Jo Etta Brown
Name: Jo Etta Brown
Address: P.O. Box 1231
Minden, Nevada 89423
Phone number and campaign Web site: 775 224-1133
Education: Masters Degree Program UCLA, extensive training
through seminars/workshops related to banking, management, urban development, finance, diversity training, community organization, leadership training, small business development and urban renewal
Profession: 30 years corporate banking experience, responsible for key statewide programs including the American Dream Coalition for affordable housing. Created a community-based bank, wrote over 275 business plans that resulted in over 5 million in loans for small businesses. Member of the Mayor’s Council for redevelopment and urban renewal. I have the expertise to create Public/Private Partnerships and Coalitions.
Political experience: Douglas County Planning Commission – Commissioner; I served as an Alternate Delegate to the 2008 Democratic Convention; Parliamentarian for the Nevada State Democratic Party; testified before the US Congress in favor of affordable housing, after my testimony 9 states adopted the American Dream Coalition; testified before the Nevada Legislature in favor of the Canadian Importation Prescription Drug Bill and the 3% Property Tax Cap; I know how to research, draft and present a bill for consideration before legislative committees and take it to the floor for a vote; Governor Soroptimist International of the Americas.
Kansas City, Missouri is my birth place and I come from a family of farmers and political activists. From an early age my grandmother encouraged me to work to make a positive difference in the world. She was a suffragette and she marched with other dedicated women to make certain all women had the right to vote and her example inspired me to be politically active. We have four successful children and six grandchildren, we are proud of them. Through-out my professional life while I was working and busy rearing our family, I made time to be active in my community. Currently I am Treasurer of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans; National Board Member Alliance for Retired Americans (representing Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada); member of the Western Nevada College WNC Advisory Board; Family Support Council Board Member; and CFO Sustainable Energy Development Associates. It is my belief that every American citizen should have the right to pursue and obtain the promise of the American Dream.
Why are you running for State Assembly? Now that I am retired, I have the time and energy to be a public servant. Life in Nevada is changing, and we all want to participate in that change. We need wise leadership to take us in the right direction. We want thoughtful change on growth, wise budget planning, and health care for seniors and veterans. We want to preserve our Nevada way of life with a mix of successful local business, agriculture, tourism and an accommodation for the growth that has already happened. I am that leader who will work diligently to make certain that the right decisions are made.
What makes a good legislator? This is why I am a good legislator: my constituents will be my only “special interest group”. I pledge to serve while adhering to the highest ethical standards. I am a supporter of businesses reasonable, smart planned growth. In these divisive political times, I am a moderate who can find the middle ground and bring people together to achieve real solutions for Nevada.
What would your priorities be if elected? I will represent all the people, my door will never be closed and I will return telephone calls and emails. I will work to keep taxes low and to help restore economic security for Nevada families and retirees. I will work to enhance the quality of life by being prepared to meet all the new challenges to Nevadans. The world, the country and the state are going through incredible changes now and we must be prepared with the best leaders who will make considered decisions, I am that leader.
Should certain tax increases or new taxes be considered as part of the solution to the state’s budget crisis? If so, what taxes would you consider increasing or adding?
I am a fiscal conservative I strongly oppose any new taxes. I strongly support bringing a better balance to our tax structure. We need to review the tax code so we have a stable and reliable revenue source we can plan on, instead of a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. We need to encourage growth in small business, require that corporations pay their fair share, give relief to property owners, fairly tax rentals and second homes, and re-examine taxes from other areas, such as vehicle registration. No retiree should be forced from their home of many years by over-burdensome property taxes or inadequate senior services.
If your answer to the previous question is no, would you say that you will never support any kind of tax or fee increase?
It would be unwise to make a statement about never raising taxes or fees. Increases should be the last resort and only if the results would not harm voters.
If you do not favor tax increases at this time, in what areas would you make further cuts?
I do not agree with the Governor or his budget cuts, as I think we need a real examination of spending and potential cuts program by program rather than across the board approach.
