(Nancy Dallas) – This is the final in our series of interviews with Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Nevada. Today’s featured interviewee is Sue Lowden. For those candidates who got into this race late and after these interviews were conducted, feel free to answer the same questions and submit them to me for future publication.
1. Please write a brief summary of your professional and political history.
I am a longtime Nevada resident, philanthropist and an award-winning news reporter, anchorwoman and businesswoman. I have also served as a Nevada State Senator and Chairman of the Nevada Republican Party.
For more than 30 years, I have lived and worked in Nevada. In 1992, I ran for the Nevada State Senate in a heavily Democratic-controlled district and won that campaign by defeating Jack Vergiels, who then served as the Nevada Senate Majority Leader.
In the Nevada State Legislature, I served as the Senate Majority Whip and the Chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee. Throughout my legislative service, I was well known as an ardent supporter of low taxes on Nevada’s working families and a fierce proponent of responsible state spending. My work in office earned me the Guardian of Small Business Award from the Nevada chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), Senator of the Year Award from the Clark County Republican Party, the Woman of the Year Award by the Republican Women of Las Vegas and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 by the Republican Women of Henderson.
Prior to my political service, I had a diverse and storied professional career. I started out as an elementary school teacher in New Jersey, then moved to Las Vegas and I landed a job with KLAS-TV, the local CBS affiliate for southern Nevada. At KLAS-TV, I earned numerous awards for my work as a reporter and anchorwoman, including an Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) Award for Best Newscast. I am member of the KLAS Channel 8 Hall of Fame.
I am also an accomplished, award-winning businesswoman. As a Nevada gaming licensee, I currently serve as a Member of the Board of Directors and Secretary-Treasurer of Archon Corporation, a gaming and investment company. I was the former President of Santa Fe Hotel and Casino and former Executive Vice President of Sahara Hotel and Casino – both in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have earned a Women of Achievement Award by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce – Nevada’s largest business organization.
One of my greatest achievements, and my most notable public service, comes from my philanthropic work on behalf of many important charities and causes. I am currently a Member of the Board of Directors and National Treasurer of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). My involvement with MDA began in 1978 when I became the local host of the Las Vegas telethon. Later, my husband Paul and I hosted the National MDA Telethon at the Sahara Hotel. Through my decades of service, I have earned the Humanitarian Award from MDA, as well as the Director Award.
I am a former Miss New Jersey and 2nd runner-up for Miss America in 1973, I have been a longtime champion and advocate for the Miss America Organization. I currently serve as a Member of their Board of Directors, proudly advocating for what has become the single-largest women’s scholarship fund in America.
In addition, I am a Founding Member and former Board Member of Nevada Child Seekers where I earned the Chris Saller WE CAN Award for my service. I am also the former Chief Barker of the Variety Club for Handicapped Children of Southern Nevada and the Founding Member of the Southern Nevada Ice Hockey League. In addition, I am a St. Viator’s School Hall of Fame inductee.
I have received numerous awards for my community and public service, including the Hadassah Woman of the Year Award, the Catherine Variety Sheridan Award, the Variety Club Heart Award, the No More Tears Award from the Family and Child Treatment Center of Southern Nevada, the Award of Distinction from the Frontier Girl Scout Council, the Devoted Service Award from Nevada Donor Network, as well I was being honored by the Las Vegas Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Association.
I earned my BA degree (Magna Cum Laude) from American University in Washington, DC MA degree (Cum Laude) from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford, New Jersey. I also hold an Honorary AA Degree from the Community College of Southern Nevada. Prior to completing my secondary degrees, I traveled with the USO and the Bob Hope Christmas troupe to Vietnam and American military bases all over the world.
My husband Paul and I have four children: Christopher, Jennifer, Paul IV and William (1986-2004). Paul and I have been married 26 years. We also have one granddaughter, Vanessa
2. What past experiences do you think best qualify you to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate? Why should voters support you over your Primary opponents?
I am the only candidate who has shown effective legislative experience. I am also the only candidate with extensive business experience. My husband Paul and I have created thousands of private sector jobs in Nevada, more jobs than all the other candidates and Harry Reid combined.
3. Should individuals be allowed to contribute unlimited amounts of money to Federal candidates? Would you support a law requiring immediate disclosure via the internet of large contributions?
