(Nancy Dallas) – Elizabeth Halseth is a Republican candidate for Assembly District 13 in Las Vegas. The seat is currently held by fellow Republican Assemblman Chad Christensen who is leaving for a run for state Senate.
Elizabeth is a married mother of three. She works full-time as an executive at an international technology company while also working to complete requirements for a degree in Adult & Family Studies at UNLV. Her community involvement includes work with Special Olympics, Adopt-A-Nursing Home and various community clean-up projects. She is a former member of key Club and ROTC.
Here campaign website can be found at www.elizabethhalseth.com
This is your first effort at running for public office. Why did you choose to run for the Assembly District 13 seat? With no apparent past political campaign experience, what do you consider your strongest qualifications?
After the last election cycle I considered running for Assembly District 13 but once Assemblyman Chad Christensen decided to run in the Senate District 9 race I decided to run for AD13 because it’s important to me that the district continue to be represented by someone with strong conservative values.
As for experience and qualifications, we currently have over a hundred years of experience in Carson City and look where it has gotten us. Nevada now has runaway deficits and higher and higher taxes.
Do you have a ‘campaign’ team and ‘game plan’ in place? Please elaborate.
I have a consultant, David McGowan, with the 525 Group. We have a fundraising, grassroots, and media plan in place.
How to you intend to reach out during your campaign to the voters in your district?
We have maintained a very active schedule of events, phone calling, and community activities since I announced in Oct. These will of course continue with the addition of a Saturday morning Coffee with Elizabeth meet and greet that will rotate around the district. But when it comes right down to it nothing beats good old fashioned door to door walking. Which to my knowledge we were the first Republican campaign to start and will be increasing after the first of the year.
You state you work full time as an executive. Could you elaborate on that position and your responsibilities?
I am on the Executive team at an international technology company where I manage correspondence with potential and current clients as well as prepare research of potential clients, projects and act as the gatekeeper for our company President/CEO. I schedule meetings and events for the CEO as well as company wide and handle all details of business travel.
I assist the company Chief Financial Officer with various tasks, including employee benefits, contract filing and scheduling appointments with business vendors. I plan, prepare and execute company meetings and events including our annual Christmas Parties and other events that promote team building. I work closely with other business executives around the world to assure their business needs are met and to keep open communication between us and our clients.
How much money do you intend to commit to this campaign? Will you be putting you own money into your effort? If so, how much – is there a limit?
I have invested in my campaign and will continue to contribute more in the future. To discuss exact amounts is to provide information to my opponents.
What do you estimate this campaign will cost?
The budget we have for the campaign is information we believe should be kept confidential.
What personal attributes do you think would best serve you as a newcomer to the State Legislature?
My work ethic, integrity, and dedication to public service.
What are the demographics of your Assembly district? What do you perceive as your district’s primary concerns?
I would describe my district as a suburban bedroom type community, on the higher end of the scale economically. My district ranges from the rural areas of Red Rock, Sandy Valley, and Mount Charleston to the suburbs of Summerlin, Aliente, and Mountains Edge.
In addition to the issues facing all of Nevada jobs, economy, and education, my district has been hit hard by the foreclosures, negative equity, unfinished developments and increasing property taxes.
You state Education as your highest priority; budgets supporting classrooms rather than bureaucracy; creative educational options and schools of choice; and, school, administrative and teacher performance evaluations. How would you address:
Directing more of the school budget toward student needs without increasing revenue? I don’t believe the Nevada State Teachers Association would agree to less money being directed toward teacher salaries.
I believe there are many areas we can trim without going after teacher salaries. The Clark County School District alone spends millions on consultants and has some of the highest debt costs in the nation. We can also look at the support services where maintenance workers are earning more than teachers.
To what degree do you think the state should support schools of choice? School vouchers? What other educational options would you advocate?
I support parents having as much choice and control of their child’s education as possible. I support vouchers, charter schools and empowerment schools.
On what would you base school, administrate and teacher performance evaluations? How would you propose addressing those entities falling below set standards?
I believe each school should be judged first as a whole then each teacher individually. Test scores alone can’t be the only part of the evaluation process. They need to part of a process that includes parent, and student involvement and peer review. I believe the empowerment school model is the best workable approach to deal with accountability.
