Speaking at a public forum Tuesday, candidates for Nevada Congressional District 2 agreed on several issues including the need to tackle climate change, but each had a different response when asked who they would be supporting for president in the upcoming election.
“We don’t have Mother Teresa and Gandhi on the ticket,” said Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, who chairs the Nevada Trump Campaign. “Someone is going to be in the Oval Office, and the question is do you want to go in the same direction or do you want change?”
Democratic candidate Chip Evans said he was voting for Hillary Clinton while Independent American Party of Nevada candidate John Everhart said he would be voting for a third party candidate and Independent Drew Knight said he could check off “none of the above” on the ballot.
The four candidates, along with candidates for Assembly District 40, State Board of Education District 2 and Board of Regents District 9, took part in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Northern Nevada, Sierra Nevada Forums, the American Association of University Women Capital Nevada Branch, and PFLAG Carson Region.
About 120 people attended the event held at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall where questions for the candidates were provided by the audience.
Amodei said he joined the climate change caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives and he believed alternative energies needed to be competitive.
“We have an opportunity here in Nevada to turn this into job creation, to start working in green, renewable energies,” said Evans.
The candidates also talked about healthcare and drug prices.
“I am most definitely in favor of single-payer (healthcare) so we can negotiate prices,” said Knight.
The candidates also agreed money in politics is a problem.
“Big money, Wall Street, they fund our system and the Democrats and Republicans are not going to bite the hand that feeds them,” said Everhart.
The candidates for the Assembly took questions on Yucca Mountain, the tax hike passed in the last legislative session and the state’s education savings account program, which needs to be amended since the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the accounts are improperly funded.
“I don’t like the term nuclear dump site,” said Republican Al Kramer. “But if we can turn it into energy, recycle it, I can see it.”
Democrat Michael Greedy said he was opposed to using public money to fund religious schools while Kramer and Independent American Party of Nevada candidate John Wagner voiced support for a fixed ESA program.
All opposed the commerce tax and Greedy and Kramer proposed replacing it with a corporate tax.
Wagner provided one of the lighter moments of the evening during his closing remarks.
“I’m under no illusion I’m going to win. I’m here to promote my (lobbying) class and to congratulate Mr. Kramer right now,” he said.
David Carter was the sole candidate for State Board of Education when Pat Hickey, the other contender, didn’t show up for the event.
Carter’s main comments concerned Common Core which he said he wants to eliminate.
“I’m not against standards. I agree with what Common Core was trying to do,” said Carter. “But I have a real problem with the math portion and especially the history.”
Carter also said he would like to see the board provide more oversight of the schools and bring ideas for legislation to the legislature.
Carol Del Carlo and Sara Lafrance, the candidates for the Board of Regents District 9, agreed on most topics.
Both think funding is the big issue for higher education but didn’t support separating the state’s community colleges, which are seen as getting short shrift, from its universities in the budget process.
“The regents now have a committee that focuses on the community colleges,” said Lafrance. “I think we’re moving in the right direction. And it would be costly to separate them.”
Both agreed online learning has a role, especially in rural areas, and the community colleges play a key role in preparing for careers and keeping student debt down.
“Many of the jobs coming in don’t require a four-year degree but they require more than high school,” said Del Carlo. “It’s our economy and the future for our kids, for our veterans.”
A second forum featuring candidates for Carson City mayor, Board of Supervisors and School Board of Trustees District 5 as well as a discussion of the gas tax indexing ballot question is tonight in the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall starting at 6 p.m.