Assembly District 19 includes the far east and northeast portion of Clark County. There are three candidates in this Primary race. Frank Tavares, Laura Bledsoe and Chris Edwards. Bledsoe and Edwards did not respond to this interview request.
1. Give a brief summation of your professional and political background.
My professional background is that I have been in the financial/real estate industry for the past 10 plus years. I am currently the Loan Servicing Assistant Manager at a local Credit Union. As for my political background, I am not a professional politician. I was a volunteer for the Romney/Republican Party last Presidential Election in 2012. I have been involved in many organizations where I currently sit on the Board of Trustees for a local Charter School and also on the Board of Directors for a local youth sports organization. Furthermore, I am a member of a Community Involvement Group which the Credit Union I work for has. Finally, I just served out my term as the Secretary of the Japan America Society of Nevada.
2. Define your district – geographic boundaries, demographic makeup, and political balance.
District 19 which I am running for State Assembly is very vast and is a melting pot of demographics. There are parts which where people are well off and other parts which are economically challenged. The many areas of District 19 have seen their property values drastically fall and still not recover and good paying jobs are still hard to come by.
3. If this is your first time running for office (or this position), why are you running for this position? If you are an incumbent, what have been your top accomplishments as a legislator?
This is my first time running for any kind of office, and there are a few reasons I am running. One, I am a concerned citizen of the community who is tired of hearing politicians saying things to get votes and not doing anything about it. I have the record to prove I do not need to wait to get elected to make things happen. I have already helped hundreds of people get good paying jobs and new sources of business break into Nevada without ever running for a political office. Two, I have young children in the school district, and I can not sit back and watch our school system keep being reported as the worst in the nation. There are ways we can turn this around but it will take some sacrifices and dedication from the entire community.
4. What makes you more qualified to serve in this position than your opponent?
I am not a career politician. Instead, I am the son of a Father who is a U.S. Military Veteran and a Mother who is an immigrant. I am a fighter from day 1, as I survived horrific auto accident when I was a year old. Medical Professionals only gave me a 2% chance of survival. Even if I survived, people thought I would never walk or talk.
My opponent has been in politics and government work his entire life. He needs to get the approval from advisors before he makes decisions. When I see a great opportunity or the potential for Nevada to grow, I am not afraid to jump at the idea and make things happen for the better of the community. Many of these jobs which I have been able to help create are going to our Retired Military Veterans.
5. There is a well-publicized, on-going philosophical split among many in the Republican Party. Describe your political philosophy in relation to this ‘moderate’ conservative versus ‘tea party’ conservative divide.
It would depend on which subject where I sit on this divide. I believe in America’s Constitution and making sure we follow what our forefathers put together at the founding of this nation. A person must have their core values and what they stand for, otherwise they have no backbone and stand for nothing. When our legislators come up with ideas or are discussing ways to amend laws they must use more common sense and not stray away from their principles. They must remember what they were put in office to do, “represent their Constituents; not themselves or lobbyists!”
6. What do you see as the three most important issues related to your district?
In District 19, the most important issues would be good paying jobs, education, and public safety.
7. What do you see as the top three legislative priorities?
The top three legislative priorities should be to bring good paying jobs to Nevada by diversifying the professional industries in Nevada. We need to better our education system by getting rid of the Common Core way of teaching and going to making teaching fun for students and families, getting families involved in their childrens’ education, and making sure children are being prepared for the professional workforce and become the leaders of the world! Finally, we need to help our police forces and public safety officials make sure our community is one of the safest in the nation. When elected, I will work will local officials to find ways to reduce the number of pedestrian car vs pedestrian fatalities. We need to look at better ways to make sure both parties know of their surroundings by signals and innovative lining on the streets which will tell each part to stop and pay attention. In our public parks, we need to clean them up by making sure the homeless are not hanging out and the parks are not being vandalized. I want to be able to drive by every park in District 19 and see families having picnics, sports leagues having events, or just people having a good time, not worried about whether or not they are safe in the park or not.
8. What is your position in regards to the taxes imposed in 2009 that were to ‘sunset’ in 2011, but were re-approved by the 2011 and 2013 legislature?
I am against any taxes being permanent. These taxes were to help the State through the hard financial issues of the collapse of the economy. Once the economy turned around the taxes should be terminated.
9. Describe how you would address improving the performance of Nevada’s public schools.
In order to improve the performance of Nevada’s public schools, there are many things which must happen. First, we must get off of the awful Common Core testing system as this is only teaching our kids to memorize things to take a test instead of retaining information and take into the real world. Second, we as a community need to be involved with our children and their education, starting with their parents. Parents are the most important part of a child’s education as they are a child’s first teacher. If parents are not able to be involved in a child’s education, it is okay for someone in the community to step up and be a mentor. Third, we should allow a voucher system where if a child wants to go to another schools in another area because they know they can get a better education, we should allow them to do so. Fourth, we need to open of the financial books and look at where funds can be reallocated to focus on more children learning, teacher training, and less Administration over head. Finally, we should encourage the charter school system as it is being found that many children are succeeding through the various charter schools already with in the district.
10. To what degree should the State support Charter Schools and those students opting to attend a school outside their district?
The State should be behind Charter Schools 100%. I currently sit on the Board of Trustees for a Charter school and my children attend this school. I can tell you that this school has done wonders for my children both academically and personally. I have seen an amazing growth in them in the two years they have attended this school.
11. The State Legislature has found innovative ways to circumvent the state law banning the passing down of unfunded mandates to local governing entities. What is your position in regards to using such actions to fund state needs?
I am against anything which goes against following the state law. If something needs to passed or if the legislature wants to get something done, it either needs to be brought up in a bill and voted on or brought to the public to have them vote on it.
