(Nancy Dallas) – Scott Chappell is running for the Assembly District 22 seat (Las Vegas) against Republican incumbent Lynn Stewart. You can learn more about Scott’s background and political positions at www.scott4nevada.com
• Give a brief summary of why you feel you are qualified to serve in the State Assembly.
I am a native Nevadan who grew up within the boundaries of the Assembly District I now wish to represent. I have never been elected to public office, but have always followed the political process at all levels of government. I registered to vote at 18, and have never missed an opportunity to exercise that privilege. I always study each candidate, and issue, very thoroughly before casting my votes. I believe that my desire to do right by my fellow Nevadans, combined with my honest, common-sense approach to people and to government will be an asset to the State Legislature.
• Is this your first run for an elected office? Why did you decide to run for the State Assembly? Do you have a ‘campaign team’ and a ‘game plan’ in place? Did anyone within the Republican Party approach you to run or offer any specific support?
Actually, this is my third campaign for public office. The knowledge and experience I have gained from my previous efforts have been applied to my current campaign. I can honestly state that this campaign is the best organized I’ve ever been. I’ve met with more people, spoken to more groups, and attended more political events than ever before. My efforts are paying off in both campaign donations and name recognition. In addition, my Campaign Manager has worked in the advertising business for over 20 years. Her personal contacts and general expertise in the advertising business have been advantageous to my campaign.
• What do you feel qualifies you to better represent your district than your opponents, one of whom is the current incumbent.
I feel that the only way to end the tax and spend policies of our government is to increase the number of conservative politicians who will vote against taxation issues. The incumbent to this office is one of my opponents. He has served two terms in the Assembly and has proven himself to be unfriendly to the taxpayers. The Nevada Policy Research Institute evaluated every State Legislator and gave this individual a 34% rating for his votes on taxation issues. Citizen’s Outreach was a bit more forgiving, having rated him at 35%. Unlike the incumbent, I have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and I keep my promises.
Unlike my other two opponents, I am a native Nevadan. I feel that this qualifies me to better understand the needs of the State. I recall a time when Nevada was among the lowest taxed states in the country and our citizens enjoyed individual freedoms that we no longer have. Unfortunately, we’ve allowed our elected officials to gradually encroach upon these freedoms. Those who didn’t grow up in an environment with limited government and individual freedoms, like my opponents, will never understand, and cannot relate to, what our State has lost. I would like to return Nevada to the days when individual freedoms reigned.
• 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 issues facing the people in my District are no different than those facing every other Nevadan: employment, housing, education, and retirement. Our state is in crisis. Our unemployment rate is over 13% and we have the highest foreclosure rate in the country. Now is not the time to consider raising existing taxes or implementing new taxes.
Government stimulus programs are not the answer. The only way to resolve the housing crisis is to get people back to work. We must create a tax-friendly environment that will stimulate existing businesses and attract new businesses to come to Nevada. When the unemployment rate drops, tax revenues increase and mortgage foreclosures decrease.
I will address these problems by voting against taxation issues.
• 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.
I’m opposed to last-minute voter registration. Anyone who is familiar with the candidates and issues, and will cast an educated vote, will have registered long before election day.
Election day registration opens the door for voter fraud. It will also encourage ACORN, and similar groups, to implement unethical tactics to skew elections at the last minute with uneducated voting blocks.
• What are your views in regards to the federally mandated Real ID program?
I believe the basic intent of the law is commendable. The primary objective of the law is to stem the overwhelming tide of illegal immigrants entering our country. The law imposes stricter standards for individuals applying for asylum and other forms of relief, restricts illegal immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses, and provides the necessary funding to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads to deter illegal crossings.
However, as we all know, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. As written, I have a lot of apprehension about future implications of the law. Since the law imposes no limits on potential uses, my concern is that the requirements of the Real ID license may be expanded to the point of infringing upon our individual rights. In extreme cases, we could find ourselves subject to government authorization of our activities. Examples of this include ID checkpoints and travel restrictions. I’m opposed to any law that opens the door for more government control or the infringement of our individual freedoms. I would like to see the law amended to clarify the objectives.
• 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?
I commend the Arizona Legislature and Governor for passing this law. Every State should follow suit with similar legislation. While Arizona’s problem is more severe than Nevada’s, we are not far behind. With an estimated 300,000 undocumented residents, Nevada ranks twelfth in the nation for having the highest illegal alien population. Arizona ranks fifth.