I support the First Amendment but I believe limits on contributions are a reasonable restriction that protects our electoral process. I do support immediate disclosure via the internet for large contributions
4. Understanding the proposed Congressional health plans are under scrutiny and changes will be made to the original proposals, what are your greatest concerns with the current proposals? What specific alternatives would you propose?
My greatest concern with all the current Democrat proposals is they all lead to government control of our health care system.
Rather than crippling our nation with higher debt and higher taxes to fund government-run health care, I have called for solutions that can begin to drive down the cost of health insurance, thus making it more accessible to those who do not have coverage today.
First, Congress should immediately pass and implement meaningful, national medical liability reform. Even Senator Reid admits that this can save us $54 BILLION. America has the most expensive civil litigation system in the world, and it is estimated that 40 percent of claims are meritless. Medical liability reform not only keeps more doctors practicing medicine today, but it prevents the practice of “defensive medicine” in our hospitals and clinics. The Pacific Research Institute has put the price tag of practicing defensive medicine at $154 BILLION.
In addition, I support allowing Nevadans and all Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines, just as we are allowed to do when shopping for the best car or life insurance for our families. This would instantly bring more companies into the fold – competing for our business by offering more health care options at more affordable prices.
Further, we should allow small businesses to better pool their resources together when employers are purchasing health insurance for their employees. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. We need to give small businesses the same purchasing power as big business and big labor. This effort, coupled with available Health Savings Accounts for consumers, will further drive down costs – both in your tax bill to the government and for your health insurance.
Finally, Nevadans should be able to not only purchase their health care from other states if those plans are more affordable and meet their needs, but they should have better options of purchasing health insurance outside their businesses so they don’t lose their coverage if they lose or leave their jobs. Our citizens should be able to take their health insurance with them when they move from one employer to the next. This will prevent lapses in health coverage and provide our residents with the stability they deserve in their health insurance even as we have little stability in our local economy.
These are just a few cost-savings measures that Congress can implement now, and immediately bring down the cost of health insurance and make it more accessible to Nevada families. Senator Reid’s plan only drives up costs, deficits and taxes – and does not accomplish what any health care reform package must provide – better quality and accessibility.
5. Our national debt is growing at an astronomical rate (to $1.4 trillion this past year). Do you support a ‘balanced budget’ amendment to the Constitution? If so, specify your plan to create an annual balanced budget?
Yes, I do support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I propose that the federal government mandate not only an immediate spending freeze, but that we ask all federal departments and agencies to cut 5 percent of their spending, except those tasked with protection our national and homeland security (even though I am convinced that significant savings can be found there, too). Senator Reid and his Washington allies have so drastically increased federal spending in this country that we cannot simply stop the level of spending, we need to reduce spending to get our nation back on a more stable, economic footing.
If we do nothing, within the next decade alone, the federal government will be spending more just on the interest on our debt than we do on discretionary defense spending. In fact, by 2018, we will be spending more on interest than we do on ALL non-defense discretionary spending combined, including education, energy, transportation, housing and environmental protection.
We must not allow Senator Reid to continue spending away our future prosperity. This is not a record to be proud of … in fact, it is the height of irresponsibility. Republicans, Democrats, Independents – and those who are years away from even becoming eligible voters – deserve better. As your senator, I will stop this careless spending and prevent decades of job-killing tax hikes and unaffordable interest rates.
6. Do you support the current U. S. military’s rules of engagement in Afghanistan? Explain.
No, I believe our troops should have the proper tools, training and equipment to fight these wars and have the proper rules of engagement to protect themselves and innocent civilians.
7. Nevada’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation. What, if any, steps should be taken by the Federal government to specifically address Nevada’s unemployment concerns?
In order to get our economy back on track so that we can create real, private sector jobs, America must borrow less, spend less and tax less. My economic recovery plan is guided by a few basic principles:
1) When a government job is created, a private sector job is destroyed via higher taxes on job-providers,
2) We cannot continue to borrow money to support government spending because we only destroy the prosperity for future generations, and
3) Increased taxes reduce the funds available for all private sector investment – which is solely responsible for real job creation.
Nevada has one of the highest unemployment rates in America and we have the highest home foreclosure rate of all 50 states. Failed policies from Washington have only made our recession worse for working families and retirees. It is time for a real economic recovery plan – one that places control back into the hands of those who can best create real, short and long-term economic stimulus – the Nevada taxpayers.
