Sisolak picks former Sen. Yvanna Cancela as chief of staff

Sisolak picks former Sen. Yvanna Cancela as chief of staff
Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela on the third day of the 31st Special Session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, July 10, 2020. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has chosen Yvanna Cancela, a former state lawmaker who resigned in January to take a position in President Joe Biden’s administration, to serve as his next chief of staff.

“She brings a unique understanding of state government, policy experience, and the ability to build broad coalitions,” the governor said in a statement on Monday.

Cancela, 33, will begin as the highest ranking member of Sisolak’s senior staff on Sept. 1 and replace current Chief of Staff Michelle White, who announced her plans to depart last month.

She has worked in Nevada politics since 2010, when she moved to Las Vegas for former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election campaign. She later served as political director for the powerful Culinary Workers Union and was appointed to a vacant state Senate seat in 2016, after Ruben Kihuen was elected to serve in the U.S. Congress.

As the first Latina in the Nevada Senate, she earned a reputation as a progressive among Democrats for pushing efforts to expand oversight on the pharmaceutical industry through drug price transparency measures and to prevent evictions. She was an early supporter of Biden’s 2020 campaign and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in August.