Illegal immigration is destroying our society and our economy. These people expect us to learn their language and adapt to their culture. Our welfare-state society, which provides a livelihood for those who won’t work, encourages illegal immigrants to come here for the taxpayer-funded benefits. American citizens are under no obligation to pay for the education and medical care for any illegal immigrant.
In 2009, Nevada taxpayers were saddled with a $28 million expense to incarcerate illegal aliens. This figure does not take into account the personal price that the victims and their families suffered by the crimes committed against them.
I have an acquaintance who works for the Nevada Department of Corrections. He informed me that when an illegal immigrant is released from prison, a representative the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is required to be present. The INS conducts an interview with the inmate and if his crime isn’t deemed “deportable”, he is released back into our society. It is for this reason that I support Arizona’s law. It should be a crime for an illegal alien to be standing on U.S. soil and, this alone, should be sufficient grounds for arrest and deportation.
• 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?
I must make it clear that I’m not a child of privilege. I had to maintain a full time job throughout my college years to pay for my educational pursuits. In the end, every penny of my tuition came from my personal funds. It’s difficult, but not impossible to get an education in this manner. For this reason, I’m in favor of reducing government assistance for tuition. There are numerous grants and scholarships that are available to students. If a student doesn’t qualify for these, there are low-interest student loans that are deferrable until graduation.
The first thing that needs to be cut from the budget of the Nevada System of Higher Education is the Nevada State College, located in Henderson. The college does not offer any unique courses that aren’t readily available at UNLV, CSN, or one of the many private colleges and universities in Clark County. The annual operating budget for this white elephant is over $16 million; $10 million of which comes from the State general fund. This expenditure is just the operating budget. The construction budget is far worse.
During my 2008 campaign, I had the opportunity to speak with the Public relations Director for CSN. During our conversation, I was informed that the HVAC system for one of the buildings had failed, forcing the cancellation of all classes scheduled to be held in the building. The cost for repairs was estimated to be $25,000, but the school budget was insufficient to make the necessary repairs. However, at that same moment, construction of a $23 million Liberal Arts building was nearing completion at the Nevada State College. In addition, the Nevada Regents have approved a $30 million expenditure for a new Nursing and Science building to be added the campus.
The millions that are being wasted on this albatross could be better spent improving educational opportunities at the other state-funded universities and colleges. Case in point: I earned a Chemistry degree from UNLV. While working on my degree, it was commonplace for students to use chemicals that were over 20 years-old. In addition, the analytical equipment at our disposal was severely outdated. When I obtained employment in a professional analytical laboratory, I became aware of just how limited my knowledge of modern analytical instrumentation and techniques was.
We should not siphon funds from our established universities and colleges to fund the Nevada State College.
• Do you believe the legislature should be mandated to follow the same open meeting laws that local governments are subjected to? Elaborate.
Regardless of the office held, all politicians are servants of the public. As such, they should always be subject to public scrutiny. I believe all meetings must be open to the public.
• 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.
I believe the number of State representatives is sufficient. Additional legislators will only increase the cost of doing business in Carson City. I also believe that every county should be represented by at least one Senator and one Assemblyman. This may require making a shift in the apportionment of Senators and Assemblymen, but it’s the only method to assure that all citizens receive fair representation.
• The Missouri Plan for electing judges will be presented to Nevada voters in 2010. Do you support the Missouri Plan? Why/why not?
I oppose the Missouri plan. It grants too much control of the candidate selection process to the government.
I believe that judges should be selected by the voters, not a government commission comprised of a few select panelists who meet behind closed doors. Every individual who meets the minimum qualifications for the office, and has the desire and ambition to run, should be eligible. If the judge fails to perform, the people will promptly remove them from office in the next election.
• Do you support the current state school funding formula? Elaborate.
I would not change anything with the current school funding formula. The Nevada educational system is the largest recipient of tax revenues generated state wide. I don’t believe that our schools lack sufficient funding; instead, they lack sufficient direction.
Our school districts are increasingly becoming welfare institutions, providing food, clothing and medical care to students. In addition, there are school-funded outreach programs to help illegal aliens learn to speak English. Non-essential programs like these are beyond the scope, and mission, of our schools and should be eliminated.
• To what degree should the State support Charter schools and those students opting to attend a school outside their district?
