2018 Primary Election guide: Nevada State Senate, District 16 | NevadaAppeal.com

2018 Primary Election guide: Nevada State Senate, District 16

Tina Davis-Hersey

Editor’s note: For the 2018 primary election guide candidates were asked for picture, address, occupation, age, contact information. record of service in under 200 words, eduction information a 200-word statement on their platform and to answer what is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix (500 word limit).


Ben Kieckhefer

Address: 10045 Goler Wash Court, Reno, NV 89521

Occupation: Communications and Marketing

Age: 41

Contact Information: 775-223-9618; Ben@BenForNevada.com; Facebook: @BenKieckhefer; Twitter: @Ben_Kieckhefer; BenForNevada.com

Record of Service: Nevada State Senator; Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates; Board of Trustees of Sierra Nevada College; Board of Directors of High Sierra Industries.

Education: Masters of Arts in Public Affairs Reporting, University of Illinois at Springfield; Bachelor of Arts in English, DePaul University

Platform: I am focused on ensuring Nevada maintains an efficient and effective government that gets the most out of every tax dollar it takes from the people. This includes new levels of accountability for our education system and a continual review of government performance. Nevada needs to continue offering a tax and regulatory environment that encourages investment by business and makes young Nevadans want to start new companies in their home state. I believe in empowering parents and families to make the important decisions in their lives, including where their children go to school, and I will continue fighting to expand charter school options and fully fund school choice.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

The one issue I hear about most from my constituents is the economy and jobs. When I took office in 2010, unemployment was near 14 percent, and people were struggling. Now that conversation has changed. We have reached nearly full employment, and more jobs are being created in northern Nevada every day. Unfortunately, not all Nevadans are ready to take those jobs due to a lack of education and training.

Now is the time to refocus on our community colleges and technical high school programs to ensure Nevadans are prepared to take on those newly created jobs. The Nevada Legislature has already taken steps in this direction by increasing funding for our colleges’ technical programs and supporting dual enrollment programs like Western Nevada College’s Jump Start. Jump Start allows students at Carson High School to work towards a college degree while still in high school, preparing them immediately for the workforce, or giving them a leg up on a four-year degree. We must expand these efforts.

Our colleges’ technical and workforce training programs need to be flexible both in the programs they provide the timeline they provide them. One critical step forward will be providing state support for college students who enroll during the summer term. Colleges programs are funded jointly by state general funds and student fees during the fall and spring semesters. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t fund summer enrollment, which severely limits the number and scope of classes that are offered during the summer. This has to change to give students the class options they need to graduate more quickly and achieve their educational goals.

Education truly is the key to economic mobility, and there are numerous opportunities in northern Nevada to climb that ladder. We must ensure our colleges have the support they need to provide a ladder is large enough to support all those who hope to climb it.

Gary R Schmidt

Address: 9000 Mt Rose Highway, Reno, NV

Occupation: Owned, developed, and managed agricultural, commercial, and residential properties for 50 years. Had active business activities and interests in tourist commercial operations, commercial winter sports activities, motel and tourist lodging, farming, ranching, orchard development, nut processing and distribution, wholesale and retail office supplies distribution, restaurant and entertainment operations, business consulting, special events planning and operations, concert and record productions including well known music festivals and concerts. Co-producer of the 1968 Newport Pop Festival, the first outdoor music festival to draw over 100,000 people.

Age: 74

Contact Information: 775-622-4670; Gary@reformnevadapolitics.com; http://www.ReformNevadaPolitics.com

Record of Service: Was the only non California resident ever elected to the California Pistachio Commission with duties in advertising, promotion and Congressional liaison in Washington D.C. in the mid 1980s. Served on the Washoe County Board of Equalization from 2003 to 2007. Attended and participated in hundreds of local and State hearings, committees, and public meetings, regularly attended CAB and NAB meetings for decades. As an informed citizen fought against abusive, oppressive, intrusive, and arrogant government for over forty years. Cofounder of The Washoe County Republican Assembly, served in various capacities. Washoe County Republican Precinct Captain.

Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics, San Jose State University 1966; Minor Fields of Study in Business Management, Geography, Computer Sciences; Graduate Work in Real Estate at University of California 1967;

Computer Science Studies at Lockheed & U.S. Air Force 1961/66 (ten years experience in data/computer processing including work as a Computer Software Design Engineer with hundreds of hours of formal seminars and training courses); various courses in Effective Leadership and Government Administration; Continuing Legal Education courses in Public Records/Open Meeting Laws, Nevada Property Tax Law, Business Court Functions.

Platform: DRAIN THE SWAMP !!! The most important duty of an elected official is to listen to the people. If you want someone who is always politically correct, who goes along just to get along, who abandons his position or that of the people just to achieve unanimity, I`m not your candidate. But if you want a fighter, someone who knows the issues, someone who calls it like it is, someone who will speak clearly and confidently and respects the people`s rights and well being, not the back room special interests, someone with a no nonsense common sense approach to government, then I`m your candidate. I will serve with humility and a deep respect for the citizens; I will honor the will and the wisdom of the people. I will not allow the people, the citizens, to be silenced or ignored. I have the capacity and the tenacity to serve faithfully without compromise or surrender and will remain faithful to the principle that elected officials are and should be foremost, Public Servants.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

Listen to the people! (Not Lobbyists and Special Interests) /Open Transparent Government

Therefore:Repeal the Commerce Tax; NO on any new Property Taxes (SJR 14); Local Control of Education. Reject, Reform Common Core.; NO Data mining; Protect the Second Amendment.


Tina Davis-Hersey

Address: 700 W. Telegraph St., Carson City NV 89703

Occupation: Currently involved with community volunteer activities; formerly employed as a substitute teacher; and with a Civil Engineering/Natural Resource Management company from 2000-2005 & 2010-2016.

