George Dini, a Democrat, and incumbent Dr. Robin Titus, a Republican, are candidates for state Assembly District 38. Here are their thoughts on some of the issues facing Nevada and central Nevada that includes the Lahontan Valley. Dini is the current mayor of YeringTon. Titus was first elected to the Assembly in 2014, succeeding Tom Grady who was termed out. She is a physician who lives in Smith Valley.
What is your vision for the next session when providing state funding for public schools.
Dini: First I’m going to want to see an accountability of the moneys that were provided last time. I can’t get the right answer on $1.2 billion or $1.5 billion, but it was a lot of money. I think that the people want to know where it went and what good it did. I believe in funding the schools properly, but I also feel that without the accountability factor first we can’t move forward with new funding.
Titus: I am tired of Nevada being 50 in almost every statistic that you can look at that’s bad. I’m tired that we have one of the highest high school drop out rates and looking at that statistically. I’m tired that my daughter, that works as a teacher, had to leave public school and work at a charter school because she thought the educational system process had left not only her behind, but most students. I’m not an advocate for just throwing more money at it, I’m an advocate for accountability; I’m a strong proponent of ESAs because I think a parent and a child need to be able to choose where they want to go. Every child learns differently; we need to stop looking at the broad picture, putting all the money into administration, and make sure that all money that we put into education goes into the classroom.
The Navy plans a huge withdrawal of land to include Churchill and Lyon counties. What is the best outcome for both the military and civilians?
Dini: To do this land transfer, and I’ve done a land transfer for the city of Yerington, which took four and a half years; all I can say about the situation is they better have … a whole plan; don’t go in with half a plan – make sure you have the money to make the deal right. I think the expansion is warranted, but it’s warranted so long as you take care of the people that are affected.
Titus: Unfortunately, I think it’s a time when not everyone’s interests can be met. I am worried the Navy is threatening to go away. One of my biggest concerns is that we have all this public land, but it keeps being closed off to the public; so to me we need to ensure that public lands remain open. I also share the Navy’s concerns about their need to train and the safety of the public in general. So I think we need to look at a compromise of some sort where, if they need certain bombing areas, they have certain times that they can do that and it can still stay open to the public [at other times].
The Legislature hurts county budgets by granting tax abatements such as tesla). How can the Assembly and Senate find a balance to prevent rural county budgets from being shortchanged?
Dini: I think that’s not altogether true; each county has a mechanism to not accept that. I think they may have gone slightly overboard with some of these giant tax abatements in the state, now I think we just have to see how it plays out. We can’t keep giving away everything on the promise of a new economy; we’re going to have to see some results here soon.
Titus: I am vehemently against tax abatements as it picks winners and losers.
How can you ensure 2-year colleges in Northern Nevada receive their share of money and that budget cuts — if they occur — don’t affect the quality of education?
Dini: Your legislator has to stand up and fight for that to happen. When the state projected a $400 million deficit again, things are gonna be really tight. 2-year colleges in rural Nevada are really important and these campuses need to stay open; people don’t have any other option to fulfill their education after high school.
Titus: I am a strong voice for the Community College systems. Not all folks are going to need a 4-year degree, but we all need a job.
Many county commissioners say the state cannot administer the land if the US government pulled out. Therefore, how can the state and federal government work together to ensure public lands are for everyone?
Dini: The state could never overtake all the public lands with Nevada being over 80 percent federally owned; the money is not there to have that to happen. If people want access to those public lands, they have to work together to ensure the accessibility is always there.
Titus: Public lands should be for everyone regardless of who manages them.
Voters are upset that the June primary decided the outcome of many races. Should the Legislature revert back to allow candidates to be elected by voters from all parties in the general election rather than specific parties in the primary election?
Dini: One of the reasons I ran for this office is Senate Bill 499; it’s one of the most egregious legislative actions that the state’s ever taken. To eliminate 60 percent of the voting population in a general election, my intent is to have that repealed. I find it to be unAmerican that two Republicans only run in a primary and one goes to the general election, eliminating the other 60 percent of voters. Either way it goes, if it’s two republicans or two democrats, it disenfranchises approximately 60 percent of the voting population from the general election.
Titus: I didn’t run to put in more bills, I ran to help prevent bad bills from coming forward. One of the bills that went forward this last year was SB 499; you won’t have the chance to vote for your county commissioner, because your county commissioner was already decided in the primary … The hope is that we can maybe get that changed in the next session. We need to fix some of that stuff.
Residents in specific areas of Nevada — including Silver Springs — are complaining of proposals that could reduce water rights for well users and the possibility of meters in rural areas. What is your stand on this?
Dini: The water situation in Nevada is at a very critical stage. Now that they’ve thrown domestic wells into the mix, there’ll be a big fight over that and to reduce it from two acre-feet a permit to whatever the final decision is, is ludicrous. The metering part of it may have to happen … There are lots of problems right now in ag.
Titus: I am against metering of domestic wells. As a freshman, I was honored to be a chair of the Natural Resources Committee last session and I was able to get passed critical water law that helped farmers and ag have a strong voice in the matter. That water issue is not going away.
Do you support Question 2 to legalize recreational pot?
Dini: I do not [support it]. I fear the fact that we’re going to legalize marijuana and the one upsetting portion of it to me is the edibles that could possibly devastate children. That makes me very nervous, I don’t think they have enough controls over it or ever could.
Titus: I support legalizing marijuana, but not Question 2. Because, Question 2 has an incredible burden of regulation and taxes. I think, personally, that we should be treating marijuana like a tomato plant; I think if we let everyone, if they want to, grow it but nobody sells it, then we don’t bring crime in; then it doesn’t get taxes and it gets so expensive and you know there’s going to be behind the door deals.
So, I have huge anxiety over Question 2 and the costs to the taxpayers. Either it’s medicinal — and we don’t tax medicine in Nevada — or it’s not medicinal.
What is your position on Question 1? Is it a case of government overreach or does this question go far enough WITH GUNS?
Dini: I can’t figure out if they want to limit the transferring of guns from one individual to another, that upsets me. The basic premise of stopping the loophole for purchasing guns at a gun show doesn’t bother me a bit. The rest of it is somewhat ambiguous to me and I don’t like that part a bit and I’m not going to support it.
Titus: I am a strong no on Question 1. It will not solve any of the real issues with guns and that is mental health and education.