Nevada’s social services remain severely underfunded which has left our state’s social safety net in tatters. Almost all families will be touched by addiction, a mental health diagnosis or a disability in the course of their lives and these very real issues should not result in financial ruin. We need to renew our state’s focus on mental health programs, disability services, substance abuse treatment, affordable child care and reliable care for seniors and veterans. We also need to expand infrastructure to assist our higher-risk populations, particularly for those who lack housing, are survivors of domestic violence or are victims of human trafficking.
I strongly support the investments made in public schools during the last legislative session and I believe that in 2017 we must evaluate their success and make appropriate adjustments that will keep improving student achievement. Here in Washoe County we need to be particularly attentive to the fact that many of our school facilities are overcrowded or in a state of disrepair which is why I am a strong advocated for WC Question 1. I believe that well-regulated charter schools have a place in our education system so long as they serve as unique local solutions and are not run as large, out-of-state corporate interests. I do not, however, support Educational Savings Accounts. It is essential that we tackle our statewide teacher shortage in the next session, protect the jobs of our support staff and focus on building a path to both college and technical careers.
Higher education is an important investment for Nevada and can be a gateway to a more stable economic situation. We need to recognize that higher education is about more than just traditional, four-year institutions. We should have world-class universities, world-class community colleges and support apprenticeships and vocational training programs. Within the higher education system, I support measures to increase transparency and accountability to the public. I would like to see the Legislature focus on controlling tuition and fees and instituting programs to give some measure of student loan debt relief. If we want to attract the best educators we need to ensure professors and support staff are appropriately paid.
We need to raise wages for working families. It is only right for a person who works 40 hours per week to be able to afford to pay the bills. I believe in gradually raising the minimum wage to a living wage, expanding options for affordable childcare, and protecting the rights of workers to safe, fair treatment on the job. I would like to see the Legislature institute a paid sick leave requirement and strong equal pay legislation.
We also need to protect our pension and retirement systems from risky attempts to dismantle them or put the funds at the mercy of Wall Street. If we are going to continue to try to attract cutting edge companies to our state, we must expand vocational training and workforce development programs for the new economy.
I firmly believe in protecting a woman’s right to control her own health care. I believe in a science-based sex education curriculum, legislation that guarantees equal pay for equal work, better access to affordable child care, and equity in our healthcare system to ensure that women have access to appropriate medical treatment.
Energy and Environment
Nevada is blessed with a beautiful natural environment that must be protected and preserved. I support keeping public lands in public hands as a means of ensuring that Nevadans and visitors from around the world are able to enjoy our state’s natural resources. As a member of the Sparks City Council, I have helped expand residential recycling and urban agriculture and promoted animal welfare. Land use planning will continue to be one of Nevada’s priority environmental issues and my experience on a local City Council will help me hit the ground running on this complex issue.
Nevada’s natural environment also provides us with a massive economic development opportunity with clean, renewable energy. I fully support an increase in our renewable energy portfolio standard. I believe we need to promote both large scale solar projects and the rooftop solar industry by finding consensus on a fair net-metering rate structure. I also believe we must continue to look at other forms of renewable energy, including geothermal, as a means of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and creating jobs.
The Legislature must protect the Silver State Healthcare Exchange and focus on improving our state Medicaid system. We must continue to make appropriate adjustments that improve access to health care.
Nevada is an open, welcoming place. I fully support legislative efforts to achieve social, racial, gender, religious, and LGBT equality in our state. I will oppose any efforts to limit the rights of Nevadans to vote.