I don’t believe that Charter schools should be funded any differently than other public schools, especially since Charter schools receive private funding that is not available to public schools.
The jury is still out on whether the Charter schools are meeting their performance goals. I, personally, haven’t seen any statistics that would indicate that they are a raving success. However, I do agree that parents, not the School Districts, should determine what schools their children attend. I believe that the money should follow the students and the parents should have the flexibility to determine where their kids are educated.
• How would you address improving the performance of Nevada’s public school population?
Education starts in the home. Too many of our students are living in broken homes, with grandparents, great-grandparents, or foster homes. If children don’t get the support they need from their parents or guardians, they are at a disadvantage before entering the school grounds. This is a social dilemma that is beyond the scope of the schools.
It’s no secret that the No Child Left Behind program is a flop. This program essentially requires teachers to adjust the content of their instruction to meet the needs of the lowest performing students. The end result is that those who have the ability to excel are hindered. We don’t need the federal government meddling in our State educational system. We need to assert our State sovereignty and reject this bill. If teachers are allowed to provide instruction, based on the need of their students, we will witness improvements.
Another factor that affects student achievement is the inability to communicate. The Pew Hispanic Center, in Washington D.C., published a report which estimates that 10% of Nevada’s K-12 student population is the child of an illegal immigrant. Nevada taxpayers are under no obligation to educated illegal aliens. We need to address this element in our public education system.
• 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?
I believe the Legislature overstepped its authority when it robbed local revenue sources. The result of this is a law suit being filed against the State by those who have been robbed.
If nothing else, the 2010 Special Session proved just how unscrupulous our State Legislators can be. Local revenue sources should never be diverted to pay for an irresponsible state government. It should be noted that the welfare recipients in the State have not suffered from these cuts. After the Special Session, I read a newspaper article in which Governor Gibbons assured those who receive State assistance that their benefits would not suffer. The only people to suffer are those of us who pay for the welfare benefits.
The only way to end budget shortfalls is for government to be responsible with our tax dollars. First and foremost, we must eliminate, or reduce in size and scope, all government entities and programs that are not performing to expectations and those that are simply too expensive to continue funding. Next, we must audit every State-funded for waste and abuse. Welfare expenditures must be reduced. Able-bodied people should never be allowed to collect welfare. We can reduce education and prison expenditures by removing illegal aliens from our schools and prisons.
Lastly, we need to create good paying jobs in order to get people back to work. We have relied on tourism for too many years. We no longer have a monopoly on legal gaming. Indian gaming, riverboat casinos, and Atlantic City have combined to draw gamblers to other locations. We need to create a tax-friendly environment that will draw private industry to the state. If people are employed, tax revenues will increase.
• Do you support Nevada’s Right-to Work law? Should Nevada State employees be allowed to unionize?
I fully support the right to work. No one should be forced to join any organization as a condition for employment.
I have read the Nevada Employee’s Handbook. With the exception of COLA, it appears that most of the benefits offered to State employees correlates with union benefits, including grievance procedures.
One only need look at the issues currently facing the City of Las Vegas as a good example of the problems that can arise from unionizing public employees. Allowing State workers to unionize could have negative repercussions on the State budget. Therefore, I would oppose the unionization of State employees.
• What do you see as the best means of providing sustainable, affordable energy to Nevada? Do you support nuclear energy? Elaborate.
I am a proponent of alternative energy sources. The dry climate of Nevada offers an environment that is conducive for producing a nearly limitless supply of solar-generated electricity. I’m pleased to see the strides that Nevada has recently taken in this regard.
I am also an advocate of nuclear energy. America lags behind the world in this aspect. Only 19% of our energy is derived from nuclear power, as compared to France, which derives 75% of it power from this source.
Unfortunately, the media and the politicians have made the general public fearful of the word “radiation”. The real scare began, in 1979, with the Three Mile Island accident. All plans for the construction of new nuclear power plants ceased at that time. However, it must be noted that there was no loss of life, nor was there any environmental damage, that resulted from the Three Mile Island incident. In fact, as one bumper sticker proclaimed, “More people were killed in Ted Kennedy’s car than at Three Mile Island”. Who can argue with that logic?
We can all thank Harry Reid for making it even more difficult for the future of nuclear energy. The State of California has expressed interest in new construction, but without a permanent place to store the spent fuel, the plans are on hold.