It’s time for new leadership in Nevada. We need to put people back to work.
We need better schools. We need smarter government. And we need representatives who will listen to voters. Nevada needs honest leaders with the vision and determination to create a better state, even in difficult times. That’s why I am running for Nevada State Senate.
The son of immigrants, I was born and raised here in Las Vegas. I graduated from Clark High School more than 20 years ago. I was married here and I will raise my children here. Like you, I care about Nevada because Nevada is my home.
The first step to putting Nevada on the right track is to make sure that the thoughts and concerns of the people of Nevada are being heard by our representatives in the State Legislature. As your State Senator, I will work to be a voice for hard-working Nevadans. You will see me in the community on a regular basis. I have been going door-to-door personally throughout the district, and I will continue visiting with neighbors and listening to what is on the minds of the people of Nevada. This commitment will not end after the election. Rather, my promise to every voter in District 6 is that I will continue to seek out your opinions throughout my term.
Here are my thoughts on what I believe are the most important issues facing Nevada:
The single biggest issue facing Nevada is the unprecedented unemployment that has devastated the lives of so many of our friends and neighbors. We see the effects every day. Homes along our streets are vacant and in foreclosure. Local stores and restaurants have shut down without being replaced. Our once vibrant construction industry has very few meaningful projects on the horizon. Even Nevada’s most iconic companies have had to dramatically reduce their workforce and benefits because of the tremendous decline in gaming and tourism. Honest and hard-working people have lost their jobs or have seen their hours cut back significantly, and they struggle to provide for their family’s basic needs. This is a tragedy for the entire community.
There is only one true long-term solution to Nevada’s economic troubles: we must diversify into new industries beyond gaming and mining. Nevada must become a leader in technology, manufacturing, alternative energy, aerospace & defense, film & television, distribution, and health science industries. These industries can provide badly needed jobs for our community and will make our state less susceptible to dramatic fluctuations in the discretionary tourism/gaming market. In short, Nevada needs to start making more things that other people want and need, especially in the industries poised to lead future economic growth both in America and abroad.
This will require a committed effort from our state government. We must aggressively reach out to both established international companies and new start-up industries. Meeting with them will allow us to put forth aggressive proposals based on what these companies are looking for. It will also allow us to educate them on what Nevada has to offer. All levels of government and members on both sides of the aisle should work together on this important goal. We need to provide aggressive tax incentives for targeted industries, streamlined efforts to expedite facility construction, and designated empowerment zones to allow related companies to cluster together in common industry sectors. If elected, I hope to help lead this critical effort. With so many of these companies coming here to the world’s premier convention destination every year, the opportunity to do this is all around us. We simply can no longer stand by and watch while other states and other countries fight for these important jobs.
Most importantly, though, any effort to diversify our economy also requires an honest and committed reinvention of our education system—both K-12 and higher ed. New companies in the industries of the future will not move to Nevada if they cannot find the educated workforce they need and if they cannot trust that the children of their current employees will receive a top-rate education. Our educational system must be reconfigured so that we are offering programs and classes that prepare students for the jobs of the future. I am committed to leading the effort to improve our educational system and to make sure that our institutions of higher learning are more aligned with these growth industries because without this critical step we will not be able to diversify our economy.
Finally, our local small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We cannot have a successful economy without successful local small businesses. It is critical that we work to alleviate the pressures and onerous bureaucratic burdens placed on our local small businesses to make it easier for them to thrive and hire new workers.
When people are working again with good wages and benefits, the whole community wins. As more and more people are able to provide for their families, Nevada will see reduced foreclosures and property values will begin to climb again. And, as more locals spend money every day buying goods and services they can once again afford, the state’s revenues will also increase. This will help fund critical programs and services like education and public safety. Bringing jobs to Nevada to put people back to work must be our #1 priority. Because of my commitment to this critical issue, I am proud that I was one of the only Democrats recently appointed by Governor Sandoval to the newly created State Board of Economic Development.
While putting people back to work by diversifying Nevada’s economy is the top issue facing our state, the unacceptable decline in our system of public education is a very close second. After all, the first step to attracting new industries to Nevada is to have a well-educated workforce.
Nevada must be committed to improving the education our children receive. That commitment begins with making the proper funding of schools a top priority.
Without a doubt, after parental involvement, the single most important factor in a child’s education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Our primary objective therefore must be to ensure that sufficient funding reaches our classrooms where it can have the biggest impact on our children’s education. We must attract and retain the best teachers possible, and we must do all that we can to offer facilities and a curriculum that will prepare our children to excel in a technology-based, international economy. We cannot stand by and allow our children to find themselves in overcrowded classroom where it is impossible for them to learn. And we cannot sit back and watch as programs for our best and brightest children are eliminated. Our future success depends on having an educational system that nurtures the intellectual growth and curiosity of the next Steve Jobs. As a community, we also must understand that it is our responsibility to provide programs that support special needs children. To put it simply, we cannot play politics with our children’s future. Nevadans work hard every day to give our children a better life and that better life starts with a good education.
