Gov. Steve Sisolak appointed former Nevada District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti and former state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer to the Nevada Gaming Commission on Friday, filling the body's two vacant seats.
Togliatti, who retired from the bench in 2019 after three decades of service as a judge and Clark County deputy district attorney, was nominated for a federal judgeship during the Trump administration but never received a confirmation vote in the Senate. Kieckhefer, who was first elected to the state Senate in 2010, was termed out of his legislative seat but announced his resignation from the Legislature on Thursday.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me over the past decade, particularly my constituents, who trusted me to represent them in their government,” Kieckhefer tweeted Friday morning. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we have done to help move Nevada forward.”
Neither Togliatti nor Kieckhefer responded to requests for comment on Thursday about their appointments.
Sisolak, in a statement, described Togliatti and Kieckhefer as "highly qualified appointments."
“This commission is the gold standard of gaming regulation, and these appointments will continue to honor that," Sisolak said.
Togliatti was a judge on the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, appointed to the bench by former Gov. Kenny Guinn in 2002. She previously worked in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and served as a justice of the peace with the Las Vegas Justice Court.
Kieckhefer works as director of client relations at the government affairs firm McDonald Carano, which has a large gaming practice. Former Gaming Control Board A.G. Burnett is also a partner at the firm.
In the past, Kieckhefer has served as communications director for Gov. Jim Gibbons and public information officer for the Department of Health and Human Services. He is also a former journalist, working for both the Reno-Gazette Journal and the Associated Press.
The expected appointments, which are made by the governor, to the Gaming Commission would fill two
vacant positions left open on the five-member commission following the resignation of Deborah Fuetsch and the departure of John Moran Jr., a Las Vegas attorney and the panel’s longest serving member. Commission members serve four-year terms in a part-time capacity.
The lack of a full membership on the Gaming Commission has led to fears about the potential for split votes of the body. If new members take seats right away, the commission’s meeting scheduled for the end of October would be the body’s first full meeting since May.
The Nevada Gaming Commission oversees gaming regulations in the state and serves as the final stamp of approval on decisions made by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Following these two appointments, Gov. Steve Sisolak will have named all eight regulators who oversee the state’s largest industry. Sisolak has appointed three members of the Gaming Commission, Steven Cohen, Ogonna Brown, and Rosa Solis-Rainey, as well as all three members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board — Chairman Brin Gibson and members Brittnie Watkins and Philip Katsaros.