Interview – Jill Dickman, Republican Assembly District 31
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 31 – JILL DICKMAN
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 31 includes parts of Reno and Sparks. There are two Republican candidates in this Primary race – Jill Dickman and Ron Schmitt. They both responded to the interview.
1. Give a brief summation of your professional and political background.
30+ years of private sector business experience. I’ve managed and owned businesses from a clothing store to a large-scale logging operation. My husband and I have owned a manufacturing business in Sparks since 1999. I’ve been involved in Republican politics from childhood when my mother took me campaigning for Barry Goldwater. I’ve been involved in Washoe County and Nevada politics for 15 years as a member of the county and state central committees, county and state convention delegate, and served as 1st Vice Chairman of the Washoe County Republican Party. I’ve worked as a volunteer for campaigns for State Assembly, State Senate, State Supreme Court, U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate.
2. Define your district – geographic boundaries, demographic makeup, and political balance.
AD 31 is an oddly shaped district which includes parts of Reno and Sparks, and falls roughly between Pyramid Highway and Vista Blvd., from north of the Sparks Marina to Wingfield Springs, and west to Red Rock and Highway 395.
The demographic makeup is approximately 72% Caucasian, 20% Hispanic and 8% other. The district is mainly middle to upper middle class, high percentage of residents with post-high school education, primarily employed in the private sector.
The voter registration is 41% Republican, 36% Democrat, 16% Non-Partisan and 7% other.
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?
I’m running for Assembly because I believe in the private sector and the principles of small, limited government. As a business owner, I understand the benefits of the free market to all of us, that the free market promotes jobs, jobs drive the economy, and more jobs equal a stronger, larger middle class. Small, job-creating businesses are grossly underrepresented in our legislature and that needs to change. With each successive session of the legislature, hundreds of new laws are passed, taxes and fees are increased, government continues to grow larger and the Legislature becomes more hostile to the businesses that drive our economy. We endure more intrusions on our personal liberties, and our state becomes increasingly dependent on the Federal Government. The 2015 Legislature will bring an insatiable appetite for new taxes and fees, and these cycles need to stop. In order to achieve this goal, we need more common sense conservatives in the Legislature. I am that common sense conservative.
I will work on your behalf, so all Nevadans can keep more of the money they earn. I’ll work for smaller, efficient state government that is more transparent and accountable to the citizens. I will work to create an environment that is attractive to businesses, so they will stay here, relocate here or start here and strengthen our Nevada economy, bringing more, higher paying jobs and opportunity for all residents of my district and the state.
Government should only be tasked with protecting our rights and property, not to be managing many aspects of our lives. I will not only work to reduce the size of government, but also its intrusiveness.
4. What makes you more qualified to serve in this position than your opponent?
Our citizen legislature has been taken over by politicians whose careers come before their constituents. I do not intend to make this my career as I already have one. I am completely independent and accountable only to my constituents. Unlike my opponent, I’m not an insider nor part of the establishment. I am not beholden to lobbyists or anyone other than my constituents. Unlike my opponent, who is soon to be termed out of his current position, I am not just another career politician looking for another place to land. We have more than enough career politicians who only seem to care about their reelection, or the next office they can seek, rather than making the tough choices. I am pursuing this Assembly seat solely as a means to serve the people of my district and make our state a better place to live and work.
As a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, I will fight any new taxes and fees or any increase of existing taxes and fees. My opponent has not made this promise.
I will bring a business perspective and approach to operating government. We still have one of the highest rates of unemployment in the nation. We also have one of the highest foreclosure rates. Yet, we keep sending the same kinds of career politicians to Carson City who continue the same failed policies. It’s time for a change and I represent that change.
I’m not merely someone with a convenient R behind my name. I will not be part of the surrender-Republicans. I believe deeply in the importance and responsibility of citizens being active in our political process and our representative form of government.
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.
I’m a lifelong conservative Republican and disagree with the notion that Republicans need to move to the left.
6. What do you see as the three most important issues related to your district?
• Creating a business-friendly environment that will attract more high-paying private sector jobs.
