Nevada Senate District 16 candidate questions | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Senate District 16 candidate questions

Tina Davis-Hersey

Party: Democrat

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

Occupation: Currently involved with community service volunteer activities; formerly employed by a Civil Engineering/Natural Resource Management company; and as a substitute teacher.

Age: 53

Contact: 775-671-2364; tdh@tinafornvsenate.com; https://tinafornvsenate.com

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Record of Service: I have been a community volunteer in Carson City for over 10 years. I joined the Friends of the Nevada State Museum (FNSM) in 2008 as Board Secretary, and I've served on the Board in various capacities since then. During my tenure with the FNSM I created, organized, and produced fundraising events through which we enabled the museum to purchase much needed equipment. I was a member of the Carson City Rotary Club for five years, working as an advisor/host parent to incoming foreign exchange students, and helping with the annual club service projects and fundraising events. I believe in the value of community service, knowing your neighbors, and working together.

Education: Oregon State University, Western Oregon University – Bachelor of Arts, Humanities/History, 2000. My mother and I both returned to college in 1996, and proudly graduated together.

Brief statement about your platform: The assault on our unions, and minimum wage laws, over the past 30 or 40 years has really had negative consequences for middle income families in America. I want to make life easier for our working families, those who are here now and those yet to come. I'll do this through legislation to ensure good quality of life measures for Nevadans. Living wages, affordable and accessible healthcare and housing, a top-notch public education – all of these things are possible and the time to work for them is now. The American Dream isn't attainable for so many people these days, and I want to bring back the possibility for more Nevadans.

I will be fully engaged in ensuring that the civil rights and equal rights of everyone in my state are recognized and respected. When we sideline groups of people based on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, we shortchange our future because everyone has value and something to offer their communities.

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. 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.

While I agree that parents should have the choice of where to send their kids to school, I do not agree that private schools should be publicly funded by vouchers. Neither do I think that charter schools should be funded by public school money, especially because they are not held to the same standards as public schools. To accomplish the goal of raising Nevada's educational standing, our legislature must commit to spending the money equitably. Kids can't learn, and teachers can't teach well, in classrooms of 40 or more students. We ought to collaborate with our unions for apprenticeship and workforce development programs, and with community colleges for dual-credit programs. 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. I realized early on that an education would raise me out of poverty and abusive relationships. 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. Nevada is worth it, and the time is now.

I understand how difficult it can be to make ends meet because I've been that struggling single working mom going to college full-time, trying to stretch a paycheck, and always striving for 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.

Ben Kieckhefer

Party: Republican

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

Brief statement about your 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.