Age: 52

Contact Information: tdh@tinafornvsenate.com; https://tinafornvsenate.com

Record of Service: I have been a community volunteer in Carson City for 10 years. I joined the Friends of the Nevada State Museum (FNSM) in 2008 as Board Secretary, and subsequently served as Vice Chair, Chair, and Special Events Coordinator. During my tenure with the FNSM I have created, organized, and produced Victorian Fashion Show fundraising events for three years running, and assisted in organizing and producing murder mystery dinner fundraising events in support of the museum. I was a member of the Carson City Rotary Club for five years, working as an advisor/host parent to incoming foreign exchange students from Italy, Poland, Turkey, Thailand, and Taiwan, and helping with the annual club community service projects and annual fundraising events.

Education: Oregon State University, Western Oregon University – Bachelor of Arts, Humanities/History, 2000.

Platform: Northern Nevada is experiencing a population boom from incoming tech companies. As a legislator I want to make life easier for our working class families, those who are here now and those who are coming soon. I’ll do this through legislation to ensure good quality of life measures for Nevadans. I’ll work for living wages, affordable and accessible healthcare, inclusionary zoning in housing to ensure a percentage of all development includes affordable housing, and workforce development / dual credit programs for high school kids. I want to increase per-pupil education funding so Nevada’s children have opportunities for success after high school. I will be fully engaged in ensuring that the civil rights and equal rights of everyone in my state are recognized and respected. I understand how difficult it can be to make ends meet because I’ve been that struggling single mom who also attended college full-time, that support staff hospital worker trying to stretch a paycheck, and always trying to make a good life for myself and my family. My wide-ranging life experience, community engagement, and professional experiences combined with my love for Nevada and our future make me the best candidate for Nevada State Senate District 16.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

One issue that effects all Nevadans, and that I intend to work tirelessly in support of, is education. A good, well-rounded education can serve a person for their entire life. I want to implement legislation to increase per-pupil spending, so that no Nevada child leaves high school without the skills and training to either continue further education, or enter the workforce and be able to make a good living for themselves. We’re shortchanging our kids if we don’t offer them every opportunity to succeed, and by the same token we’re shortchanging Nevada’s future. Education is a big part of the answer to our opioid and other drug crises, poverty, lack of self-confidence and self-worth, and racism and discrimination. Along with teaching the basics, more involvement and encouragement in STEM classes, and offering workforce development and/or dual credit college programs, children should learn early that they are valued, that they have something to offer, and that everyone else does too.

To accomplish these monumental goals, Nevada needs to commit to spending the money. Our teachers and our school support staff need higher, more-than-livable wages. Our schools need smaller class sizes. Our kids deserve the latest technology, not outdated computers and books. We ought to provide kids with transportation to community college dual credit and technical training programs. And how about implementing a universal free lunch program? Many kids (yes, here in Nevada too) are living in extreme poverty, and a school lunch is the only meal they may eat all day. If every student eats lunch free we remove stigma and improve the health and well-being of every child.

Oftentimes people say education isn’t an important issue, we don’t need more money poured into schools, let’s take care of the economy or some other issue first because “education doesn’t affect me”. I heartily disagree, because a state’s educational system affects every resident, and ultimately affects every sector of that state. I realized early on that an education would raise me out of poverty and abusive relationships, and by the example of my mother who entered college at the age of 45, I returned to college in my 30s. We walked together in 2000 to receive our diplomas, and that was the start of a new life for my daughter and me. I think it’s time we raised our expectations of what an educational system can be. In the end, we all win with a good, quality educational system that serves every child. I think Nevada is worth it, and I think the time is now.


John Wagner

Address: 780 Norfolk Drive., Carson City NV 89703

Occupation: Retiired non-paid lobbyist

Age: 83

Contact Information:Johnwagner2000@charter.net; iapn.org

Education: Army Vet 1957-1958; Graduated Sacramento State University 1970 BS Electrical Engineering

Platform: I support the Platform of the Independent American Party which can be seen on our website, http://www.iapn.org. The Republicans and Democrats have given Nevadans the highest taxes in the last two legislative sessions. A new tax,SJR 14, will increase property three times the current rate. We have had three special sessions of the legislature to give tax breaks to Tesla, the Raiders, and Faraday Futures. Some people are more equal than others. Faraday Futures is not coming to Clark County; how much was spent for that project? Tesla may be in trouble. We should not use taxpayer money for private business ventures.

What is one issue affecting the lives of Northern Nevadans that you would work to fix?

Taxes. “SJR 14 removes the property tax abatement and all depreciation for the first fiscal year after the sale of the property.” “The property tax bill for a 1,200 square foot home built in 1964 in Old Northwest Reno would increase from $677 per year ($56 per month) to $2,264 the first year after the sale. This results in a $133 increase per month.”

“A 3,900 square foot home built in 1991 in Juniper Trails with a current tax bill of $8,344 per year would increase to $13,699 resulting in a $446 increases to the buyer’s monthly payments.”

“Taxes with abatement were $7,706 (on a particular parcel in Washoe County) for 2017. Based on taxable value they would have been $17,766. With the implications of SJR14 the 2017 taxes on this parcel would be $21,165.” TRIPLE! As you can see, SJR14 requires that property taxes reset at a much higher rate, more than doubling or tripling, each time a home or business property is sold. If you plan to stay in your home until you die you might not care…except…

Your friends, neighbors, family, children and grandchildren will have much less to spend on food, clothing, health care, transportation, and housing, pushing more Nevadans into poverty. If you have a business your customers will have less to spend. If you work for a business its customers will have less to spend so you may not get a raise or keep your job. This will impoverish Nevadans! If you decide to buy a larger or smaller home, this will affect you.

Vote for John Wagner for Senate District 16.