stays in Las Vegas struggling. According to the Pew HIspanic research center, Nevada employs more illegals than any other state including California, Arizona and Texas. At the same time, it also leads the nation in unemployment. That in itself should tell you something about this place. The strip hotels import foreignors to work for slave wages in their casino’s while legitimate workers go without. I don’t care what I-9 forms they are filling out, any document can be forged and apparently they are forging them in record numbers here, and nothing is being done about it. I have my bags packed and will be leaving tomorrow and I will never come back here again, even to visit. Dallas/Ft.Worth has much more to offer than this place.

  • susan m wallis
    February 28, 2013, 5:54 pm

    I thought Oscar Goodman was an excellent Mayor and knew how to run Las Vegas. When I heard Mrs Goodman was running and won I was relieved!

    They are good people and and Mrs Goodman is doing a wonderful job!

    Prime example Clinton…but he was just a pretty face and characteristic. ..it was Mrs Clinton with the brains.

    In this case we have 2 educated people in office that know what’s best for Las Vegas.

    “If its not broken dont fix it!”

    Susan Wallis

  • Suix Zan La Von
    February 28, 2013, 5:57 pm

    I thought Oscar Goodman was an excellent Mayor and knew how to run Las Vegas. When I heard Mrs Goodman was running and won I was relieved!They are good people and and Mrs Goodman is doing a wonderful job!

    Prime example Clinton…but he was just a pretty face and characteristic. ..it was Mrs Clinton with the brains.
    In this case we have 2 educated people in office that know what’s best for Las Vegas.“If its not broken dont fix it!”
    Susan Wallis


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