An elected representative form of government such as our republic can function only if the voters are well informed.
That’s been the goal of the League of Women Voters since it was established in 1920, coalesced from the supporters of the women’s suffrage movement which helped pass and ratify the 19th Amendment, ensuring womens’ right to vote.
The League of Women Voters-Mesquite continues to seek that goal, through voter-registration drives, supporting campaign finance, election and health care reform, organizing “meet-the-candidate” events and publishing its voter guides.
Mesquite is fortunate to have this organization of volunteer women and men. Yes, men. The league membership is open to all U.S. citizens of voting age.
The League of Women Voters-Mesquite meets the second Saturday of each month, September through May, at 10 a.m. in the Mesquite Veterans’ Center, 840 Hafen Lane. If you’re interested, attend a meeting or e-mail the League at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The League is non-partisan. While it does not support nor endorse candidates, it will take positions on issues of critical importance that affect our communities and each of us.
But for the League to accomplish its goals, it takes more than their efforts. Citizens must attend their events and read their literature. And candidates and elected officials also must cooperate in getting information about them and their positions out to the public. That’s never easy.
Oct. 3 was a good example of possible candidate disinterest. The League of Women Voters-Mesquite scheduled a candidate “meet-and-greet” at the Eureka Casino Resort on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Of all the candidates invited, only 11 made the commitment to show up.
But as starting time for the event neared, only five had arrived. That was the night of the first debate between President Barrack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. But if candidates had other commitments that evening, they should have said so. Simply not showing up, was rude to both the League of Women Voters-Mesquite and the voters who live here. After 45 minutes, no other candidates had arrived.
And nor did all candidates respond to the League of Women Voters’ invitation to submit to questions in the League’s 2012 Voters’ Guide. But in its non-partisan fashion, the League simply wrote “No Reply” for the candidates who missed the opportunity to reach several thousand Mesquite voters.
The League is supported by donations and membership fees. It’s able to publish only a couple of thousand of its voters guides. But to help the League in its mission, the 2012 Voters Guide with its questions is reproduced here with permission from the League of Women Voters-Mesquite.
Justice of the Peace: Mesquite Township, 6 year term.
1. What is more important, the letter of the law, or the intent?
2. There is a continuing education involved in this job, would you have the time to continue to educate yourself with your other responsibilities?
Resume: Besides completing master’s and bachelor’s degrees, I have two earned doctorates: in law and psychology. As the attorney of record in numerous civil and criminal cases (both kinds heard in justice court), I have represented clients in administrative proceedings, family, state and federal district, state supreme (appellate) courts and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to securing my law degree, I was a school psychologist and educator which included teaching for three different universities.
1. The intent/spirit of the law is more important. Words are often ambiguous, which is why jurists prefer bright lines and settled case law. Ignoring the spirit and adhering only to the letter of the law is a technique common to oppressive governments.
2. Continuing education has been required in most of my careers. I view life as a learning process welcoming all learning opportunities. I would expect nothing less as an integral part of this judgeship.
Resume: I am an Eagle Scout, high school valedictorian, Utah State University graduate, University of Minnesota law school graduate, and a licensed Nevada attorney. I am a husband and father of five great kids. I worked for a law firm in Las Vegas on a variety of civil cases in district court and before the Nevada Supreme Court. I currently serve as Mesquite’s Deputy City Attorney and work as a criminal prosecutor in Mesquite Municipal Court.
1. Both are important. To correctly apply our laws, judges must understand the intent behind them. Laws are examined through a process that respects their letter and spirit. When intent is clear from the statutory language, judges look no further and apply the law. If the language is ambiguous, courts look to the legislative history. Laws are interpreted to avoid absurd results. I have the skills and sense to correctly interpret and apply the law.
2. I will complete all of the judicial education courses required to serve as justice of the peace. Each year I fulfill the continuing legal education requirements required of Nevada attorneys. These courses have helped me to stay abreast of developments in Nevada law and to better serve our community as a criminal prosecutor. I have a love for learning and will continue to use the training I receive to effectively serve the public.
Virgin Valley Water District, Mesquite Seat, 2-year term.
1. What additional steps would you put in place to prevent future corruption?
2. What do you see as most pressing issue facing the water board?
Resume: We moved to Mesquite 13 years ago. We were down here playing golf with some friends in late February. We got to Ely and it was snowing and blowing, all our warm clothes were in the trunk. Jackie said why do we live up here (Boise, Idaho). By September we were back to stay. I owned a small business for a couple of years, was very involved with the Chamber, served on the board for several years.
1. We need to get better public input, must keep the agenda open. Any voter should be able to put something on the agenda. A corrupt official, if they get control of the agenda, can cause lots of damage. We could not get control of Mike Winters until we got back control of the agenda.
2. The district has enough water for the future growth of this valley. The problem is that we share the aquifer with Utah and Arizona with no agreements. We need to make sure we get our share.
U.S. Congressional Candidate
1. What should the federal government do, if anything, to ensure that every American has health coverage?
2. Please explain why you do or do not support timely and full disclosure of all political contributions.
Steven worked his way through school and helped his siblings make it to college. He understands middle class struggles because he lived them. But perseverance paid off, in 2001 Steven became the CEO of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, where he helps thousands of Nevadans get back to work every year. In 2004 he was elected to the State Senate, and in 2008, he became the state’s youngest and Nevada’s first African-American Majority Leader.
