KEITH PICKARD – REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 22
This district includes the western portion of Henderson
The Primary race in AD 22 includes two Republicans. Keith Pickard is the only one to respond. His Primary opponent Richard Bunce did not respond. The winner of the Primary will face a Democrat in the General Election.
1. Give a brief summation of your political and professional background.
I have a varied professional background, having been a high school teacher for 2 years before embarking on a career in construction and development. I owned a commercial and public-works construction company and was later recruited to Nevada by Del Webb to build clubhouses and recreation centers for their communities. I was then recruited to become an executive for Toll Brothers, a builder of semi-custom homes. I was managing the development of two major Henderson communities up until the time of the economic collapse in 2007. I then went to law school (being the third-oldest student at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law at the time) and am now a practicing attorney and founding partner of Pickard Parry Pfau, Chartered, a full-service law firm in Henderson. I also drafted and successfully lobbied for AB 263, deemed the most significant family law legislation in more than a decade.
2. Define your district – general geographic boundaries, demographic make-up and political balance.
District 22 is in western Henderson, running south of I-215, abutting Seven Hills on the west side to the communities surrounding the intersection of Horizon Ridge and Horizon Drive on the east side. The district is comprised of about 65,000 people, and an above-average income overall. There are two age-restricted communities in the district: Sun City Anthem and Sun City McDonald Ranch. The district is slightly more Republican than Democrat in terms of registered voters.
3. Why are you running for this position? What makes you more qualified than your Republican opponent to serve in this position?
My education and wide-ranging professional experience give me unique insights into the areas most affecting my constituents. I have an advanced degree and decades of experience as a small business owner, as well as having responsibility for billion-dollar projects across the United States. I was personally requested to run for this seat by the incumbent and have the support of the Republican caucus, and many other members of the Assembly. I am also the only candidate for this district who has successfully crafted and submitted legislation which is now the Law of Nevada. My experience in drafting, collaborating with other experts and the Legislative Counsel Bureau, presentation to the legislative committees, and the instruction and discussions with individual members of both houses that I performed confirms my ability to get important legislation to the Governor’s desk and signed. No other candidate running for this seat has my extensive relevant experience.
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.
In my view, the philosophies implied in the terms “moderate conservative” versus “tea party” have less to do with any actual differences in political viewpoints as it does with their respective approaches to the legislative process. Though the terms are loosely applied (particularly “tea party” as it is much broader in meaning and scope than “moderate”), they have come to primarily reflect a difference in ideology. ‘Tea partiers’ tend to be more ideological, taking inflexible stands on particular issues, whereas the ‘moderates’ tend to be more willing to compromise to get legislation through. While both have their place at times, ideologues tend to get excluded from the conversations, as we saw last session. This, in my view, means they are not serving their constituents well as they have less participation in the process than their constituents deserve. That said, neither should the representative be a push-over when it comes to compromise. A good legislator knows that discussion and reasonable compromise are required to get a contentious bill through to the Governor.
5. What are the three most important issues relating to your district and/or the state? How will you legislatively address them?
Education, Economic Diversity and Development, and Jobs.
We should continue the efforts started last session to provide the kind of innovative approaches to real education reform. We have got to get ourselves out of last-place in education and graduation, and we need to get the programs out of the courts and into the classrooms where our students desperately need them. I will support continuation of the school choice programs, parental and local control of curriculum, and break-up of the top-heavy CCSD. Education is the foundation of a diversified economic base, and businesses will not locate here with high-paying jobs unless and until they have a workforce that can get the job done. We should reduce the regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles to businesses relocating to Nevada, and we should make sure that every citizen of Nevada is treated fairly and that foreign corporations already operating in the state should not be allowed to go without contributing to the needs of Nevada’s citizens.
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.)
- As a matter of full disclosure, I am a Life Member of the NRA and am a competitive shooter. I believe the Second Amendment is one of the fundamental constitutional principles that sustains the freedoms we hold dear. And while it would be theoretically advantageous to be able to look into a person’s record to see if they are suitable to own a weapon, there are no systems in existence today that would allow us to do so. The background check system we would be forced to rely upon is flawed and does not contain nearly enough information to do it right. As a result, the requirement of a background check would act as a practical bar to transfers of legal weapons between law-abiding citizens, which is a clear infringement of the Second Amendment.
- Aside from my profession as an attorney, I am a volunteer in a youth addiction recovery program. I regularly deal with the impact of recreational use of marijuana. It is almost always the first drug – the gateway drug – that youth use before moving on to harder, more dangerous drugs. We know with certainty that youth and young adults who become addicted to drugs between the ages of 12 and 25 make up the vast majority of addicts in this country. These addicts then commit crimes for which they are incarcerated at enormous cost to society. Aside from any medicinal benefits that might be available to those with real medical needs, the costs, both financial and personal, of recreational marijuana use is simply too high to support. We should not legalize the recreational use of this drug.
7. What is your position in regards to increasing the minimum wage in Nevada?
While I believe that everyone should have the ability to obtain a job that provides a living wage, I do not believe that central governmental control over wages and prices will lead to economic recovery and growth, but will expand the entitlements that dampens economic activity. It reduces competitiveness and ultimately leads to higher costs for all employers without any guarantee of higher profits to match, thus hurting small businesses which make up the majority of our commercial activity. Rather, we should focus more on educating our work force so that they are able to obtain and retain higher-paying jobs. Minimum wages for entry level jobs and should be intended for young people just entering the workforce, not for those trying to raise a family. Education is the answer, not redistribution of income from businesses to entry-level workers.
8. Define your position on fracking and other means of oil exploration in Nevada. Do you support coal fired energy plants?
Coal-based energy is slowly but inescapably being eliminated as an unsustainable source of energy. Similarly, renewable energy technologies are slowly developing into viable alternative sources for the energy we need to survive and thrive. Nevada has more sunlight than any other state. But until we have systems that are economically practical and can generate energy reliably, reliance on fossil fuels in unavoidable. We don’t know what the long-term ramifications of fracking are going to be, and much more study should be done to determine whether seismic activity is exacerbated by fracking. But there is a balance to be struck between energy independence (and the move to sustainable energy), and the reality of our ever-growing energy needs that are met in part by oil extracted with the use of fracking.
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:
There are myriad issues that concern me and the citizens of my district, but there is simply insufficient time to discuss them here. I welcome those who wish to discuss these other issues with me personally if I am elected.
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