Since taking office, she has streamlined services in her department, saved the county hundreds of thousands of dollars through increased efficiencies, reduced the Clerk Office’s footprint on the environment and raised the profile of wedding tourism. Her efforts have resulted in numerous awards for the office as well as international recognition for excellence. Standing her ground in the face of opposition and criticism for coloring outside the lines of her “job,” she nevertheless persevered.
“Every elected official should be concerned with the state of the economy. The wedding industry is within the Clerk’s domain and I will not see it fail under my watch,” she says. After seven years of unwavering persistence, 2021 may be the year that turns around the 20-year decline in the $2.5 billion wedding tourism industry in Clark County that employs over 18,000 people and supports hundreds of businesses from sole-proprietorship photographers to multi-billion-dollar resorts.
“Weddings are a legacy industry that helped build Las Vegas,” she says. “It showed its reliance during COVID when couples still came to Las Vegas to get married when all other industries were shut down. While we chase the next new thing, let’s not forget one of the core industries that built this town and continues to bring in visitors from all over the world.”
Prior to being elected as the Clark County Clerk, Goya was a freelance journalist who wrote for local, regional, and national publications including USA Today, Audubon and the Boston Globe. She is an award-winning playwright; an Emmy-nominated writer; received the Frederick L. Ryan Award for Economics; the JCPenny Golden Rule Award for community leadership; and the EMERGE Nevada 2016 Alumni of the Year.
Goya oversees the Marriage License Bureau in Clark County, which services five cities and the famous Las Vegas Strip and the City of Las Vegas. The bureau issued approximately 73,000 marriage licenses in 2019 to couples from almost every country in the world. This legacy industry supports over 18,000 jobs and contributes $2.5 billion in annual economic activity including lodging, restaurants, entertainment, sports, spas, outdoor activities and shopping.
When Goya took office she immediately discovered a sharp decrease in wedding tourism, she promptly took action, working with the legislature to create a special wedding promotion fund that generates over $1 million per year; reaching out to the industry and the state and local tourism departments. She created a public/private partnership with the wedding industry that evolved into the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce and in 2021 the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) created its first national campaign dedicated to weddings: Forever Happens Here, funded by the Clerk’s special wedding promotion fund.
- 2022 - President for Nevada’s County Fiscal Officers Association (CFOA).
- 2015 to present - Advisory Board Member for the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce
- 2019 - 2021 Board member of International Association of Government Officials (IGO).
Awards and Recognition:
- 2021 Crown Communities Award winner: Clark County Clerk Customer Service Website Redesign
- 2021 iGO Excellence in County Government Award for various achievements and initiatives
- 2020 Cashman Good Government Award Finalist from Nevada Taxpayers Association for “Ensuring Marriage Integrity”
- 2019 iGO Innovator Award (Clerk’s Division) for overhauling the Marriage Officiant program to include online and in-person training
- 2019 Center for Digital Government, Government Experience Award for MLIC.Vegas and online customer service improvements for national and international customers
- 2018 Honorable Mention Good Government Award from Nevada Taxpayers Association for innovations supporting the addition of new married names to marriage certificates
- 2018 NACo 2018 Achievement Award for streamlining and standardizing the marriage officiant application process
- 2016 Best Practices Award – Records Management from the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials, and Clerks (NACRC) for "Low-Cost Tech Innovations Save Time and Money for County Clerk"
- 2016 NACo Achievement Award for "Low-Cost Tech Innovations Save Time and Money for County Clerk" (Video)
- 2015 Women of Distinction Award for Corporate and Government Services from the National Association of Women Business Owners of Southern Nevada (Award)
- 2015 Alumni of the Year, EMERGE Nevada
- Brought together the resorts, the chapels and hundreds of small wedding businesses to celebrate Five Million Love Stories, a year-long wedding celebration based on the county issuing its 5-millionth wedding license;
- Spearheaded promotional campaigns resulting in over $20 million in free national and international publicity for Las Vegas weddings to bring much-needed attention to a declining Las Vegas wedding market including Las Vegas Marries the Military; "Say Yes to the UK Dress"; “Hitched in Vegas”; Royal Wedding Month; and the Pop-up Marriage License Bureau at McCarran Airport. After 20 years of steady year-over-year decline, Las Vegas is finally on track to see an increase in marriage licenses issued.
- Created a trusted source of information for couples from around the world to find wedding resources and information, WEDDINGS.VEGAS;
- Provided a QR code for chapels and wedding planners to use on their literature that directs customers to our mobile-friendly application. Now, 100 percent of the couples use the online application, which reduces wait time for couples and printing costs for the department;
- Worked with the legislature to provide much-needed technology funds to all Nevada county clerks that Clark has used to improve customer service;
- Implemented a strategy to protect digitally archived permanent public records to secure and protect them from potential data loss or ransomware threats so they are safe for the next 100 years;
- Implemented two pilot programs for County IT;
- Overhauled the marriage officiant application process and implemented a mandatory training program to ensure officiants understood their rights and responsibilities to the state;
- Streamlined the marriage certificate filing process saving hundreds of hours of staff time;
- Reorganized the Clerk's Office management team and created a new system for employee review and training;
- Created an online scheduler for civil marriage ceremony and passport acceptance appointments;
- Implemented a secure online and in-person credit card processing service to reduce cash intake and allow the department to collect online order requests 24/7.
- Digitized county permanent public records that date back to 1909 and am now working on a seamless public search tool to make government records more transparent and available;
- Developing a strategy to balance privacy of personal information with public access to information;
- Creating an ESRI geocoded Story Map with over 1-million data points of marriage certificates with a data hub that will be available to researchers who want more in-depth information on who is getting married;
- Creating a Celebrity Timeline with nearly 400 celebrities from 1920’s John Gilbert to Joe Jonas;
- Finalizing informational customer service portal where couples can access all things wedding;
- Five Million Love Stories promotion and activations through 2022;
- Bringing 2022 CFOA Conference to Clark County.