Harry Reid believes that big government is better capable of creating jobs than ordinary Nevadans. He believes that we are not to be trusted with our own money, so he takes more of it to spend on wasteful, ineffective government programs and taxpayer-funded bribes to buy votes from fellow senators. It is shameful that Harry Reid has used his position of power to waste our precious tax dollars in such a way.
Nevadans want solutions that will work. Nevadans want jobs and the stability that long-lasting employment and careers can provide a family. Therefore, as we begin this election year, I am proud to provide my economic plan for Nevada so that voters will see a clear contrast between my plan and the plan Harry Reid has been carelessly executing over the past year.
I propose a three step solution to unemployment:
1) Immediate and permanent tax relief
Cut the business tax on American job providers
Cut the payroll tax
Work to eliminate the Capital Gains Tax
Permanent Repeal of the Death Tax
2) Long-term job creation for hardworking Nevadans
Diversify our energy resources
Encourage innovation and investment in new industries
Protect and preserve Nevada’s signature industries
Enact real and meaningful lawsuit reform
3) Accountable and transparent government spending
8. How would you propose the Federal government address the issues related to the number of illegal aliens currently in the Untied States?
My border security and immigration policy is really quite simple and it begins by not supporting amnesty, but rather enforcing current, federal laws even if that means building an electronic or physical fence. I believe to stem the flow of illegal immigration, we must secure our borders. We have many tools at our disposal, between advanced technologies that help us track movement along the border, as well as increased numbers of border patrol agents, that when properly and adequately deployed, will help us stop the flow of illegal immigrants, as well as those who traffic drugs, people or weapons.
As we better secure our borders, we also must continue to penalize businesses that knowingly and willingly hire illegal immigrants. We have existing technologies and systems in place today that help us determine whether candidates for jobs within American businesses are in our country legally. Again, this is an issue of enforcement.
Finally, our immigration systems must be modernized and reformed so we can allow legal immigration to take place effectively and efficiently. It is unfortunate that thousands of people who seek the privilege of becoming an American citizen have to wait seven to ten or even more years to become part of the American dream. Far worse is when politicians advance policies that would reward people who try to cheat the system, cut in line and enter our nation illegally on the hopes that we at some point will provide them amnesty.
As a U.S. Senator, I will fight to enforce current immigration laws and support efforts to secure our borders and seaports. I will work to modernize inefficiencies within the Department of Homeland Security so that we can reward people who follow our laws, learn English and enter our workforce with what I believe to be one of the greatest treasures on earth — being American citizen with all the rights and privileges afforded under our U.S. Constitution.
9. What would be your priorities in resolving the concerns related to the increasing dependency of the Untied States on foreign oil? What measures would you propose at the Federal level to help alleviate Nevada’s high energy costs? Do you support Nuclear energy? How do you propose we resolve the dilemma of dealing with nuclear waste?
Today, with alternative energies such as wind, solar, and geothermal, we possess the power to become more energy-self sufficient than ever before. We could significantly reduce our dependence on unstable and hostile countries in the Middle East if we effectively and efficiently develop our own energy right here in America. I am not talking about a quick-fix; this is not about short term relief at the expense of a comprehensive, long-term solution.
I am committed to the dependable, affordable, and environmentally clean production of energy for America’s future. I am committed to an energy policy that enhances our economic and national security – and one that includes development of all sources of energy – renewable energy, nuclear, natural gas, clean coal and domestic oil production, and any other forms of energy that can become economically viable and affordable to consumers. I am also committed to creating good jobs for hardworking Nevadans. We can do all of this by investing in modern energy technology right here at home, plain and simple.
Finally, I will strongly fight any efforts to impose Cap-and-Trade legislation on American consumers. The last thing Nevada families need right now is an energy policy that causes power rates to skyrocket and places our American job-providers at a significant disadvantage to our global competitors. Cap-and-Trade in America, as advocated by Harry Reid, will permanently cripple our economy, kill jobs and force businesses to move out of our country for good.
10. Is there a Federal department/cabinet position you would support eliminating? Explain.
Not at this time. I do, however, believe there is extensive duplication in programs crossing different Departments. I believe we should eliminate redundant programs for a net savings.
11. Should the Federal government be involved the regulation of our nation’s public school education system? If so, to what degree? Are you satisfied with the “No Child Left Behind” law? Explain.
