Election 2012: State Assembly District 40 | NevadaAppeal.com

Election 2012: State Assembly District 40

Party affiliation: Democrat

Occupation: Securities trader

Phone: 775-450-4904

Email: richdunn@aol.com

Website: dunn2012.com

Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking.

During my Air Force career, I took my responsibility to make efficient use of government resources very seriously. I had zero tolerance for waste at any level, especially when building decisions packages for a $2 billion slice of President Reagan’s budget. But my most lasting contribution to cost containment was an audit I initiated that changed the way the military acquires non-milspec equipment.

It had become accepted practice for large purchase orders for these items to be processed using price book contracts that had been negotiated at unit prices and without volume discounts. This resulted in military buyers paying as much as twice the price as other large purchasers.

My documentation of this problem was compiled into a report that caught the attention of decision-makers at the highest level. The DOD IG conducted a year-long audit that confirmed my findings and showed that it was a widespread problem that had been wasting billions for years. Improved procedures were put in place that solved that problem.

Nevada state government employs practices that are equally wasteful, especially in health care. I have a plan to change that.

What are the top three issues facing the state, what should be done to resolve them?

In my view, the top three issues facing the State of Nevada are the runaway cost of health care, mining tax reform, and fair compensation of state workers.

The main reason governments at all levels are having so much trouble balancing their budgets is that health care has become a fiscal tarpit that is swallowing up the resources needed for everything else, especially education. The real problem is that people are unintentionally making themselves sick, so our goal now must be to change that behavior.

I am proposing that the Legislature fund a “black box” study to determine how diet-related biometric inputs correlate to health care cost outputs, an approach I call “economic epidemiology.” The results of this study can facilitate demand-side underwriting that will change disease-causing behavior. It’s a strategy that can save billions over time, enough to eliminate the state’s perennial budget shortfalls.

Thanks to an 1872 federal statute, mining companies pay minimal royalties for ore extracted from federal lands, and thanks to sweetheart provisions put in the 1864 constitution, the mining sector pays less tax in Nevada than they do in other states. The Legislature is powerless to correct this problem until the constitution is amended to remove these provisions.

The process to do just that was begun in the 2011 session with passage of SJR 15, but it must pass again in the 2013 session for it to go on the ballot for approval by voters. I strongly support SJR 15, but the mining lobby is mounting a massive campaign to head it off. It’s important they not succeed.

In the last two sessions, the Legislature has used state workers as a piggy bank to balance the state’s budget. The salary cuts, unpaid furlough days, and loss of health benefits, merit pay and longevity pay have made recruitment and retention very difficult for state agencies.

This situation could have been avoided by further revenue enhancements, but thanks to the constitutional requirement for a two-thirds majority in both houses, the tax-pledge-taking minority kept that option off the table. I pledge to do whatever it takes to restore fairness to state worker compensation, now and in the future.

Changes may be needed to Nevada’s tax structure, specifically the undertaxation of mining and the overtaxation of gaming, but were it not for the hemorrhaging cost of health care, we would indeed be taxed enough already.

Why should voters choose you over the other candidates?

My opponent in this race voted against the mining tax amendment (SJR 15) in the 2011 session, and can be expected to do the same in the 2013 session. I would vote in the affirmative, allowing the measure to go on the ballot and give Nevada voters the last word.

Having limited my campaign contributions to $100 or less, and not having taken a cent from special interests, I could not afford to put up big signs all over town. That is why my campaign slogan is “Little Signs – Big Ideas.”

My biggest idea is one that will fundamentally change how health care is financed, saving billions. All that’s needed now is a proof-of-concept study of what I call “economic epidemiology,” The demand-side health care underwriting that will make possible will drive down costs dramatically.

Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Retired businessman

Phone: 775-882-5056

Email: coney1L@att.net

Website: pete4assembly.com

Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking.

Carson City has been my home for over 50 years. As owner of a successful business for 35 years, I understand challenges and opportunities faced by our business community, especially in this down economy. I have been privileged to serve the citizens of Carson City as their supervisor for three terms and helped manage the terrific growth we’ve experienced since 2000. As a long-time champion of youth sports and a major supporter of Carson City’s open-space ballot question, I support a healthy environment for the people of AD 40. My lengthy history and familiarity with the people of the region have helped me to help them. I believe in volunteerism and continue to be involved in many civic organizations. I have been married for over 50 years to Laurie and have three grown children and four grandchildren, so I understand the needs of families, youth and our senior citizens. As the assemblyman for AD 40, I was one of the few freshman to get a bill passed which helped the people of my district. That was done by working with all legislators, regardless of party affiliation. I remain a supporter of open government and access to public records.

What are the three issues facing the state, what should be done to resolve them?

Jobs, the economy and the budget. I will continue to work with the Governor’s Office to encourage state economic development -meaning new jobs thus putting Nevadans to work.

Pete Livermore’s important issues for the coming legislative session:

• Keep taxes at a minimum: There are ways to reduce the cost of government without raising taxes on businesses or individuals.

• Keep Nevada employed: This also means keeping employees of state and local government employed since they comprise about 40 percent of the workforce in our city.

• Listen to business: Keeping businesses healthy to support our economy is needed more than ever in this economy. I support the Governor’s effort to reduce unnecessary regulation.

• Keep our state business friendly: The governor is waging an important campaign to attract new businesses to the state and to our region. I am in total support of his new economic development plan.

• Work for transparency in government

The voting public needs to be kept aware of what seemingly goes on “behind closed doors.”

Why should the voters choose you over the other candidates?

Because of my past experience, knowledge of the district, its challenges and people, I feel I am the best candidate to serve the people of AD 40. I will continue to work on their behalf. As a former longtime business owner, I am sensitive to the needs of those running businesses today…especially considering the trying times we’ve been facing. I will not support burdensome new taxes.

Keeping in touch with my constituents is important and I can be contacted at any time. The concerns of our citizens, including those who work for state government, are my concerns. I will support the governor in his efforts to adequately compensate our state employees.

I am committed to open government. In my first term as your legislator, I introduced and got a number of bills passed to benefit our citizens thus proving I can work well with my fellow legislators.