Economy and Working Families
I come from a working family -- my parents came to Nevada to work in the hotel and casino industry because they believed Nevada’s abundant economic opportunities would allow them to create a better life for themselves. As a state, we must strive to continue to rebuild our economy from the Great Recession. This means learning the lessons of the recession and working to diversify our economic portfolio beyond our traditional reliance on the tourism industry. I support efforts to bring new, high-tech industries to Nevada, particularly when those efforts are paired with guaranteed job opportunities for Nevadans.
Building our economy requires us to support our local and small businesses. We need to support Nevadans who are willing to take a risk and start a new business. I will support policies that encourage growth for these businesses because they will create new job opportunities. We particularly need to look for new ideas that will jumpstart entrepreneurship amongst women and within our minority communities.
I believe in giving everyone a fair shot at economic success. I support raising wages, equal pay for equal work, and other economic policies that will make it easier for working families to make ends meet. The more financially secure our middle class and working families are, the stronger our overall state economy will be.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and I am a product of the Clark County School District. I believe in the transformative power of public education.
I now have two nieces and two nephews that mean the world to me who are enrolled students in the Clark County School District. It is no secret that the Clark County School District underperforms compared to other districts across the nation, and there is no single solution that will solve every problem within our public schools. I believe that many of the steps taken in the 2015 legislative session to increase school funding will help, and I support evaluating the effectiveness of each of those new and expanded programs next session. I also support efforts to allow parents to be more involved in their local schools, and to allow school administrators to have more flexibility over things like budgetary decisions.
As your next State Senator, I will work on four key areas: reducing the teacher shortage that is a burden on existing teachers and students, making schools and administration more responsive to student needs and parental concerns, reducing classroom overcrowding by adequately funding school construction and renovation projects, and expanding alternative educational programs that will prepare Nevada’s children for the jobs and career paths of the future.
I am a graduate of both the University of Nevada, Reno and the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. I was able to attend school here in Nevada in large part because I earned a Millennium Scholarship while attending high school in Clark County. Were it not for the Millennium Scholarship, I would not have had the opportunity to get a higher education. It is important for the current and next generation of Nevada children that we protect the Millennium Scholarship so students in our state have the opportunity and access to pursue higher education.
Ensuring access to quality higher education is imperative to the success of our students and our state. I will support efforts to tackle the issue of student debt by providing Nevadans with more options to refinance loans, and will focus on efforts to keep our universities, colleges, and community colleges affordable.
Additionally, I will work to address the under-utilized community college system to ensure we are capitalizing on the opportunities afforded to students by the community college system. Our community colleges should become one of the cornerstones of our higher education system because those schools provide low-cost, high-quality instruction and often provide a cheaper, faster route for students who do not wish to pursue a traditional four-year degree.
Finally, we need to reform the Nevada System of Higher Education in order to decentralize some decision-making, improve information-sharing and the ability of the elected Board of Regents to oversee the system, give institutional presidents a bigger voice in advocating for their schools, and ensure that funding is balanced fairly to serve the interests of all regions of the state.
Nevada has many high-paying job opportunities that do not require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. Some of these high paying jobs require trade and vocational training. I will support legislation to expand training programs and apprenticeships for Nevada’s students. I also fully support integrating the private sector into our community colleges to expand the number of students who receive some form of on-the-job experience as part of their degree program.
Energy and Environment
Nevada has abundant renewable natural resources, and we should capitalize on them as a means of reducing our greenhouse emissions and spurring new economic growth. Nevada has the opportunity to be a national clean energy leader and even has the potential to export clean energy to other states.
Nevada’s rooftop solar industry was hit hard by a PUC decision that unfairly raised rates on existing solar customers. Going forward, I look forward to crafting a legislative solution that will allow the rooftop solar industry to grow while not unfairly burdening non-solar ratepayers.
Nevada is home to an incredible array of publicly owned parks and monuments. Because of this, our natural environment is one of our state’s major selling points, and an important economic driver. The Legislature should take steps to preserve these lands and the public’s right to enjoy them for generations to come.
Veterans and Military Families
Nevada has one of the highest populations of veterans and active duty military personnel in the country, and I believe we must strongly support military families and our returning veterans. More than 11,000 military children nationwide lack adequate access to child care. One simple way we can support these families is by prioritizing child care options for active duty military families and families who have had a service member declared killed-in-action, missing-in-action, or taken as a prisoner of war.
We can also expand services to assist returning veterans in their transition back to civilian life. This includes healthcare and mental health services, as well as job and educational opportunities. I support efforts to ensure our veterans have access to our higher education institutions, as well as job training programs. To this end, I believe we must also do more to ensure the veterans returning to our state are able to utilize the expertise from their military experience, and to have access to quality jobs in our community by promoting those unique skills and talent, and utilizing their training to support our local businesses and economy.
I support efforts to create new services for victims of military sexual trauma and will work to ensure those victims receive the treatment they deserve, and will equally work to ensure we are actively working to address the veteran suicide rate. Next session, we must make sure those services and others are fully funded. Supporting our military veterans and their families is imperative.
Building our economy, expanding educational opportunities for Nevada’s children, and growing Nevada’s small businesses will mean nothing if we do not have safe communities. As a prosecutor, I work with victims of crime and their families every day to make sure those who harmed them are vigorously prosecuted under the law. As a legislator, I will continue to ensure our neighborhoods remain safe for our families to live.
I have also seen firsthand the way crime is constantly changing and evolving. Sophisticated identity theft crimes have increased exponentially in recent years, but our state laws are still lagging behind in how to deal with them. The criminals are getting smarter and so must our state laws. I will lead the fight to update our criminal statutes so that prosecutors have the necessary tools to tackle modern criminal threats.
Seniors in our community deserve to have affordable access to quality healthcare, and I will work to ensure our seniors are able to get the quality services they deserve. Protecting the Senior RX program is a priority because of its importance to Nevada’s seniors in receiving cost-effective prescription drugs. No senior should have to choose between meals and prescriptions, and I will work to ensure our seniors have the ability to get the medication they need. I support efforts to protect seniors’ pensions and retirement savings to ensure our seniors can enjoy their life into their retirement, and to allow seniors to retire with dignity after working hard to reach retirement.
We must ensure Nevadans have access to quality healthcare to address medical needs in order to ensure the health of our community. I will work to make sure families from all walks of life are able to access the quality healthcare they need, and will work to ensure residents have access to healthcare education and prevention programs.
Nevada needs to pay particular attention to expanding healthcare options for at-risk populations, particularly low-income families. We must also finally focus on improving our underfunded mental health system. Our state is behind the curve nationally in providing mental health services, which is dangerous both for those suffering from illnesses and for the wider community.