- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - A Sparks city councilwoman says she’ll seek the Nevada Senate seat held by her mentor and late state Sen. Debbie Smith.

Julia Ratti announced her candidacy on Tuesday, saying she was devastated by Smith’s death last month but wanted to be candid with voters about her hopes of finishing the Democratic lawmaker’s term. Candidate filing begins next week.

Smith’s daughter Erin says Smith’s family asked Ratti to consider running.

Ratti works as a consultant for Girl Scouts of the USA and is finishing her second term on the Sparks City Council. She says her focus has been improving older neighborhoods and providing quality parks for the city.

Smith died Feb. 20, a year after beginning treatments for a malignant brain tumor. She was first elected to the Legislature in 2000.

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