12. Describe your position in regards to Nevada’s Right to Work law and unionization of State employees.
With the many worker’s rights laws this law does not really come in play as much anymore. As for the unionization of State employees, this should not happen. State employees work for the people and it should be decided by the people what State employees are paid and the benefits they are offered, through their elected officials.
13. What is your position in regards to increasing Nevada’s minimum wage?
I am against raising Nevada’s minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage will only raise the cost of living in the State and make it harder for the less skilled workers, high school kids, and college graduates to get entry level positions. Employers are going to look for better skilled employees if they are going to pay more and their costs are going to go up. Furthermore, smaller businesses will not be able to compete with the bigger companies. We complain that the larger companies control this country already, but by raising minimum wage, this will only insure this happens.
What needs to happen is we need to offer better and more training programs for people if they want to better themselves. However, when we do this, we need to mean what we say. For example, if someone is trying to better themselves, and also trying to put food on the table we do not penalize them for getting help from the state for one thing which has nothing to do with the other. This only discourages people to try and better themselves. They have to choose one or the other. Also, we need to bring more industries into Nevada where they pay better wages.
14. Do you believe the gaming and mining industries pay ‘their fair share’ in contributing to the state’s economy? Explain.
Yes, I feel these industries pay contribute a fair share to the state’s economy. There are other industries which the State allows to be legal in parts of the State but does not require the same taxes because they do not want the stigma of having such things legal, brothels. Plus, there are other revenues or funds the State should explore to bring funds into the economy, marijuana and a lottery are two examples.
15. In 1979 Nevada passed a bill legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. It was repealed eight years later (1987). What is your position in regards to Nevada once again legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes? Legalizing the sale of marijuana, period?
This country has spent tons of money on a so called war on drugs which we all know has had little to no success. With the recent passing of marijuana in Colorado and Washington they have benefitted from the massive tax revenue. We could stop spending our millions of tax dollars on the war on drugs in regards to cannabis. We should explore into making cannabis legal in Nevada. Cannabis could become a massive tax revenue generator for the State. It would be able to assist in funding education and public safety projects instead of always tapping into the same industries like gaming and mining.
If Nevada was to legalize marijuana, this could be a great source to fund many parts of the State budget which are needing of money, education for one.
16. What is your view of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Nevada?
The Affordable Care Act was the worst law passed in my life time. It had some good parts to it. For example, making sure people with preexisting conditions were not denied coverage was a good idea. Also, the premise of young adults signing up for healthcare to lower the costs of premiums was smart. However, the government should have known by looking at the statistics of how many young adults who were covered with healthcare already that they it would not be a top priority of theirs’ and premiums would skyrocket because the people who would sign up for healthcare are more of the people who are those in the high risk tiers. Also, within their own law they failed the idea by having young adults covered to the age of 26, which is part of the lower risk tier of adults when it comes to health. Instead, if the government wanted to really take care of the people they should have done small laws piece by piece instead of ONE HUGE LAW which nobody ever read before they passed it!
17. Define you position on fracking and other means of oil exploration in Nevada. Do you support coal fired plants?
Eventually, we as humans need to get away from the hunter and gatherer for our energy, and there are ways we can do this. I have been involved with a project which does not involve fracking (hunting) to get energy. Instead we use the most abundant source of energy the planet has to offer and that is gravity. In order to generate the energy by using gravity we using water to turn the turbines with the gravity and energy is produced. Not only is it produced, we are able to store for as long as we want to store it. This will allow which ever municipality, state, or country to use this kind of energy producing project to become energy efficient.
18. In efforts to bring new businesses to Nevada, the Catalyst Fund was established. This is funded by state tax dollars. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development receives and then votes on applications from businesses and, through local governmental entities, subsidizes those selected. What is your position in regards to the Catalyst Fund? Do you have other ideas to encourage new businesses to locate in Nevada?
I do not like the idea of the government of picking and choosing what kind businesses and which businesses they want to bring to the State and those they choose they offer tax dollars to get them started. If someone is willing to bring their business to Nevada, yes we should give some incentive be tax breaks, but we should not be picking and choosing. This does not allow for a variety of business and good competition for better paying jobs.
19. Do you support “campus carry” legislation allowing licensed CCW permit holders over the age of 21 to carry their weapons on Nevada college and university campuses? Would you extend the same right to secondary school campuses?
Let me be clear. I am for the Second Amendment and the concealed weapon laws here in Nevada. However, I do not support “campus carry”. Yes, bad things happen, and the bad people will always be bad, but we should not have everyone carrying weapons everywhere we go. We need to use common sense. A college, university and especially a secondary school campus should be a place for learning and a place where people should not have to worry about whether or not the person next to them are carrying a gun. If we allowed the “campus carry” law to pass people will be more focused on, “is that person carrying a gun?”
20. If there is any issue that you are concerned about that has not been addressed in this interview, this is your opportunity to address it:
Helping the unemployed is one of the issues I am concerned about that was not addressed in this interview. We need to do more to help people when they become unemployed. Instead of just giving them unemployment, we need to find out if they want to continue in the career they just left or switch professions. In either event, when we find out what they want to do, the State should get them enrolled into programs which will help them train and learn about the profession of their choice. Once they are close to finishing the training or their unemployment is about to end, the State should work with employers to help employ these people and get them on them back into the workforce. We can also do the same thing with our Retired Military Veterans.
These interviews are posted on Nevada News & Views (www.nevadanewsandviews.com) and/or NewsDesk by Nancy Dallas (www.ndbynd.com). Reposting of any interview by interested parties must include the disclaimer the interview was originally posted in the above publications. Only those Republican races with a Primary contest are being addressed. Questions or comments may be directed to Nancy Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-847-0129.