Both candidates in the District 40 race for the Nevada State Assembly pledged during the League of Women Voters political forum Tuesday evening to restore the 2.5 percent salary cut to state workers.“I think what’s been done to state workers is immoral,” said Rich Dunn, who is challenging incumbent Pete Livermore. “Just because we could, we took away their pay. We have a moral responsibility to a least bring it back to parity where they were.”While he said he would not advocate raising taxes to do so, he would consider it. Livermore said he would like to see the cuts reversed as well. “I strongly support the governor restoring these salaries,” the Republican said. “I not only support them in their salaries, but I would support and would vote for collective bargaining for state employees.”The candidates faced off during Tuesday’s forum at the Carson City Library, answering questions form the League of Women Voters as well as from audience members. One member asked the candidates’ stance on legalizing gay marriage in Nevada. Dunn, a Democrat, said he didn’t think the state should have any interest in marriage at all, leaving the rite up to the church. “I think all states should get out of marriage,” he said. “Marriage should be a sacrament. I think they should just take gender out of it. I think you let everybody get a domestic partnership and leave it alone.”Livermore said he married his wife in Carson City in 1961. “There’s more to marriage than finding a partner to live with,” he said. “It’s a family to raise. Because of that, I support the traditional male and female marriage.”Livermore said he supported an incentive program that would reward state employees for finding ways to save money in their departments. “I believe people working in their departments really know how to run the department,” he said. “They will see first-hand ways to save money that no one in the Legislature would know.”Dunn said he found a measure to save the Air Force billions of dollars when he worked there, but did not expect compensation. “If you’re working in a public position, it’s your core responsibility to be a prudent manager of those resources,” he said. “I don’t think people should get a monetary reward for doing that job.”Both said they would have an open-door policy if elected. Livermore said he allowed dozens of Nevada residents to sit with him in the Assembly chamber during sessions and extended that invitation again. “If you want to come and be a part of the state Legislature, I would gladly have you as my invited guest,” he said. Dunn said he also would be open to talking to people. “The No. 1 priority should be to find out what your own constituents want you to do,” he said. Dunn said he entered the race on the final day to do so simply because no one else had. “I think it’s good for democracy to have someone taking the other side of the issues,” he said. “I’ve taken no money from special interests. What you get from me is what you see. I have no ties to anyone except the voters.”Livermore said he did accept campaign contributions, arguing that’s just part of the election process. “I’ve served my community over the past 20 years in elected positions and appointed positions,” he said. “I look forward to doing that in the next Legislative session.”For your informationWatch the League of Women Voters forum on Access Carson City TV channel 226 or go to acctv.org.
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