Melody Howard – Republican Candidate Assembly District 14
MELODY HOWARD – ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 14
Sunrise Manor area of Las Vegas
Two Republican candidates filed for this office. Melody’s Primary opponent, Quay Simons, did not respond. The Primary winner will face a Democrat incumbent in the General Election.
1. Give a brief summation of your political and professional background.
I am a Veteran of the United States Army Reserve. I have spent the last 30 years as a legal assistant, and I am now a Judicial Executive Assistant with the Clark County District Court.I am a founding officer of the Nevada Homeschool Network, but am no longer involved as my children are grown. As a result of the political advocacy with Nevada Homeschool Network, I met Senator Bob Beers (now City Councilman) who helped the organization with favorable legislation. I became politically involved with the Republican Party in Nevada when I volunteered for Senator Beers’ gubernatorial campaign in 2005/2006. As a result, I joined Active Republican Women of Las Vegas and became even more involved. My political positions have included:
Clark County Republican Party:
- Precinct Director (07/13 to 01/15)
- Assistant Precinct Director (07/07 to 07/09)
- Executive Board Trustee, Clark County Republican Party (02/08 to 12/09)
- Member, Clark County Central Committee (2006 to Present)
Nevada Republican Party:
- Member, Nevada Republican Central Committee (04/07 to Present)
Nevada Federation of Republican Women:
- 2nd Vice President, Membership (01/10 to 12/11)
- Leadership Chair (01/10 to 12/11)
- Literacy Chair (01/07 to 12/09)
Active Republican Women of Las Vegas:
- 1st Vice President, Programs (12/08 to 12/09)
- 2nd Vice President, Membership (01/06 to 12/08)
Veterans In Politics, Int’l:
- President, Nevada Chapter (02/12 to 08/13)
2. Define your district – general geographic boundaries, demographic make-up and political balance.
AD14 is located in the Sunrise Manor area of Las Vegas. There are 22,051 registered voters. 55% of this district is registered Democrat; 45% is registered Republican, NP, IAP, Libertarian, and other. Approximately 36% of the district is 55 and older; 30% are between the ages of 35-44; and 33% are between the ages of 18-34. The district is approximately 51% Hispanic.
3. Why are you running for this position? What makes you more qualified than your Republican opponent to serve in this position?
I moved to Nevada 25 years ago, and I love our community and this State. I have raised two children here in Clark County, and I met my husband of 15 years here. I have a very diverse background, and believe that I can work with all members of the Assembly without abandoning my principals. I live in a community with strong family values and they deserve a representative in Carson City who will fight for each and every one of them. I will be active in meeting my constituents to make sure their voices are heard.
4. There is a well noted and ongoing split among many in the Nevada Republican Party. Define your philosophy in regards to this ‘moderate conservative’ versus ‘tea party’ divisiveness.
The Republican Party needs more dispassionate dialogue to re-identify our common goals in protecting American values. We need to talk and we need to listen. Most Republicans agree on most issues, and we need to find a way of conveying those shared beliefs, and to effectively communicate why we may not agree on all issues. The only way to accomplish this is to talk to each other and entertain the ideas of those individuals with whom we do not necessarily agree.
5. What are the three most important issues relating to your district and/or the state? How will you legislatively address them?
Jobs: Many businesses have closed in my district. While it is nice seeing an upswing in businesses that are opening, many people are still unemployed and have given up looking for good jobs. Many of those looking for work were in the construction industry or employed with casinos. Job training is important, and should be made available for older workers, as well as students who are going into their first jobs. Second careers, by choice or otherwise, are becoming increasingly common and our community deserves an infrastructure that will empower its citizens to continually learn so they can continue to work. One avenue of continuing education would be additional vocational and trade schools to broaden the educational resources available. Bringing more companies to Nevada would get more people back to work and also support our construction industry and bolster our infrastructure. Finally, I would advocate for a more business-friendly tax initiative to encourage business development and incentivize out of state businesses to move to Nevada.
Drug Abuse: I am a strong proponent of the Specialty Courts program. I was one of many advocates promoting the Specialty Courts program, as mandated by state law, to create a Veterans Court in Clark County. Incarceration in the Clark County Detention Center costs the taxpayers approximately $165 per day, per inmate. I would advocate that funding be directed to create diversionary programs that help those who have become addicted to drugs, as well as programs that address mental health issues that contribute to drug use and could lead to future involvement in the criminal justice system.
Home Ownership: Nevada still has a high foreclosure rate. I would advocate continuing the Foreclosure Mediation program to keep people in their homes.
6. What is your position in regards to the current initiatives? (Question 1 addresses firearms and would require that an unlicensed person who wishes to sell or transfer a firearm to another person conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer who runs a background check. Question 2 addresses marijuana. If approved by voters, the measure would legalize the drug for adults and put the tax revenue from the sale of the drug toward education funding.)
Question 1: I would not support an initiative that would force families to go through a licensed gun dealer to sell or transfer a firearm to one another.
Question 2: I strongly believe the war on drugs has failed. Though I do not advocate the sale of most drugs, I support the recreational use of marijuana for responsible adults. I believe that legalization would reduce drug related crim. Additionally, taxing the sale of marijuana would increase state revenue and bring funding back into our community. I believe using the revenue from the sale of marijuana is a good start; however, I would also like to see a portion of the revenue go toward drug abuse programs.
7. What is your position in regards to increasing the minimum wage in Nevada?
I am against raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. It will increase the cost of goods and housing throughout the State. By only impacting the bottom line (current minimum wage), it will devalue positions in which people earn $15.00, $16.00 and even $20 hour because they will suffer the increase in the cost of living, without any benefit. Further, a drastic increase would discourage employers from creating new entry-level positions, as well as sustaining current positions, and thus hurt the people it is intended to help most. Finally, I believe the people who will suffer the most will be senior citizens living on a fixed income.
8. Define your position on fracking and other means of oil exploration in Nevada. Do you support coal fired energy plants?
I believe that we should explore all avenues of energy, including clean coal plants.
9. If there is any issue that you are concerned about that has not been addressed in this interview, this is your opportunity to address it:
Sex trafficking is a serious problem in Clark County, and I would join with other members of the Assembly and Senate to impose harsher sentences for those convicted of sex trafficking. Further, I would support rehabilitative initiatives to assist former prostitutes who have been victimized by traffickers. Strong trafficking laws should increase penalties to the trafficker, as well as potential clientele.
EDITOR: This is one in a series of online interviews with Republican candidates. All Republican candidates with Primary races were contacted – US Senate, US Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, Carson City Mayor and Lyon County Commissioner. The responses are posted as the candidates presented them to me – no editing. These interviews will be posted in no particular order and, obviously, all races are not of interest in everyone’s particular district; however, NewsDesk readership (www.ndbynd.com) is spread throughout the state so all responses will be posted. You are welcome to repost any of the interviews as long as proper credit is given to NewsDesk.
Primary election day is Tuesday, June 14, 2016. If the candidates in a particular Primary all belong to the same party, the winner will be determined in the Primary and go to the General Election ballot unopposed.
Dates to remember:
- May 14 – Last day to register to vote by mail
- May 24 – Last day to register to vote in the Primary
- May 28-June 19 – Early voting
- June 14 – Primary Election