(Nancy Dallas) – Calanit Atia is a Republican running for the Assembly District 22 seat (Las Vegas), against Republican incumbent Lynn Stewart. You can learn more about Calanit’s background and political positions at www.atia4jobs.com
• Give a brief summary of why you feel you are qualified to serve in the State Assembly.
I am a proud owner of A to Z Events a successful business that has provided many jobs to our great state.
The experience that I have gained from owning a business since 2001, has giving me the business savvy skills which are needed in order to get us on in our assembly today to get the state back on the path for recovery.
• This is your first run for an elected office. Why did you decide to run for the State Assembly?
I have decided to run because I believe that business people run government, but bureaucrats don’t run business.
Small business owners are known to run their companies with limited funds and still offer high level, quality services. We must balance the State’s checkbook and work efficiently.
• Do you have a ‘campaign team’ and a ‘game plan’ in place?
As any executive will tell you, before you start any endeavor you always start with a business plan and then you put together the best team available. I have done that. My team includes: A State Wide Known Campaign Manager, a Local Deputy Campaign Manager, and most importantly, a fantastic team of volunteers, and they are out walking every weekend.
• Did anyone within the Republican Party approach you to run or offer any specific support?
Ed Goodhart, who won the distinction of “taxpayer’s best friend in the 2009 NV Legislative Session Review & Report Card, has been my mentor and biggest supporter.
• What do you feel qualifies you to better represent your district than your opponents, one of whom has served in the State legislature?
As you can see on my website Atia4jobs.com, I signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge drafted by Grover Norquist, with him personally, and fully intend to keep my pledge.
Secondly, the open door policy I have in my company will extend to my constituents; I have a web site, with extensive information and contact links, and I am very active on social media, where I can stay connected with over 1500 fans and friends. Unlike my opponent who has very recently created one page web site; I believe that accessibility is the key to successfully representing citizens in local government.
My bills will be aimed at creating jobs and reducing spending, bringing efficiently to the government and nothing trivial.
• What are the demographics of your district? What do you perceive to be the most important issues facing your district? Elaborate on how you intend to address them.
The demographics of Assembly 22 are mainly Republican, and conservative in nature. I perceive the issues to be the same as they are everywhere; JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. People in my district have been adversely affected by the economy and the inefficiency that the issues have been dealt with in a State and Local level. You cannot stimulate a sluggish economy by increasing tax burdens on the very businesses that are expected to hire more workers. More jobs can only be created in an environment were corporate taxes are kept low to encourage business growth, development and relocation. It is my priority to present only legislation that will encourage growth, and make Nevada a competitive market to bring new business to through keeping taxes low.
• There have been legislative efforts in Nevada and other states to allow voter registration up to the day prior to or on voting day. Elaborate on what your position would be in regards to similar efforts in Nevada.
Voting is a privilege and should not be abused. Prior day registration and voting without proper ID can open the door to voter fraud. We need to protect the integrity of our system; therefore I will not support it.
• What are your views in regards to the federally mandated Real ID program?
We have to prevent terrorist and criminals and illegal immigrants from creating fraudulent drivers licenses and other forms of ID but we cannot allow those necessary program to be used to take away the rights of our citizens.
I will vote for any bill that will make identification more difficult to forge but I will never vote for restrict the rights of our citizens I am against any identification that require biometrics information or contain a tracking device.
• In regards to stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the state of Nevada, what is your view of the illegal immigration measure efforts by the Arizona State Legislature to make it a state crime to be in the country illegally – requiring law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of people they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally?
As a proud naturalized American who went through all the hurdles it takes to become an America citizen, which was my proudest moment, I believe in the constitution and laws that which this great country and state were built on.
I understand the principle behind the AZ immigration law but I believe it violates our 4th Amendment rights and I will defend the constitution until the day I die.
• State tuition support of in-state students at Nevada’s two universities ranks far above the national average. Would you support reducing this support in an effort to reduce budget deficits? Are there specific cuts you would propose within the state university system budget?
As a proud graduate of UNLV, I am personally acquainted the challenges that students, teachers and the state are facing. Every school has a specialty that they are known for, and that strength should be supported and nurtured. Cuts can be made without the educational standards being affected. There is a lot of waste, and we should address the issues on an individual basis.
• Do you believe the legislature should be mandated to follow the same open meeting laws that local governments are subjected to? Elaborate.
Yes. Nevadans voted for those legislators and every Nevadans has a stake in what those legislators decide. It is imperative that the legislature remains subject to the people who elected them through open meetings and true transparency.