Former President Bush campaigned on reforming education and I believe No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was crafted, passed and signed into law with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, while NCLB was successful in many measures – such as closing the achievement gap amongst minority students – I believe we need to keep our education dollars and the decisions on how those dollars are spent as close to the actual students, teachers and parents as possible. The kinds of education reforms I would be most supportive of are those that remove barriers to school choice and those that keep education dollars and decisions closest to the students.
12. The inclusion of apparently wasteful, foolish “pork” and “earmarks” in federal legislation is an historical practice – the public and many elected officials decry this practice, but, with no one wanting to be left off of the gravy train, it seems it is impossible to curtail. As a U.S. Senator, what will you do in regards to this issue?
On February 8, 2010 I signed the Citizens Against Government Waste “No Pork Pledge.” I fully intend to keep that pledge. I will also do everything in my power as a U.S. Senator to oppose this out of control practice.
13. Should the United States support Israel in their efforts to protect their nation’s security and safety of its citizens? Explain.
Our relationship with Israel is critical to the safety and security of not just our two nations, but to the entire world. As a stable democracy and strong global partner, Israel faces some of the most daunting challenges in promoting freedom, tolerance and peace.
The United States must continue to act with resolve and strength in addressing those who seek to threaten Israel and its people. This includes closely monitoring those who fund and support Palestinian terrorism. We simply cannot expect Israel to accept peace negotiations unless and until they have a true and determined partner in peace.
Through continued military support, joint cooperation on matters of safety and security, economic trade, and mutual respect for our strong values and cultures, our partnership with Israel will continue to grow stronger. As a U.S. Senator, I will work to promote our shared objectives by enhancing economic security between our nations.
So long as we have an American administration willing to stand resolute with our loyal friends in Israel – and a Congress with the necessary resolve to sustain our valued friendship – ruthless dictators, extremists and terrorist organizations will fail in their objectives to harm our two nations.
As a citizen, I have supported efforts to divest government-sponsored pension fund investments from state sponsors of terrorism – such as Iran. As a senator, I will work to not only ensure that we enforce existing sanctions on the Ahmadinejad government, but that we implement new, strict sanctions. In doing so, it is important that all options – including military force – be left on the table in seeing that Iran does not become armed with nuclear weapons.
Further, as long as the American taxpayers continue funding the bulk of the United Nations’ operations and missions – I will work to hold this entity accountable for their actions (or lack thereof) when it comes to the protection of Israel and its people. Israel has every right to protect its people from Hamas-fired missiles on innocent civilians in Gaza or from Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon.
Israel is not just a global democracy worth defending – it is a strong and loyal ally to the United States. As a U.S. Senator, I will work to enhance our relationship, maintain our economic and religious freedoms and stand resolute behind our shared, strategic goals and principles. In addition, I strongly support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and I believe we should move our U.S. Embassy to that location.
14. How would you propose to reform the Social Security program?
We need to prepare the younger workers that the current program might not be there because Harry Reid and the liberals in Congress have squandered the Social Security Trust Fund. Congress also needs to quit raiding Social Security and Medicare for their pet pork projects. There are only two ways to fix Social Security, massive tax increases or a total reform of the system. I support the Heritage Foundation’s call for a bi-partisan commission to review all entitlement programs to bring them under control (WebMemo #2698).
15. Senator Harry Reid has a long history of using dubious Congressional rules and procedures to skirt normally accepted procedures in order to promote/pass his personal/party’s agenda. What would be your position in regards to skirting the normal process in this manner in order to gain approval of your agenda?
I will always work first and foremost to represent the wishes and views of the people of Nevada. I will always abide by the Rules of the Senate to achieve these results..
16. Is there any issue I have failed to address that you would like to comment on? Go for it…….
I believe that I am uniquely qualified amongst the field of Republican candidates to take on Harry Reid – head-to-head – this November. My experience in both the private sector as a job-creator and my experience as a conservative, effective and consequential state senator will serve me well in this campaign and as the next Senator from Nevada. My husband and I are not lawyers or career politicians. But, we know how to make a payroll, how to create jobs, how to provide health insurance and retirement benefits. We know how to make difficult budget cuts when they must be made, and how to invest wisely during good times. I am asking for your thoughtful consideration of my campaign, for your trust and confidence … and for your vote this June 8th – and again on November 2nd.