Record of service, including incumbency, military or civilian service here (200 words max): I currently serve in the Nevada state Legislature, representing District 37 in the state Assembly.
Education: Graduate of Boston University
Why are you running?: I am running for Nevada state Controller to bring greater transparency and accountability to government spending here in our state. Especially during this time of skyrocketing inflation and financial pain for our citizens, it is critical that Nevada taxpayers be assured that their government is spending their money prudently and isn’t being wasteful.
Briefly describe the core duties of the position you are running for: The Nevada state Controller serves as the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer, manages the state’s checkbook, administers the accounting system, processes transactions on the state’s behalf, and can provide key insights into state spending and financing, among other critical functions.
A brief statement about your platform: My top priorities as our next state Controller will be:
Making government more transparent and accountable to the taxpayers who fund it.
Increasing public access to information, data, and insights regarding government spending and operations.
Fully utilizing Nevada’s technological infrastructure to better provide the public with accurate, detailed information on government financing.
Working to restoring fiscal responsibility in our state capital.
The bottom line is that Nevadans deserve to know how and where their government is spending their hard-earned money. I am committed to increasing transparency and accountability in government spending as our next Controller.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position: The most important thing our next state Controller can do is to bring greater oversight and accountability to state spending in Nevada. I am the former President of the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), Nevada’s leading government watchdog organization, which focuses on state tax and budget policy and promotes fiscal accountability and government transparency. While at NPRI, I helped lead the development of a website — TransparentNevada.com — that provides the public with information on government spending.
I have continued to fight for transparent government in my current role as the Nevada state Assemblyman from District 37, introducing several reform measures that would significantly increase accountability and efficiency in state government. As proud as I am of the work I’ve done in this area, I also recognize that our state government needs to do much more to foster a culture of transparency and accountability. Providing taxpayers with clearer, more detailed information on how and where public money is being spent is a critical part of the state Controller’s job, and it will be the top priority for me in that office.
Occupation: Business Consultant
Record of service
Assemblywoman, District 20 (2012-2020);
Assemblywoman, District 21 (2008-2010);
Executive Board Member, National Conference of Insurance Legislators (2019-2020);
Council of State Governments Task Force, “The Future of Work” (2019-2020);
Board Member, National Association of Jewish Legislators (2014-Present);
Chair, National Association of Jewish Legislators, Nevada Chapter (2012-2020);
President’s Council of Cornell Women (2017-Present);
Board Member, Easter Seals Nevada (2009-2018);
Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, (2003 – Present);
Southern Nevada Forum, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (2017 – 2018 Co-Chair); Education Committee (2015 – 2016); Healthcare Committee (2013 – 2014);
Nevada Advisory Board on Maternal and Child Health (2013-2014; 2015-2016);
Commission on Educational Technology (2017-2018);
Nevada Advisory Council on Federal Assistance (2017-2018);
Nevada Commission on Aging (2013-2014; 2017-2018);
Nevada Task Force on Financial Security (2017-2018);
Nevada Safe-to-Tell Program Advisory Committee (2015-2016);
Board Member, The Direct Marketing Association’s Internet Alliance (1995-1997);
Founding Chair, Interactive Services Association Public Policy Committee, 1994-1995 (Note, the Interactive Services Association later became The Direct Marketing Association’s Internet Alliance)
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Received Bachelor of Science degree.
Majored in Consumer Economics.
Briefly describe the core duties of the position you are running for.
The Controller is the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer. Responsibilities include paying the state’s bills; collecting monies owed to the state so the state can meet its obligations; and letting everyone know where we stand financially. The Controller also serves on the NDOT Board and the Executive Branch Audit Committee.
A brief statement about your platform
My top three priorities are: Provide fiscal stability for the state, its residents and its businesses; support workforce development; and increase jobs, aid to small business and economic growth.
Each year, Nevada writes off millions of dollars in uncollectable funds, and for the last reported year, (fiscal year ended 6/30/2021), that cumulative amount was over $200,000,000. If collected, these monies could be used to bolster our education system, enhance social services, build (or repair) infrastructure – or be used for a variety of other programs. Collecting these funds on an ongoing basis also would help us keep our taxes low. First and foremost, we need to be increasing collections of monies owed to the state.
We also must continue to diversify our economy. Accordingly, I would use the office to help Nevadans starting small businesses by breaking down a barrier to entry and helping them get started on the “Right Track.” This would help develop additional revenues and decrease the need for social services (thereby helping the state’s bottom line). I have additional ideas, which are available at https://ellenspiegel.com/vision
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
I possess 40-years’ business experience, including 24 years of business ownership, as well as a decade of legislative service, which give me the tools needed to get the job done. During five terms in the Nevada Assembly, I worked with three different Governors – two Republicans and a Democrat - each of whom signed bills of mine into law. My legislative accomplishments included insurance coverage for preexisting conditions (AB170, 2019); marriage equality (AB229, 2017); and getting Nevadans closer to having equal pay for equal work (AB106 and AB276, 2017).
During my tenure, I served in various leadership roles. In 2019, I was Chair of the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee; in 2017, I was Assistant Majority Whip, and over the years I was Vice Chair of a number of Committees and sub-Committees, including Revenue (then called Taxation), Transportation and the Ways & Means Subcommittee on K-12/Higher Education/Capital Improvement Programs. Additionally, I served two full terms on the Interim Finance Committee.
In short, I know where the money comes from, where the money goes to, and I have ideas to help the state make better use of its assets.
I’m a graduate of Cornell University, with a degree in Consumer Economics, and I was proud to be an e-commerce pioneer. Among my achievements: I helped bring The Weather Channel online; developed the very first online store that let people purchase software and download it to their computers; and was instrumental in the development of Internet privacy and email marketing guidelines that protect consumers. My career began in financial services, working at companies like American Express and Lloyds Bank, and I also have been licensed to sell life insurance and mutual funds. Today, my consulting firm helps businesses with risk management, quality assurance; strategic and business planning; and leadership development/mentoring.
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