• Lowering taxes and fees so we can all keep more of the money we work so hard to earn.
• Improving our failing education system so our children will receive the high quality education they deserve.
7. As a legislator, you are allowed to present a specific number of bills during the legislative session. Do you have any specific bills in mind?
I have ideas for a number of bills. Some of the bills I expect to present include:
• A Universal School Vouchers bill that would make it possible for lower and middle-income families to have access to higher performing schools
• A bill to create a committee to find and eliminate government waste, similar to the SAGE commission (Spending and Government Efficiency) created in 2008
• A bill that would require current office holders who decide to run for a different office in the middle of their term, to resign their current position. It’s a disservice to the people to have an elected official focusing on their election rather than their duties of office. The candidate for new office would be required to resign before the candidate filing deadline so that a replacement can be elected, rather than appointed.
• A bill requiring that campaign donations be disclosed online within 72 hours.
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?
The taxpayers were promised in 2009 that these tax hikes would only be “temporary.” The Legislature has now broken that promise to the people twice. If elected, I will absolutely refuse to vote to extend these tax hikes again. And unlike my opponent, I’ve put that promise to the taxpayers of District 31 in writing by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. We need to live within our means, spend tax dollars wisely and root out wasteful duplicative spending.
9. How would you address improving the performance of Nevada’s public schools?
We need a multi-pronged approach including all forms of school choice, i.e. vouchers, charter schools, parental triggers, cyber charter schools, private scholarships and home schooling. This will promote parental involvement which is lacking with our current system that tends to discourage parental participation. We must eliminate the Common Core Curriculum in all schools. Simply throwing more money at the school system will not make any difference. We need competition as an incentive for public schools to improve.
Also, we must defeat the Margins Tax (the misnamed Education Initiative). This tax will drive business out of our state, leading to less funding for our schools.
10. To what degree should the State support Charter Schools and those students opting to attend a school outside their district? Do you support universal school vouchers, providing the money goes to the student/parent and not to any particular school?
The state needs to do a lot more to make it easier to open charter schools. Establishing a separate charter school board was a step in the right direction, but it’s still extremely difficult for new charters to meet the start-up costs. We need to look at our neighbor Arizona, which has hundreds of successful charter schools while Nevada has just a couple dozen, and figure out what we need to change.
Yes, I support universal school vouchers. Private school choice shouldn’t be reserved for only the wealthy. Low and middle-income families in District 31 should not only be entitled to the right to choose a private school, but the financial support to exercise that right, as well. Tax dollars should flow to parents and let parents choose the school that’s best for their children, not education bureaucrats.
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?
The Legislature should not be finding creative ways to circumvent state law under any circumstance. Legislators are elected to perform their constitutionally mandated duties, not to pass them on to other entities such as County Commissions.
12. What is your position in regards to increasing Nevada’s minimum wage?
First, we need to stop calling it the “minimum wage” and call it what it is: an entry-level wage. It is generally for unskilled, entry-level positions, to be filled mainly by first time workers who will gain valuable experience and move into higher-skilled, higher-paying positions. Increases will never alleviate poverty, but will increase employer costs and decrease the number of entry-level positions.
Secondly, it is not a proper role of government to tell a private, willing employer how much he MUST pay a private, willing employee. And any employee not satisfied with the wages he or she is being paid has the freedom to improve his or her skills and seek higher-paying employment elsewhere. This is the essence of freedom in free country.
13. Do you believe the gaming and mining industries pay ‘their fair share’ in contributing to the state’s economy? Explain.
The gaming and mining industries currently pay huge sums in taxes, in addition to donating large sums of money to schools, for scholarships, to charities, etc. Gaming and mining already pay the lion’s share of taxes in Nevada. Also, there has never been anyone who could define what “fair share” is. I do not believe there is a sound argument for increasing their tax burden.
14. With annual approval by Congress required, the Federal government pays state and local governments for the public lands (exempt from local taxation) within their jurisdiction (P.I.L.T.). Approximately 87-percent of Nevada is owned by Federal entities. Define your position in regards to states taking control of (Federal government relinquishing ownership to) all or a portion of these lands.
