If mad political scientists wanted to create an army of community-activist Terminators to eradicate injustice, they could use Howard Watts as a template. The 25-year-old Las Vegas native passed on opportunities to leave town for college, because he decided he could make an impact on his hometown if he studied at UNLV. He’s followed the textbook trajectory: club leader at the Las Vegas Academy to political science major to outreach coordinator for the Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada to fellow at a national training center for community organizers. And it all culminated in 2008 at local office of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, where, as field director, he gets boots on the ground marching in the direction of social justice. Recent PLAN causes for which Watts has marshaled troops include marriage equality, immigration reform and the mining tax. The erratic schedule of door-knocking, press conferences, protests and recruiting agrees with Watts, who discusses human folly and impending environmental disasters with the relaxed, engaged air most people reserve for talking about sports or wine. “I feel lucky every day to be doing this, even during stressful times,” he says. “I’m always happy to get up and go to work.”
Best of the City 2016
Our seventh annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best place to fix your speeding ticket to the best Bloody Mary.