Are there areas of the budget that should never be cut?
The Nevada Constitution requires the Legislature to provide a balanced budget by law for an annual tax sufficient to defray the estimated expenses of the State each fiscal year. The use of a “Base Budget” (much like the money in your personal checking account), makes certain that the expenditures presented in the budget are based on the actual expenditure of the prior biennium plus “roll-up” costs (i.e. inflation). Enhancements, new or expanded programs additional personnel, etc., are separately stated. While cuts are necessary, accountability for allocations must be better managed. Any possible waste in the budget must be eliminated.
Is more funding necessary to improve the quality of Nevada’s much-maligned schools? If so, where should that money be spent? If not, what are the keys to improvement?
Nevada’s inability to attract and retain our qualified teachers is the most serious challenge. This makes our educational system unstable and inconsistent. Nevada has a 48% rating of students that do not graduate from high school. It is a dismal rating directly liked to the unstable situation of our teachers in the classroom. The State must pay our teachers a reasonable wage and provide benefits and incentives. Every student must have the opportunity for a quality education and should be proud of the school they attend.
Should the Nevada State Prison be closed as part of a solution to the budget crisis? Why?
Before the Nevada State Prison is closed a careful assessment of the current budget for the prison must be made. If the prison is closed what impact will it have on the remaining prisons? More importantly, we must look at the prison population and determine how we can prevent crime. We need to become proactive and determine how we can best prepare inmates to become productive members of society. Rather than having the need for more or less prisons we need to start early in our school system to address the issue to violence.
What is your assessment of the actions the governor has taken to solve the state’s budget problems? Has he set the proper priorities, and how would your priorities have differed?
The Governor used a “slash and burn” policy to bring the budget into balance. The state must balance the budget by carefully monitoring spending. We must prioritize the cuts we make to the budget. No new spending should be allowed until absolutely all waste is eliminated. It is appalling that severe cuts have been made to education and health and human services. Nevada must re-examine our revenue and spending. There is a critical need to develop the right kinds of Public/Private Partnerships that could address a myriad of needs that represent challenges to the state budget.
Would you seek to work with the governor if you are elected? How?
It is time that partisan politics take a back seat in any discussions or decisions that affect the people of Nevada. I
would extend my hand across the aisle to work with the governor in a bi-partisan manner. I will always keep my political beliefs and ideals in tact when dealing with any members from either side of the political spectrum.
Would you favor re-examining the state’s tax structure toward avoiding a “boom and bust” economy?
Yes, Nevada cannot operate as a State with an antiquated financial system. With good leadership the state can make the necessary changes to the budget process that will create a more comprehensive system and bring the state into the “21” Century. Projections for budget upturns and downward trends would enable us to meet the challenges in a proactive manner, rather than reactive. It would allow us in the future to invest any budget surplus in a restrictive fund for the times when the economy is flat.
Is illegal immigration a problem in Nevada? If so, in what ways, and what, if anything, can the Legislature do to address this issue?
Nevada does not have the same illegal immigration problems as other states. When necessary existing laws need to be enforced that address this very divisive subject. At this time the Legislature has addressed the issue in a pro-active manner.
Please summarize any other information you would like voters to know before casting their votes in this race.
In summary, I will always put the best interests of the people of District 39 above partisan politics. I will represent all the people. I am a fiscal conservative who will work to keep taxes low and to help restore economic security for Nevada families and retirees. I will always work to enhance the quality of life for all Nevadans. I will work cooperatively with all my fellow legislators to develop solutions to the real problems facing our
State. I need your support and ask for your vote to serve as Assembly District 39 representative.
Nevada AFL-CIO; Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters; PORAN Police Officers Research Association of Nevada; Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada; NARA Treasurer Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans; National Board Member Alliance for Retired Americans; SEIU Service Employees International Union; AFSCME American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; NSEA Nevada State Education Association; UAW International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; LIUNA Laborers International Union of America.