Interview – Andrew Coates, Republican Assembly District 21
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 21 – ANDREW COATES
These interviews are posted on Nevada News & Views (www.nevadanewsandviews.com) and/or NewsDesk by Nancy Dallas (www.ndbynd.com). Reposting of any interview by interested parties must include the disclaimer the interview was originally posted in the above publications. Only those Republican races with a Primary contest are being addressed. Questions or comments may be directed to Nancy Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-847-0129.
Assembly District 21 includes the Green Valley area in Clark County. There are two candidates in this Primary race.
1. Give a brief summation of your professional and political background.
I am a native Nevadan who has lived in District 21 for nearly 24 years. I am, also, an alumnus of Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas, and the University of California, Davis. Currently, I am a graduate student at UNLV, working towards degrees in law and business. Professionally, I have worked in scientific research, congressional constituent service, and legal research with the Office of the Nevada Attorney General. I have also volunteered for numerous political campaigns since I was 14.
2. Define your district – geographic boundaries, demographic makeup, and political balance.
District 21 is located in the Green Valley area, and extends roughly south from Warm Springs to Silverado Ranch and east from Bermuda to Green Valley Parkway. You can see a more detailed map of the district on my website at: http://www.coates4nevada.com/ district-21/. Politically, District 21 is a swing district, which leans Democratic.
3. If this is your first time running for office (or this position), why are you running for this position? If you are an incumbent, what have been your top accomplishments as a legislator?
This is my first time running for office. I am running because the time has come to implement real, comprehensive, bipartisan education reform. For years now, the Legislature has kicked the education can down the road. This cannot continue. We must repair our education system in order to continue recruiting new businesses and high paying jobs to Nevada.
4. What makes you more qualified to serve in this position than your opponent?
I bring with me a legislative plan for comprehensive education reform that can be introduced on Day One of the legislative session. I am not running in order to advance my professional career, or just to be a back-seat legislator—I am running to be a leader who gets real results.
5. There is a well-publicized, on-going philosophical split among many in the Republican Party. Describe your political philosophy in relation to this ‘moderate’ conservative versus ‘tea-party’ conservative divide.
To be honest, I think the so-called “divide” has been overhyped by many liberal media elites who wish to divide the conservative movement against itself. Certainly there are differences, as there are in any “big tent” party, however, at the end of the day we share a commitment to improving our education system, protecting tax dollars from mismanagement, and recruiting new businesses to our great state. Speaking for myself, I am certainly a conservative in the traditional sense of the word, with an emphasis on public service over ideology.
6. What do you see as the three most important issues related to your district?
Education, Jobs, and Government Efficiency
7. What do you see as the top three legislative priorities?
Passing real, comprehensive education reform; keeping Nevada safe for enterprise; and promoting government efficiency and accountability
8. What is your position in regards to the taxes imposed in 2009 that were to ‘sunset’ in 2011, but were re-approved by the 2011 and 2013 legislature?
I believe that a tax extension is a tax increase. Consequently, the tax extension votes in 2011 and 2013 should have been subject to Nevada’s law requiring a 2/3 vote to impose a tax increase.
9. Describe how you would address improving the performance of Nevada’s public schools.
We need to promote innovation, accountability, and opportunity in our schools. We need to promote existing successful ideas in education reform, tear down bureaucratic impediments to innovation, and partner with local businesses and colleges. We must also hold our schools, our administrators, and our teachers accountable – rewarding them for their successes and correcting their failures. Finally, we need to ensure that all students have the opportunity to attend a great school, and the ability to pursue their higher education dreams.
Specific legislation I hope to pass includes laws:
• Giving Nevada teachers the power to write a Nevada curriculum for Nevada students
• Modernizing classroom education to prepare students for 21st century workplaces
• Reforming teacher evaluations to be more comprehensive and fair
• Increasing the number of alternative school models, such as magnet schools
• Expanding opportunities for students to pursue career and technical education in high school
• Increasing school board members’ accountability to parents and voters; and
• Improving college preparation programs to ensure students are actually “college ready”
10. To what degree should the State support Charter Schools and those students opting to attend a school outside their district?
I believe that our first priority should be ensuring that every child has the opportunity to go to an excellent public school. Nevertheless, where public schools are failing, I support alternative school models (including charter schools), as well as limited grants to allow low-income families to attend a school of their choice.
11. The State Legislature has found innovative ways to circumvent the state law banning the passing down of unfunded mandates to local governing entities. What is your position in regards to using such actions to fund state needs?
I oppose unfunded mandates, whether they are being passed down from the federal government to the States or from the State Legislature to local municipalities.
12. Describe your position in regards to Nevada’s Right to Work law and unionization of State employees.
I believe that individuals have the right to decide whether to join or not join a union. The State should not interfere with this freedom.
13. What is your position in regards to increasing Nevada’s minimum wage?
We should be focused on passing comprehensive education reform so that we can attract more high-paying jobs to Nevada and raise the wages of all Nevadans.
14. Do you believe that gaming and mining industries pay ‘their fair share’ in contributing to the State’s economy?
I believe that we need an equitable revenue system, which does not unfairly burden any one industry, and which protects and nurtures growing small businesses.
15. What is your position in regards to Nevada once again legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes? Legalizing the sale of marijuana, period?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the compound in marijuana that is primarily responsible for any medical applications of the drug. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the compound primarily responsible for the harmful, psychoactive effects of marijuana. Today it is possible to engineer high-CBD and low-THC marijuana. I believe the best way to implement Nevada’s medical marijuana law is to pursue this specifically engineered strain in the state. I oppose decriminalizing marijuana.
16. What is your view of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Nevada?
The Silver State Exchange has been far from successful. I advise against spending anything more on expanding entitlements prior to taking a serious look at real education reform.
17. Define your position on fracking and other means of oil exploration in Nevada. Do you support coal fired plants?
I am open to many alternative sources of energy and I believe Nevada should explore many options, while always maintaining an emphasis on the health and safety of all Nevadans. That said, I believe solar power is the future for Nevada.
18. What is your position in regards to the Catalyst Fund? Do you have other ideas to encourage new businesses to locate in Nevada?
In general, I am opposed to the State picking winners and losers in business. In order to encourage new businesses to locate in Nevada, we need to make real education reforms to assure business owners that their children and their employees’ children will be placed in a stellar education system. Of course, it is also necessary for Nevada to have a tax structure that keeps the state safe for enterprise.
19. Do you support “campus carry” legislation allowing licensed CCW permit holders over the age of 21 to carry their weapons on Nevada college and university campuses? Would you extend the same right to secondary school campuses?
I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I also believe that training and gun safety education are key components of exercising our 2nd Amendment rights, and should be an integral part of any potential campus carry legislation. Regarding secondary school campuses, no teachers and few parents want guns in the classroom. Secondary school security is extremely important and should be handled expertly and professionally.