Democrat Tina Davis-Hersey says on issues ranging from improving public education, dealing with the environment to helping victims of sexual assault/abuse, the Nevada Legislature has a lot of work to do.
And she says she’s ready to do that work.
Hersey faces incumbent Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer in the race for the Senate District 16 seat that represents Carson City, south Reno and Incline Village.
Hersey, 53, said she never thought about running for office until she and her daughter joined the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Kieckhefer, she said, really hasn’t had a General Election opponent he needed to worry about in his two previous elections.
“He’s just the guy who’s in there by default,” she said.
Hersey said she doesn’t have a huge pot of campaign money so she has concentrated on knocking on those doors.
“I’ve had so many people saying, wow, nobody every knocked on my door before,” she said. “I think if you put your name on the ballot, you should actually run a race and I’m going to give him a run for his money. People should have a choice.”
The issues surrounding sexual assault, she said, “have been shoved under the rug for too long.” As a victim of sexual assault she said she will make sure those issues are dealt with by lawmakers.
She said one of her biggest issues is education and, by that, she means public education.
“We need to keep the money in the distributive school account for public education,” Hersey said. “If you want to send your kids to private school, that’s your choice but don’t make the state pay for it.”
She said Nevada has been saying for 40 years it needs to improve education but that, “the problem is we put money in the education budget and it trickles out the bottom.”
With three years experience as a substitute teacher, she said teachers who have 40 kids in a classroom can’t really teach.
Hersey said she moved to Nevada 18 years ago for a job with a civil engineering and natural resources management company. She said she learned a lot about Nevada while doing environmental fieldwork.
“There are a lot of environmental issues we need to take care of, big issues with water and clean energy.”
She said Nevada also needs to recognize that the state is “becoming a lot more diverse.”
“We need to pay attention to how we treat people,” she said pointing to the growing diversity in race, gender and the LGBTQ communities.
“We need to recognize they have value and we need to include them in the conversation,” she said.
She said most of her financial support has come from labor unions and individuals. Union members, she said, “feel like they’ve been kind of pushed off to the side in favor of the big tech businesses.”
“They’re building our state and we need to make sure they’re part of our growth,” Hersey said.
The Democratic Party, she said, is more active this year than in the past with more people on the ground working for candidates.
“If they want to change things and actually get people elected, they have got to get behind us,” she said.