(Nancy Dallas) – John Ellison is a candidate for the Assembly District 33 seat (Elko, part of Humboldt counties), formerly held by Republican John Carpenter (term-limited out). You may learn more about John’s background and political views at www.johnellison.net
• An Elko City Councilman for 8 years and Elko County Commissioner for 10, you have served in an elected position for 18 years. What experiences in these positions will best help you if elected to the State legislature?
I also serve on the NACO (Nevada Association of County’s) state and national board of directors and past president. This has given me over 10 years of experience with the Legislature.
• Why should the voters in your district elect you over your Primary opponent? Describe your political philosophy.
I have the experience and working knowledge of how the Legislature is run. I have worked with many of the Assemblymen and Senators over the past 10 years. I am a very conservative person and have always represented my constituents to the best of my ability. I have an open door policy and believe that my job is to represent the people.
• What are the demographics of your district? What are the greatest concerns of residents in District 33 and how do you intend to address them if elected?
District 33 is the 2nd largest district in the State of Nevada; it covers all of Elko County and parts of Humboldt County. We have tried to maintain a work force for Elko and Humboldt Counties that is largely hard-rock mining. We cannot tax these companies out of business.
• Nevada is the largest gold producing state in the country, the third largest in the world. You state a strong support of current mining industry regulations. Do you think the mining industry is paying its fair share in support of Nevada’s currently struggling economy? Elaborate.
The mining companies are currently working on a plan with the state of Nevada to resolve some of these issues. The mining industry pays millions into sales tax, net proceeds and wages for many employees that live here in the State of Nevada. If we don’t keep investing in exploration there will be no mining in Nevada. With the mining regulations, state and federal, you are pushing all mining into foreign markets. We have to come up with a balance that will work for mining and the people of the state of Nevada.
• What do you see as the best means of providing sustainable, affordable energy to Nevada? Do you support nuclear energy? Elaborate on this position.
There are very few power plants being built in our country because of the rules and regulations, environmental easements and right of ways. Nevada has the ability to work on geothermal, wind and solar energies, but this will not be enough to supply the demands of the future. California is looking at doing 3rd rate grids into Mexico. Some nuclear power plants around the world are some of the safest and cleanest forms of energy available. We have to look at all aspects of what is going to be the cleanest and safest way to upgrade an older failing system in Nevada.
• How would you propose to address the issue of Nevada’s growing budget crisis? Will you support the legislatively implemented sun-setting in 2011 of those taxes imposed by the 2009 legislature? Elaborate.
The budget crisis is going to be into the billions, we need to be conservative and look at every issue. Sunset legislation pushes the problem back two more years, it is not the answer.
• Does the state need to revise its property tax guidelines? Explain.
The state has taken some taxable ways away from the counties and cities. The current revised property taxes have put some counties and cities around the state with no way to balance their budgets without reduction in their services. The state should give the counties more leeway in which to operate.
• What are your views in regards to the federally mandated Real ID program?
No one should have access to any personal or private information of American born citizens. This might not be the intent of the state, but predecessors or the federal government might take advantage of this in the future. No, I do not support this action, but I do support legislation to stop counterfeiting of driver’s license in our state.
• What is your view in regards to 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?
I feel the process of initiative petitions should be stricter. Under stricter guidelines the people would have more control and the government less.
• Do you believe the Nevada legislature should address the illegal immigration problem in the same manner as Arizona recently did? Elaborate.
Illegal immigration should be a priority, not only around our state but around the whole country. Not only because of illegal drugs, but also the indigent care system is failing in the State of Nevada. We have laws on the books, we need to enforce them.
• To what degree should the state support those students attending Charter schools and schools of choice? Do you support these programs?
I support charter schools and schools of choice.
• How would you propose determining and rewarding outstanding educators?
By the student success rate. Any educator or teacher should be recognized by the state for their accomplishments by certificates or awards, but not by monetary amounts.
• How would you address improving the performance of Nevada’s public school students?
We start by teaching every child how to read, write and do arithmetic. You need to get parents or guardians involved and, to some degree, hold them accountable.
• Do you support Nevada’s Right-to-Work law? Should Nevada State employees be allowed to unionize?
Yes, I support the right to work law; any company should make that decision based on their merits and financial ability. Most State employees are unionized and backed by bargaining units.
• If elected, will you vote to uphold the legislated sunset clause on many of the tax hikes approved by the 2009 legislature? If so, how do you propose addressing an estimated revenue deficit of between $2 to $4 billion?
Some of the sunset legislation is protected by law and some are not. I do not approve of tax hikes; once again, you cannot throw money at a problem and expect it to work.
• Do you support ‘prevailing wage laws’ for state and local government construction projects? Elaborate.
The Davis-Bacon act has limited some projects within the state. Prevailing wage rates has a place on some projects, but if we were able to lower the cap, we might be able to put more people working at a faster rate of speed.
• State tuition support of in-state students at Nevada’s two universities ranks far above the national average. Would you support reducing the amount of this support in an effort to reduce budget deficits? Elaborate.
Yes, I would support lowering the tuition for in state students which would bring more Nevadans to continue their higher education within our own state. The University system needs to prioritize their system and budgets and work with the legislature for the betterment of our children.
• There have been legislative efforts in Nevada and other states to allow voter registration up to the day prior to or on voting day. What is you position in regards to this issue.
I do not support this effort. It leaves too much political manipulation for voter fraud.
• The Missouri Plan for electing/appointing judges will be presented to Nevada voters in November 2010. Do you support the Missouri Plan? Elaborate.
No, I do not support appointments that are not elected by the people, for the people.
• Is there an issue you would like to elaborate on that I have failed to address? Go for it….
You have had some very tough questions. Not only are we facing some of the worst deficit that Nevada has ever encountered, but now, with pending lawsuits, it could increase the deficit even higher. We have to take a conservative approach. The 2011 session has got to have an open mind and the willingness to look at the past and to the future for the betterment of our state and our children and for many generations to come.