1. I support ending discrimination by insurance companies against those with pre-existing conditions: we can’t deny care to those who need it most. I support allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, as they are starting their lives they should not have to worry about falling into medical bankruptcy. I also support funding for preventative screenings to catch illness early. Overall, I support patient-centered reform to decrease health care costs.
2. I believe in transparency and there should be real time disclosure laws for contributions to political campaigns. I have voted for and strongly supported ethics reform at all levels of the state government while I served in Carson City, and I will continue to support laws promoting transparency in Congress. Voters have a right to know if someone is influencing their representatives with campaign contributions.
State Assembly, District 19, 2-year term.
1. What should the state government do to create the best education system for the children of Clark County?
2. What are your short-term and long-term goals for Mesquite, NV?
Born and raised in Mesquite, Nevada, Cresent Hardy has always worked hard to take care of his family and to always give back to the community. His commitment to public service is clear. Cresent has served as the Mesquite Public Works Director, a member of the Virgin Valley Water District, and as a member of the Mesquite City Council. Cresent knows the importance of building a strong, safe community for families.
1. We should take more steps to encourage charter and independent educational opportunities. Anything that empowers parents and families to have more say in their children’s education is important.
2. With the devastating housing crisis and the slow economic growth, there are plenty of things we could do better. Keeping taxes low and regulations down will help spur more economic growth and prevent companies from being stifled.
Felipe was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1957. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1967, settling in New York City. Felipe is currently a resident of Clark County and has been for 14 years. Felipe is a graduate of The City College of New York with a B.A. in Political Science. He spent most of his adult life in the financial industry, where he learned the importance of a diversified economy…
1. The State Government must continue to improve the revenue structure in order to fully fund education. We must also hold those managing the funds accountable for the managing for such. The issue of overcrowding should also be addressed and let’s all make sure that our children have a safe environment where they can come and prepare themselves for an ever-changing and competitive world.
2. My short term goal is to reach out to the families of Mesquite and together, work to resolve those issues that require immediate action, i.e. jobs. On a long term goal I like to bring together the elected local officials and ask them to join forces and work together for a strong Mesquite, capable of sustaining itself through new sources of income by adding and diversifying our tax revenue, i.e., new businesses other than gaming.
County Commissioner, District B, 4-year term.
1. What will you do to insure Mesquite will be well represented?
2. Do you see solar power the right way for all of Clark County?
With a strong and proven record of service, Tom Collins has worked hard to deliver much needed services to the residents of the Mesquite area. His top priority today is to help provide jobs for the working men and women of our community. Tom’s leadership as Chair of the LVCVA is helping all of southern Nevada’s gaming and tourist industry thrive. There is more to be accomplished and Tom is ready to continue the work.
1. I will continue as I have to help the residents of Mesquite. While I’ve been Commissioner, I’ve been bringing our EOC into action during flooding and have helped provide County and State assistance in these cases since 2005. I’ve been able to help expedite road/highway projects, helping Mesquite work with MSHCP and SNHD rules. We’ve worked to provide many things from high school ballfield lights to Parks & Rec assistance.
2. I support solar power and I have helped bring solar power and other renewable energy resources for our future for Southern Nevada.
Education: Covey Leadership, Certified Facilitator 2007; UNR, Public Administration, 2005; Brigham Young University, Bachelor Degree, 1986; Ricks College, Associate Degree, 1981. Occupation: Career Center Coordinator, Legacy High School Instructor, LDS Church (traditional and online classes) Graphics Designer Boy Scouts of America, Volunteer. Qualifications: I have lived and served in Clark County for more than 25 years, including 12 years as an elected official overseeing the largest employer in the state and one of the largest budgets.
1. As your school board trustee for 12 years, I implemented local advisory boards to great success. I hope to continue that successful tradition and organize a group of community and business leaders, parents, and other elected officials to provide timely feedback on issues as they relate to the city and its residents. These conversations will be pro-active and their decisions will carry the weight of the community on recommendations to the county.
(Editor’s Note: Ruth Johnson’s answer to the second question was omitted during publication.
I am a goal-driven, team-oriented entrepreneur who has experience in combining the resources and skills of team members to achieve a desired outcome. I receive a law degree from Touro Law Center in 2005, a B.A. in Political Science from LIU Southampton in 1994. In 2007 I started and operated CREATE Burgers and Custard in Las Vegas. Corporate experience includes banking, wall street and consulting for International Organizations.
1. I would work with the local representatives to address the needs and concerns for the community.
2. Yes, solar power should be used to offset and eventually replace fossil fuel generated electricity. I would also work to make Clark County a hub for distribution.
Clark County School District B
1. Clark County School District is one of the largest in the United States. What can a small town like Mesquite do to see what resources are available for our kids to have a fair chance at a good education?
2. If elected, what is your first priority project?
Background: I’m a native Nevadan who has lived in District B for the last 22 years. I have been an active member for the PTA since the valley’s population boom of the 1990’s, and as a dental health professional, I have continued my commitment to children and education by volunteering both in the classroom and in dental clinics for underserved children.
1. The best action voters in Mesquite and other small towns can take to ensure our children have the proper resources is to elect a School Board representative who understands the rural areas of our school district, their unique needs, and is open to communications and suggestions for the area, such as myself. Mesquite can also support our efforts, along with the Superintendent, to represent rural areas in performance zones and advisory committees.
2. My top priority is to continue supporting our teachers and administrators through professional development and keeping resources focused on students in the classroom. I will also continue fighting for common sense education reform and improving student achievement so our children are prepared to be competitive in a global economy.