Continuing Our Economic Recovery by Bringing New Jobs to Nevada
As we continue our state’s economic recovery, nothing is more important than our recent efforts to diversify our economy and bring new, high-paying jobs to Nevada. During the two sessions I have served as your assemblyman, we have worked hard not only to bring those new jobs to Nevada, but also to help ensure they are filled by local workers and supported by local businesses. In special legislative sessions in 2014 and 2015, I was proud to support legislation to bring not only thousands of new jobs to Nevada, but also badly needed new revenue into our economy. These projects were part of a comprehensive effort to attract new industry with high-paying jobs to Nevada that began in 2011 with the revamping of Nevada’s economic development agencies.
Particularly important to our economy and job creation in northern Nevada was legislation we passed in 2014 to bring Tesla Motors here. Tesla Motors located a $5 billion factory to build lithium batteries for electric cars in northern Nevada. The plant, which is located at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park, is projected to generate 6500 direct jobs and between 15,000 and 20,000 indirect jobs.
I will continue to work to ensure that these new jobs Tesla brings to our state go to Nevada workers to help rebuild our economy.
In 2015, we passed legislation to bring Faraday Future to Southern Nevada. This project is projected to employ 13,500 workers—4500 direct and 9000 indirect jobs. State officials estimate the company will generate $760 million in tax revenue over the next 20 years.
As we work to bring new businesses to Nevada, we must continue to work to help existing small businesses thrive and to help local business startups get off the ground, including businesses owned by women and minorities. We have taken steps to make our state business license portal more efficient and business-friendly; we must continue to find ways to help new and existing businesses succeed.
Working Men and Women
While our economy continues to improve, too many workers are still unemployed, underemployed or worried about job security or benefits. I strongly support efforts to raise Nevada’s minimum wage, to improve opportunities for job retraining, to ensure equal pay for women doing the same work as men, and creating an earned sick leave program for workers.
While I am proud of the steps we took this past session to increase funding and make improvements to our schools, there is much more to be done.
Accomplishments: We expanded full-day kindergarten into all schools, and provided funding for early education and programs to help students struggling to succeed in school. We provided schools and teachers new resources to help them improve classroom instruction. We gave our school district the ability to begin to build new schools to reduce overcrowding.
Moving forward: We must do more to recruit—and keep—the highest quality teachers, reduce class size and provide education opportunities to help prepare every student for the new jobs we are bringing to Northern Nevada.
Accomplishments: We increased funding for education by 12.78%. We also created and funded the Silver State Opportunity Grant to provide scholarships to make college more affordable, and created and funded the Nevada Teach Scholarship program to help fund the education of prospective teachers.
Moving forward: Our priorities must be to continue to find ways to make college more affordable for all Nevada families and to strengthen our community colleges and apprenticeship programs to provide additional opportunities for job training.
Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force
We have all seen the alarming statistics about prescription drug abuse, a growing health care problem that is affecting the lives of far too many individuals and families. Overdose deaths have increased by 80% since 1999. As a paramedic, I constantly see the impact of prescription drug addiction.
The statistics are particularly bad in our state as Nevada is ranked 4thhighest for prescription drug sales and overdose deaths.
That is why I am so honored to have been appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve on his task force to find ways to prevent prescription drug abuse in our state. I am one of two legislators serving on the panel, along with the Attorney General and health care experts in this field.
Our goal, as stated in the task force mission statement, is “to reduce prescription drug abuse in Nevada by 18% by 2018 by changing attitudes and behaviors of Nevadans through better coordinated efforts and statewide leadership.”
Our efforts include requiring more training for health care professionals on drug misuse and abuse, better coordination of data by pharmacists and physicians on opioid prescriptions, better treatment and screening, and improved education of the public on the impacts of prescription drug abuse.
Click here for more information on the task force and all of our efforts.
I am very proud that during the last session, we passed the Nevada CARE Act, which provides caregivers information on how to care for a patient after discharge from a hospital, which can be critical in helping an older person remain at home. Our priorities for the future should include protection of pensions and retirement savings for economic security, better training for health care professionals in screening and treatment of diseases prevalent in older adults, and higher education opportunities for our seniors.
I also worked diligently on Private Professional Guardian issues. Nevada now has a licensure process that adds valuable oversight to the industry as well as increases the level of standards associated with private professional guardians.
I am very proud to be the father of two sons currently serving in the United States military. I have always believed we need to do more to honor those who serve our nation and to make sure we do all we can to help our veterans making the often difficult transition to life here at home.
I am proud of what we accomplished for our veterans in the last legislative session, but we need to do more.
As a member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, I was proud to strongly support state funding for a Northern Nevada Veterans Home, which will be built in our Assembly district. I am closely monitoring activity at the federal level, as we are still waiting on federal matching funds to move forward. This facility is very much needed to serve our veterans here in northern Nevada.
We also passed legislation improving outreach to veterans about services and laws affecting them, strengthening education opportunities in our higher education system, strengthening the quality of services and accountability for services provided by our state, and establishing a Women’s Veterans Advisory Committee.
To ensure accountability for these new initiatives, many of these bills included a reporting requirement to the Legislature. I will be closely monitoring these bills for their effectiveness and to learn how we can make our veteran services more effective.
Strengthening Families by Protecting Children and Senior Citizens
Before I was elected to the Nevada Legislature, I volunteered my time working to strengthen Nevada’s laws on domestic violence, serving as a member of the Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
As a legislator, I have continued to fight for policies to protect families, the elderly and vulnerable children.
This past session, I was a primary sponsor of legislation to strengthen protections for missing and runaway children, increasing the penalties for child prostitution, and establishing a Safe-to-Tell program for anonymous reporting of threats or dangerous situations in our schools.
For our seniors, I also sponsored legislation for the licensure of professional guardians, private businesses appointed by the court to provide financial assistance to impaired adults. Because of the lack of previous oversight, there were many horror stories of the elderly and disabled being taken advantage of and losing thousands of dollars to unscrupulous guardians.
Over the interim before the next session, I am working with others to monitor to the effectiveness of this law and to determine what other steps we need to take to protect vulnerable senior citizens.
Safeguarding Our Community
As a firefighter/paramedic, I have spent my career working to keep our community safe, to provide help and comfort to people experiencing life-changing emergencies and tragedies. In the legislature, I have used this experience to work on policies to improve public safety in our state.
This past session, I sponsored legislation strengthening our laws protecting children from being solicited for prostitution and I have done extensive work as a legislator and a citizen volunteer on domestic violence prevention. I have also sponsored legislation to help protect our senior citizens from financial fraud.
We must continue to do more to make our neighborhoods safer, to ensure schools and public buildings have plans in place for responding to emergencies and to protect our most vulnerable-our children and elderly.