We wouldn’t want to take ownership of all public lands as we would lose all P.I.L.T money (payment in lieu of taxes). We would also lose access to public use of these lands for recreational purposes. However, the federal government should make land available to transfer to the private sector for development and private use, which would create jobs, expand the economy and diversify the tax base. It is ridiculous that the federal government should own 87% of the land within Nevada’s borders.
15. In 1979 Nevada passed a bill legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. It was repealed eight years later (1987). What is your position in regards to Nevada once again legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes? Legalizing the sale of marijuana, period?
After watching my mother die a slow and very painful death from rectal cancer, knowing she could have had some relief with the use of medical marijuana, I am in support of marijuana for medical purposes. However, I believe it must be prescribed by a physician for specific ailments and controlled and dispensed in the same way as other prescription drugs. I am not convinced that the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is appropriate.
16. It appears that millions of acres of Nevada lands are destined to have the sage grouse (among other species) listed as a protected species. What is your position in regards to this issue? Explain.
Listing the sage grouse as a protected species would have a devastating effect on Nevada’s economy. It would stifle economic growth and limit recreational use of public land. It would also have a negative effect on the mining, ranching and oil industries.
I agree with Congressman Mark Amodei, who said, “In Nevada, wild land fire and invasive species, such as cheat grass, that follow in its path are responsible for nearly 85 percent of lost sage hen habitat. Rather than putting the onus on local stakeholders through regulatory mechanisms to stop habitat loss, the federal government, as the landlord of approximately 85 percent of the state, needs to focus on preventative fuels management before wildfire strikes and habitat restoration following burn events. Multiple use is not the driver of habitat loss.”
17. Define your position on fracking and other means of oil exploration in Nevada. Do you support coal fired plants?
We need to develop and utilize every means of energy production available, including fracking and other means of oil exploration.
Yes, I support clean coal fired plants. Coal is the largest scale, least expensive means of generating electricity. Nevada will require abundant, inexpensive energy if we are to have a thriving economic future.
18. In efforts to bring new businesses to Nevada, the Catalyst Fund was established. This is funded by state tax dollars. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development receives and then votes on applications from businesses and, through local governmental entities, subsidizes those selected. What is your position in regards to the Catalyst Fund? Do you have other ideas to encourage new businesses to locate in Nevada?
In my opinion, the Catalyst Fund is an unconstitutional taxpayer subsidy to private business, promoted by state government. It forces established Nevada businesses to finance their competitors with tax dollars.
We need a low tax, less burdensome regulation, business enticing climate, as Nevada was when I moved here 25 years ago. This led to a thriving, growing economy until the recession and the beginning of Nevada tax and fee increases. Lowering taxes and fees will bring business to NV, which will mean more jobs. We need to make our business climate better, more attractive than other states. We will then become a business magnet.
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 fully support “campus carry” legislation and am eager to co-sponsor this bill. As far as secondary schools are concerned, if teachers or other adult support staff are trained in the use of firearms and are licensed CCW permit holders, they should be permitted to carry. How many school shootings could have been averted if a responsible adult on campus had been able to defend the defenseless?
20. 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:
As a lifelong conservative Republican, I believe in and will fight for the traditional Republican principles of lower taxes, smaller/less intrusive/limited government and more personal freedom and responsibility for all of us.
As a small business owner, I know first-hand the detrimental effects of ever-growing taxes and fees. With each successive session, we see the legislature become more and more hostile to business. We need to dramatically change that approach to governing.
As a common sense conservative woman with experience managing business and family budgets, I will be a responsible steward of your tax dollars.
As a CCW permit holder for over 10 years, you can be assured preserving the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms is one of my top priorities.
I’ve seen far too many politicians campaign on conservative principles and, when elected, vote the opposite. I pledge to you that I will not betray these principles. I will be your voice for a greater Nevada and I’m asking for your vote to represent you in Assembly District 31.