Interview – Lisa Helget, Republican Candidate Carson City Supervisor Ward 1
(vs Karen Abowd, Incumbent)
Please post a short personal resume:
Lisa Helget moved to Carson City in 1977 with her family that included her parents, brother and Queenie, the family dog.
Lisa attended schools in Carson City, graduating from Carson High School in 1984.
Lisa spent 27 years serving the taxpayers while at the Nevada Department of Transportation working to improve our Interstate Highway Infrastructure, retiring in 2013.
Lisa’s career included various job positions with increasing levels of responsibilities as a Team Leader. Top concerns included accurately interpret and direct compliance with detailed safety programs, managing budget allocations, reviewing project planning phases to achieve cost effective, viable final plans and ensuring tax dollars spent on project was allocated in a fiscally conservative manner while maintaining the integrity of the project quality.
Lisa’s experiences also include interacting professionally and courteously with many different people and job classifications and demonstrate a spirit of cooperation and be fair-minded when making any decisions affecting the taxpayers and stakeholders.
Lisa has 27 years of leading projects and goals to a successful outcome.
1. You are running against the incumbent. Define your strengths and why you would better serve Carson City in this position than your opponent.
I have 27 years’ experience serving the taxpayers working in State government. My career working to improve Nevada’s interstate highway system included various job positions with increasing levels of responsibility, experience working within detailed project plans, and managing government budgets taking a fiscally conservative approach when leading projects to a successful outcome. Working with different people, personalities and classifications requires the ability to communicate professionally and clearly, be fair minded, and demonstrate a spirit of cooperation. My experience with infrastructure and public works projects assisted in bringing the projects to completion under timeline goals and budget allocations.
I, as well many in our community, live on a fixed, personal budget. As your Supervisor, I will bring a realistic perspective of what taxpayer funded items the community needs to do versus what would be nice to do. We need to focus on our real economic base, which are the people that live in and work in Carson City. Useless speeches of driving to and not by our community does nothing to resolve the current issues our residents have now with basic services becoming unaffordable such as: rising water and sewer rates for the next five years, rising utility bills, and higher costs of purchasing items due to a sales tax increase forced upon the citizens. We cannot continue to waste money on special projects when we have real strategic infrastructure needs that have gone unmet. We need to bring in real economic employment bases, like manufacturing, which brings in not only jobs, but improves the housing market and helps us to sustain new and current businesses. We need to bring our resources to bear on projects that make a difference in the lives of everyone in our community like providing easily accessible and safe public transportation with safe, sheltered stops, and following through on sidewalk projects, not the downtown streetscape plan, but on the streets where we live. We need to do the right thing for animal services not because it’s politically popular but because it’s our responsibility. I am a 36-year resident of this community and my campaign focuses on the citizens of our community, not selective businesses or special interests. We need representatives on the Board that represent the taxpayers instead of the special interests and personal agendas that are consuming our tax dollars.
2. Give your assessment of Carson City’s current business climate.
Using current business data (May 2014) Carson City’s sales taxes are up almost 8%, which is contributed to new stores locating to Carson City. Car sales tax was down 4%. Food and drinking establishments were only up almost 2%. This likely represents typical pre-summer activity, not actual growth. We need to create an environment where all businesses have a realistic chance to succeed in the free market system. We can do that by establishing a level playing field where we don’t give select businesses an unfair advantage through inequitable treatment or forcing them to pay for so called improvements they have specifically objected to. We must ensure City supported nonprofits do not compete unfairly against privately owned businesses and we must use the resources we have already invested in (like the BRIC) to help those who want to do business here. We have some very bright business people here in Carson City and we need to enable them to provide the tourist generating venues that could benefit our restaurants, lodging, gas stations, and retail. A successful business climate means private enterprise is at work, not heavy-handed government.
3. As a new Carson City Supervisor, what do you believe would be your three or four greatest challenges and how would you address them?