How would you propose making our public schools more safe?
In order to make our schools more safe and reduce the risk for children to be involved with drugs or criminal activity we must provide more activities that produce character and team building as well as community awareness and leadership programs. I don’t thinking adding more security on campus is the answer; we need to look at positive ways to influence Nevada’s children.
Should the state support vouchers, charter schools and empowerment schools with our tax dollars? To what degree?
The I believe the state should support vouchers, charter schools, and empowerment schools 100%
Do you think Nevada provides adequate vocational education at the high school and post-high school levels? If not, what else could be done?
I don’t believe we provide enough vocational education opportunities, but I believe the first priority must be fixing grades K – 12. Vocational opportunities will not help our children unless they have mastered the basic educational skills.
You have pledged to not raise taxes or increase fees. Many of the tax and fee increases imposed by the 2009 Legislature are due to sunset in 2011. Will you vote to uphold this sunset clause on each? With a projected $2 Billion revenue shortfall projected by 2011, how would you propose to meet projected revenue shortfalls?
My commitment to not raising the taxes on the citizens of Nevada is absolute. With the 2011 session over a year away I can’t say how I would vote on existing taxes, but will not support additional taxes. Since I have been in Nevada these projections have never been right so I refuse to speculate on hypotheticals; however, I don’t believe raising taxes on an economy struggling to recover is the answer.
You advocate a ‘necessity to examine programs to determine their effectiveness and value’. What programs do you believe fall into the category of ‘unnecessary and ineffective’?
I have been studying the NPRI concept of first in first out. I believe we start by looking at the expansion of state government in 2007 and look at those programs first.
What types of potential new programs would you put in the category of ‘not being able to survive in bad times’?
As my campaign unfolds I will unveil my ideas on the state budget and places I see or believe it can be improved.
Would you support the lay-off of state workers in order to balance the budget?
Nobody supports anyone losing their jobs. A dedicate state workforce is important for Nevada’s success, so I would try to exhaust all options before resorting to those measures.
Do you support Nevada’s ‘Right to Work’ law? Do you believe state workers should be allowed to unionize?
I believe that workers of all types have the right to organize. But I also believe as the caretakers of the taxpayer’s money the state has an obligation to pursue the best labor costs.
I support keeping Nevada a ‘Right to Work’ state for all employees
What existing ‘job killing regulations and tax increases’ would you attempt to change? What new proposals would you support to help lure additional businesses to Nevada?
The Modified Business Tax is one job killing tax. The recent increase has added hundreds of dollars of labor to small and medium business, the kind of business to be creating jobs.
What measures do you think are needed to strengthen Nevada’s child protective laws? Could you suggest any new proposals that might help strengthen current programs?
It is clear from just the stories in the media of children slipping through the cracks in the CPS, we need a top to bottom review of these programs to be sure no child slips thru.
You state Public Safety as another of your primary issues. To what degree do you believe the state should support the funding of local fire and police needs?
Funding, Staffing of local fire and police forces should be done at the local level.
Changes made by the 2009 Legislature prohibit newly hired firefighters and police from ‘spiking’ their retirement benefits with overtime pay boosts to their base salaries; however, current employees are exempt (‘grandfathered in’) from this. In consideration of the debt burden being carried by PERS, do you think additional steps should be taken in regards to public safety employees?
I don’t believe in changing the rules on employees already in PERS. I do believe that all possible steps need to be made to make the system financially sound for new employees.
What is your position on Initiative Petitions? Should the process be more strictly governed? Or not? Should those petitions advocating a measure that would cause a tax or fee increase be required to pass under stricter guidelines than a simple majority?
The petition process should be left intact. I believe it is a tool the people can use when government doesn’t meet their responsibilities. I do believe petitions to raise taxes should require a super majority.
What is your position in regards to the state spending $500,000 to fund an independent tax study of the State’s tax structure?
I oppose it. We are elected to formulate tax policy and should not push off our responsibilities on commissions.
The Missouri Plan for appointing judges will come before the voters for final passage in 2010. Do you support this system, as opposed to the current system of electing judges?
I oppose the Missouri plan. The people should have the power to elect judges.