At the same time, the commitment to education must include a commitment to higher education here in Nevada. Companies today require employees ready for the industries of the future. While we have the world’s leading cloud computing data center in Switch Communications here in Nevada, we have no school of cloud computing. While we have one of the world’s leading online retailers in Zappos.com and our anchor industry, gaming, has been making an aggressive push into online applications, our higher educational system is not properly aligned with the needs of these industries. Our state is home to Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, a renowned aviation program at Rancho High School, and an important part of the military’s unmanned aircraft operations, but our higher educational system seems inadequately positioned to be involved in the aerospace & defense sector. It is time to refocus our efforts to ensure that our institutions of higher learning, in collaboration with our local private businesses, lead a reinvention of Nevada. Of course, this also means that an outdated higher education funding formula that continues to put Southern Nevada’s colleges and universities at an unacceptable disadvantage must be reconfigured to ensure that more resources stay here and help develop our local schools.
There are many other ways we can improve the quality of the education our children receive. As your State Senator, I will work with parents, teachers, administrators, students, and local businesses to improve the schools in Nevada. Every thought and suggestion should be considered because even small changes can have a big impact. We cannot continue to do irreparable damage to generations of Nevada’s children—damage that jeopardizes their future. I received a first-class public education here in Nevada and I will fight to make sure that our children will too.
As a voter and a lifelong Nevadan, the biggest change we need to see is our representatives working together in a bipartisan fashion to solve the important problems our community is facing. This means leaders on both sides of the aisle demonstrating a sincere willingness to compromise to get things done. Nevadans everywhere are struggling with real issues, including a difficult economy, a failing educational system, a depressed housing market, rising crime, inadequate health care, and so much more. The first priority of our elected officials must be to help improve the lives of Nevada’s families not to try to score political points. As your State Senator, I will be committed to working across the aisle to address the issues facing Nevada. Indeed, I am proud to be one of the only Democrats recently appointed by Governor Sandoval to the newly created Nevada Board of Economic Development—demonstrating how bipartisanship can help reinvent Nevada.
SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS
We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the patriotic men and women of our armed forces and their families. After all, we live safely and freely at home with our families because of their courageous sacrifice. Our veterans and the families of our active service men and women should not be left to struggle alone. To begin with, Nevada should be much more proactive in helping our veterans find work or start their own businesses. At the same time, we should make it easier for local businesses that want to prioritize hiring veterans to do so. And we should be doing more to help the families of our active soldiers who are out in combat. I have been so disappointed, when going door-to-door, to hear from mothers who are working hard to raise the family and keep their houses in order while their husbands are off at war that they are being evicted from their homes despite paying rent regularly because the homeowner did not use the rent to pay the debt on the house. We should not allow our soldiers and their families to be taken advantage of with no help. Finally, we should look to fill the void to ensure our soldiers returning home from combat have the health care, including mental health services, they need when readjusting to non-combat society. Our soldiers and their families have sacrificed to protect our freedom and we should sacrifice to help them. It is the least we can do after everything they have done and continue to do for our country.
As a small business owner, I will bring a unique perspective to the Nevada Legislature. I understand the difficulties Nevada’s small businesses face every day because our local, family-owned business experiences the same issues. I know what it means to meet a payroll every two weeks. When the Nevada State Senate considers the numerous bills proposed in the next Legislative Session, I will bring with me the perspective of a small business owner in considering those bills. Often times, legislators in Carson City do not consider how particular decisions might impact Nevada’s small businesses and what the consequences will be. Nevada’s small businesses are a critical part of the local economy. We produce significant revenue to the state and provide a tremendous number of jobs. This economy has hit our local, small businesses especially hard. Weekly cash-flow obligations have become an ongoing challenge. Yet despite dealing with significant losses, most small businesses are fighting to keep as many people employed as possible. And most small businesses are run by individuals or families that do not have the manpower in management to handle unreasonably onerous bureaucratic requirements. It is time that Nevada’s small businesses have a voice in the Nevada Legislature, someone who truly thinks about and understands what our small businesses face every day. I will be that voice.
Nevada needs smarter government. Being an elected official is more than just passing laws and budgets. Successful businesses always have long-term goals and develop a plan to get there, and they pay attention to make sure resources are going where they most need to go. Parents do the same for their families. Our representatives should look at Nevada in the same way. We need to develop a committed vision for what the state must become and to implement a clear plan to get us there. For example, if Nevada wants to be a leader in technology, then we should ensure that our K-12 and higher education feature a curriculum designed to attract technology companies.
Also, no one wants to live in a community where they do not feel safe in their homes at night or do not believe that their children can get a good education. But in order to protect these most important programs and services, we cannot allow our state’s resources to be wasted on inefficient and unnecessary expenditures. And we should not stand by while individuals take advantage of loopholes in the system. Nevadans work very hard to earn every dollar, including every dollar paid to the state government. The State Legislature must take a stand to protect the hard-earned dollars of our citizens. As your State Senator, I will always take a pragmatic approach that combines (1) protecting critical programs and services that have the most widespread or the most long-term impact on the residents of our state, with (2) improving government efficiency by ensuring that taxpayer resources are going where they need to go. This responsible and balanced approach is the same approach I would apply in running our local family business. I will bring with me to the Legislature a pragmatic, business-like approach that ensures fiscal responsibility and accountability in our government while also reinventing our state to best position us to succeed in the future.