• Reapportionment will be a major political battle in the upcoming 2011 Legislature. Would you support an increase in the number of legislators in either house? Explain this position and how you feel the rural counties can continue to be fairly represented.
Reapportionment is critical. The districts are so disproportionate that Nevadans are not equally represented with some districts having as many and 90,000 constituents and others having as few as 5,000. As a legislator, I intend to ensure that the reapportionment of seats will allow all Nevadan’s needs to be represented.
• The Missouri Plan for electing judges will be presented to Nevada voters in 2010. Do you support the Missouri Plan? Why/why not?
No. I believe that all judges should be elected by the voters of Nevada. In the case of a vacancy, I believe that a special election should be held to replace that judge as soon as possible, and that judges should re-bid for election at minimum every 4 years.
• Do you support the current state school funding formula? Elaborate.
No. While State and Local governments share responsibility with the Federal government to fund education, the greatest challenge we face is how the funding is appropriated. Local and State governments need to be able to work with Principals and Parents to determine how to utilize money without wasteful spending, and while providing for the essential needs of their students. While standardized testing is effective in evaluating the individual skills and improvements of students, basing funding on such tests, encourages teaching to the test, and lowering of overall standards, rather than true learning. Principals must be accountable for the money that they are spending, but we must bring educational spending down to a local level, where principals, educators, parents, and the community can work together to provide opportunities for students to excel.
• To what degree should the State support Charter schools and those students opting to attend a school outside their district?
It is my belief that charter and magnet schools are effective and a step in the right direction to increasing our students’ performance. Education should be about parental choice. Allowing parents to choose where their children are educated will increase parental involvement which is essential to a solid educational system, while giving schools strong incentive to improve their practices, and their standards. Therefore, I believe that our State should fully support and further implement Charter and Magnet school programs.
• How would you address improving the performance of Nevada’s public school population?
As a proud UNLV graduate, I know firsthand the importance of a quality education. In these tough economic times, I believe we must increase our schools’ efficiency and renew their focus on the student.
Too many of our students fail to get their high school diplomas or college degrees because they failed to establish an adequate foundation in the basics—like the English language. I believe it’s better to fix a problem when it appears than to simply hope a child can somehow catch up later, and feel it is essential that children must perform at grade level before being advanced to the next grade.
Our teachers bear the responsibility for our next generation, and I believe their paychecks should reflect that responsibility. Teachers who help their students make the grade should be rewarded with merit pay. Tenure should be reserved for educators who have displayed excellence in their work over time. One year is simply not long enough to give teachers tenure, and I intend to extend the amount of time they have to work before they are granted tenure, which will allow a more competitive environment for teachers, and encourage excellence for our students.
In addition, I believe that local parents and educators can best decide how our education dollars are spent. Schools individually empowered to determine their curricula and budgets greatly outperform schools trapped in the traditional education model.
Furthermore, I believes all schools should have that empowerment, and all parents should have a say in how their tax dollars are spent educating their children.
Lastly, I believe in homeschooling as a choice for education, and that those parents need to be supported in their rights to make that choice. Essential liberties must be granted to home educators, and their ability to make decisions in their children’s education and future without hindrance must be protected.
• In order to balance the state budget, the 2009 legislature made several ‘raids’ on local funding sources, leaving some counties in severe financial straits. The state budget woes are not over. How would you suggest finding the additional revenue needed to overcome projected budget shortfalls? Will you consider taking additional ‘local’ revenue sources and re-directing them to the state coffers?
That is a great question that I would love to answer, because that is the reason I am running. There are ways to make the government more efficient and more cost effective to operate.
In a business when we don’t have money in the budget we have to cut cost which today our government does not. One of the examples is Request For Proposal. It is essential that our government seek out the most cost effective ways to get projects completed, just as a business would.
Secondly, I believe that utilizing group buying power with interagency purchasing and combining services such as web site services can offer opportunities for savings and cost efficiency.
All these savings can amount to a lot … and this is only the beginning… I have many more ideas, which will help with NV recovery.
• Do you support Nevada’s Right-to Work law? Should Nevada State employees be allowed to unionize?
I support Nevada’s Right to Work, unequivocally YES!
• What do you see as the best means of providing sustainable, affordable energy to Nevada? Do you support nuclear energy? Elaborate.
Nuclear Energy, along with several types of clean energy which is available to this state, such as wind, geothermal and solar power, are essential to diversifying our state’s economy, as well as securing our future in affordable energy. It will increase opportunities for new job creation, and increase the standard of living in our great state.
• Is there an issue I have failed to address you would like to expound upon? Go for it…………..
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers…. Very much appreciated. Your questions were well thought out, as are your past pieces which I have enjoyed reading.