Spending – Carson City is already over $150 million in debt obligation. I am opposed to future unfunded capital projects which unnecessarily burden our future with excessive debt. I will vote for real fiscal restraint with the City budget and put the money where it benefits our citizens as a whole, for law enforcement, public transportation, and public works. We need to quit funding failing ventures such as the Eagle Valley Golf Course that is still not paying full lease payments despite a lower renegotiated lease, and we need to resist diverting money from necessary budget funds and needed projects to give to special interests.
Performance of City Government – The taxpayers have paid for several expensive, mandated studies which were ultimately ignored by the Board of Supervisors. We need to follow the expert advice when we’ve asked for it and start making strategic decisions that benefit the community. City government must divest itself from its non-productive relationships with nonprofits. Philanthropic charity is not a government responsibility and doing so disadvantages other nonprofits in the city and does not benefit the community as a whole. Lastly, the city needs to divest itself of real property it holds or leases to nonprofits at artificially low rates. Keeping this property off the tax rolls creates a greater burden on the small percentages of property owners in the city. We need to be fair with everyone and honest about how we spend our tax dollars.
Reform City Government – Restore and respect the citizens votes on key issues, provide real citizen outreach to gain better community validation and support for proposals. The Board must work closely with the City Manager to empower him to make real organizational change. It is counterproductive to hire a Manager and then micromanage his every move or worse, use him for political means. Most importantly, we need to substantially improve the transparency of city government; there are too many questionable deals and expenses that won’t stand up to fiscal scrutiny. We need to eliminate the environment that made wasting money possible and provide true transparency to citizens by showing how and where their money is being spent.
Address community needs vs special interests – Projects that benefit the community as a whole must have priority over those that serve special or individual needs. Our citizens need an effective public transportation system, a responsive and capable law enforcement, and a public works that will meet the infrastructure needs of our city now and into the future. These needs must come before beatification of the downtown area and other cosmetic changes.
4. It is a long campaign season. Many accusations and assertions are made by candidates. Are there any specific charges or assertions made by your opponent, or others, that you feel are inaccurate or unfair that you would like to answer to?
It is not necessary to own a business to serve on the Board of Supervisors. Selective or specialized business experience does not represent the majority of our community nor our concerns or our voices. Every business has unique concerns, and I have experience understanding those concerns and working in unison with business leaders to alleviate negative impacts suffered from outside decisions. I bring a cooperative attitude and a listening ear for all business owners and, more importantly, a non biased attitude to solve complex issues facing the City for the benefit of the community. I don’t have any personal interests that would conflict with the greater interests of serving our city and I certainly would not have any reason to recuse my self from voting on an issue. My resume is crystal clear; I will provide true, non biased representation to the citizens, regardless of the issue.
5. Please use this space to elaborate on any specific issue(s) of concern
I raise the following issues:
- Why do Board members refuse to recuse themselves from voting on issues that could benefit their business;
- Why do Board members refuse to disclose their affiliations, partnerships or family relations when voting on issues;
- How can Board members allow City funded operations to conduct business illegally, unethically and without proper licensing;
- How can Board members utilize City funds for personal endeavors without proper, legal and required reimbursement.
The Board of Supervisors should set the example for leadership, ethics, personal responsibility and respecting the citizens’ voices. They have repeatedly failed to do so and the taxpayers have been left suffering the consequences of their ill decisions.
I have asked Republican candidates in the Carson City District Attorney and Supervisor races & the Lyon County Sheriff’s and Commissioner races to participate in an online interview
The interview responses will be posted in full, unedited as submitted on NewsDesk (www.ndbynd.com), the CCRW website (www.ccrwclub.org) and the Carson City Central Committee website (www.ccrccgop.com), and all other GOP associated websites that wish to do so. The responses will be emailed to the membership of each organization, with reposting of any interview by interested parties strongly encouraged.
The purpose of these interviews is to allow our Republican candidates the opportunity to state their positions in their own words, describe how they differ from their opponent’s positions and why they would better serve their local government better than their opponent.
Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor NewsDesk (Est. January 2003)