2020 General Election guide: Nevada Assembly District 39 | RecordCourier.com

2020 General Election guide: Nevada Assembly District 39

Deborah Chang

Party: Democrat

Occupation: President & CEO/Business Owner Equity Incites, LLC / Adaptive Appalachia, LLC

Age: 55

Contact: deborah@chang4assembly.orghttps://chang4assembly.org/; (775) 508-3115 

Deborah Chang

Record of service: Community Relations Specialist, Office of the Mayor on Homelessness & SRO Housing, City of New York (1988-1993); Director of Technical Assistance, City of New York Department of Homeless Services (1993-1994)

Education: Masters of Urban Planning/Public Administration, New York University Wagner School of Public Service; Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Columbia University/Barnard College

Platform: I want to bridge the rural-urban divide polarizing our state and the nation as a whole. I chose to live in this community for its scenic views, open spaces, affordable cost of living, and the quieter, more community-based way of life here. Rural communities face a decline in the number of people living and working in them. But with policies that enable more families to put down roots where the cost-of-living is affordable and encourages entrepreneurs to bring clean energy, eco-friendly products, tech jobs and other innovations, our communities can thrive. After three decades working in government, the not-for-profit sector, the BioPharmaceutical industry, and most recently as an author, small business owner and social purposes entrepreneur, I now want to use my skills to passionately, but respectfully, speak to the needs of rural communities within the urban-dominated Nevada Legislature. My legislative priorities are to protect the environment, ensure affordable access to quality healthcare, expand access to mental health services, and create new living wage jobs through innovation. I’m running on the responsible community values of hard work, caring for our environment and each other, and most importantly fairness that I believe I share with voters in my District.

What’s the biggest issue facing the state of Nevada for the 2021 session? 

The biggest issue facing Nevada in 2021 is our recovery from the economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. With this global public health crisis quickly turning into an economic crisis, Nevada will likely be facing difficult times for years to come. Because our economy is more heavily reliant on leisure, tourism and hospitality industries than any other state in the union, and these industries have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Nevada was hit especially hard by the pandemic. Our unemployment numbers have been almost twice as high as the national average and economic recovery cannot be quickly or fully expected until the health threat has been addressed and confidence among nation-wide and international travelers is adequately restored. If Covid-19 infection rates remain high (Nevada’s current percent of positive tests is 13.6% according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center), it can jeopardize efforts to “reopen” the economy and relax coronavirus restrictions and recommendations, such as social distancing and mask requirements. Already, some states have imposed returning quarantine requirements for residents traveling to Nevada. So, it is unrealistic to expect tourism to rebound within the State until our rates of infection are brought back under control (like they were during the initial “safer at home” efforts) or a vaccine is widely available. While the economy is still in crisis, the Nevada legislature will need to find ways to protect its citizens facing unemployment, loss of healthcare coverage, threats of foreclosure or eviction, and food insecurity.

What legislation would you draft to better the lives of Assembly District 39 residents? 

The legislation I would draft to better the lives of District 39 residents would address its citizens most significantly impacted by the Covid-19 health crisis and its resulting economic crisis. I would look to draft legislation to add additional state resources to increase the unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 that expired in August under the CARES Act, expand health insurance coverage options under Nevada Healthlink to include a public (Medicare-like) option, create moratoriums for foreclosures and evictions for workers who are unemployed due to the pandemic, and increase State-funded supplemental food programs for citizens facing food insecurity. Also, as a person who spent almost 2 decades in the BioPharma industry, I believe that Big Pharma takes advantage of the protections they receive from current government regulations as well as the desperation of their patients to maximize profits. I would co-sponsor an Assembly version of SB 369, concerning drug pricing in Nevada, because I believe such a bill would provide predictability and protect against surprise increases to pharmaceuticals mid-contract. This bill is needed to help many Nevada families and individuals in Assembly District 39 who are reliant on affordable life-saving and life-sustaining medications.

Jim Wheeler

Party: Republican

Occupation: Retired CEO. Current Assemblyman.

Age: 66

Contact: jim@wheeler4nevada.org; http://www.wheeler4nevada.org

 Record of service:

Incumbent Assemblyman since 2012

USAF Veteran

Jim Wheeler

CEO, Powerdyne Automotive Products Inc. 1999-2005

Education: Attended University of Southern California

Platform: As the current incumbent I have seen many policies come and go in Nevada, but have personally remained consistent in my conservative values that my constituents elected me to put forward on  their behalf. With Democratic control in our state, it is incumbent upon all of us to have as much input into the legislative process as possible. 

What’s the biggest issue facing the state of Nevada for the 2021 session? 

Our economy has been devastated by the pandemic and the heavy-handed approach to it by the current administration in Nevada. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee I will be putting your wishes forward to make sure there are no new taxes levied upon our citizenry for unnecessary programs. We must learn to live within our means. 

While I believe, and hope, there will be a vaccine available in the next few months and we will be able to fully open our economy again, we must plan ahead fiscally for a slow reemergence in our tourist-based economy.

What legislation would you draft to better the lives of Assembly District 39 residents?

I have already presented bills for the next session that will include limiting the Governor’s emergency powers to 15 days without legislative approval, making it clear that all branches of government must be involved and no one person should have that much power in our system.

I have introduced another bill making the intentional targeting of a police officer subject to hate crime penalties. In this time of bias against those who serve us and keep us safe, we must do everything we can to show our support for them.

Candidate Dave “Liberty” Jones told The Record-Courier that he is a candidate in name only.