28 Apr Mariluz Garcia
Washoe County Commission District 3
Campaign Contact Phone: 775-247-5501
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
District 3, the most diverse of the five county districts in Washoe County, was arguably the hardest hit by the pandemic. I was inspired to run for this office because I want to help ensure that essential government services reach the families and businesses who need them the most. For almost two decades, I have directly worked with the students and families of District 3 and I will bring the same commitment and compassion to this work as I have demonstrated in education. As a County Commissioner, I will do what I’ve always done…I’ll ask questions, I’ll listen, I’ll connect, and I’ll bring people together.
As more Nevadans are facing homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic how do you plan on dealing with homelessness in your county?
First, I believe the most effective decisions or policies are those that have the voices, perspectives, and needs of our unhoused population at the center of each discussion. Second, I think it is essential that we always consider the entire spectrum of housing when making decisions, which includes emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, affordable housing, market rental housing, and home ownership. Third, I would continue to encourage community partners, organizations, non-profits, and our partners in education who provide essential services, case management, and wrap-around services to continue to collaborate with the county and both cities on the issue of homelessness. Ultimately, we need to ensure that adequate funding is directed to serve the needs of our unhoused population throughout our region in a timely, efficient, and transparent way.
The Registrar of Voters/County Clerk reports to the County Commissioners. With the rise of misinformation regarding the integrity/security of our elections and threatened acts of violence towards our election officials, what would you do to combat the misinformation and how would you provide support to the Election Department?
It is imperative for Commissioners to work closely with the Washoe County Communications and Media department to ensure that information is accessible on the website and social media channels to counter the spread of misinformation. Partnering with local media outlets can also ensure that our County’s communications and messaging is inclusive and accessible for our underrepresented communities. I applaud the hard work and dedication that our Registrar of Voters staff have demonstrated during such stressful and difficult times. It is important to make sure that this staff has the support they need and the necessary resources for technology, equipment, outreach, mail-in ballots, election workers, and voter registration.
Nevada has historically protected the right to abortion, including protecting the right in statute 30 years ago by a vote of the people. However, there remain barriers to access in the state. Do you support not only the right to abortion but policies that improve equitable access to abortion care?
Yes. I support the right to abortion in the State of Nevada and I support policies that improve and provide access to abortion care for those who are in immediate need or are seeking help.
It is well documented that patients of color face greater obstacles to obtaining sexual and reproductive health care than non-Hispanic white Americans – a pattern that results in worse health outcomes overall for BIPOC patients. Do you not only acknowledge systemic racism’s role in public health disparities but will you pursue policies that seek to rectify the historical harm of systemic racism and advance equitable access to health care?
Yes. I believe that systemic racism leads to widespread issues in healthcare related to patients seeking care, accessing quality hospitals and care, and having access to qualified and diverse doctors and medical professionals who reflect the racial/ethnic backgrounds of the communities they serve. Providing equitable access to healthcare is essential and I will support policies and best practices that get quality care into the hands of the people who need it the most.
There is a need for transgender specific and inclusive shelters and housing options that are coordinated and supported by Continuums of Care (CoCs). What can you do to ensure people who identify as transgender, who experience homelessness and who are precariously housed at higher rates than any other population, have dedicated homelessness and housing services to address their urgent needs?
We need to do everything we can to ensure that our emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive housing options are safe, inclusive, and respectful for our transgender population. Washoe County, the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, and our community stakeholders can work together to minimize barriers and address the specific needs of this population.
LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately represented and undercounted and under supported in child welfare and juvenile justice. Do you support the implementation of LGBTQ+ specific policies and procedures that enforce the need for comprehensive data collection, tailored family reunification services, improved policies and procedures and a transparent and easy to access grievance process for LGBTQ+ youth?
Yes. LGBTQ+ youth have faced incredible challenges related to suicide, mental health, housing, food insecurity, discrimination, and accessing resources in the school system, child welfare system, and juvenile justice system. Our LGBTQ+ youth deserve to li
We have seen rental rates increasing at a very alarming rate, in some instances upwards of 30%. How do you see the County Commission taking action to keep Nevadans in their homes and not being priced out?
The increased rent in Reno, Sparks, and surrounding rural communities is a very serious issue. In order to address the issue, the County must effectively work and communicate with all community stakeholders (government entities, developers, non-profits, etc.) to talk about tax dollars, subsidies, private donations, changing policies, national best practices, and ideas for new revenue streams to find solutions that provide sustainable relief to the region.
Nevada has one of the largest shares of federal public land of any state in the country, providing important wildlife habitat, places to hunt, camp, fish and hike, and acting as the foundation of a billion dollar outdoor industry. Even so, some lawmakers have promoted policies that seek wholesale transfer of federal ownership of our national lands to states. A) Would you support or oppose these land transfer policies? B) Would should the State of Nevada’s role be in the management and ownership of federal land?
Public lands belong to all of us. As a Native Nevadan, my personal life has been greatly enhanced because of the efforts of the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM has to manage recreation, wild life and fish habitat, grazing, timber, conservation, etc. It is obvious that there is always a balance between using lands for economic development purposes and conservation efforts to ensure access and recreation. This is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly and there would have to be a very good reason to justify a decision like that because once the land is lost, it is lost.
State investments in conservation provide resources for a wide range of public benefit, like the management of wildlife and state land, and the creation and maintenance of trails and other recreational facilities. In 2019, the Legislature approved $217 million of bonding authority for conservation purposes, including for the acquisition of land for new state parks. A) Do you support or oppose state investment in conservation? B) Has Nevada’s investment in land conservation been too little, too much, or about right, and how would you change it?
I grew up in Elko, Nevada and I had the privilege of having the Ruby Mountains as my first introduction to open space, spectacular scenery, and recreational activities. For almost 25 years, I have been an avid backpacker and hiker and I regularly participate in other outdoor recreation. I support the investment in conservation. I believe it promotes a better quality of life for our children and families who live here locally, as well as for those who travel here to experience the beauty our state has to offer. I need to learn more about the history of Nevada’s investment in land conservation over the years, before I can provide an educated and well researched answer the second part of the question.
How will the county ensure that low-income communities of color and impacted communities are centered when writing county climate plans?
My entire career has been centered on working with low-income children and families in Title 1 schools and I am very familiar with the barriers and issues that underserved communities face in relation to education, housing, transportation, childcare, health care, and safe neighborhoods. Unfortunately, folks from diverse backgrounds are often left out or over looked during of the conversations about the environment. I always have equity and access in mind when making decisions and would like to see improved communication and engagement.
How will the county address decades of environmental injustices that have placed low-income communities of color in the most polluted and hottest neighborhoods?
Both the community and businesses of District 3 are incredibly diverse and the area includes the casinos, hospitals, institutions of higher education, manufacturing, and small businesses. I believe more needs to be done to reduce pollution and clean up our neighborhoods, especially in District 3. We need to see beautification, tree planting, and trash clean-up projects to improve the quality of life in these neighborhoods. For those who aren’t able to own a home, we need to be encouraging landlords to upgrade their facilities to benefit the folks who live there. We need to provide incentives for solar and work with the Regional Transportation Commission to implement multi-modal opportunities for residents to move around their neighborhoods safely.
Will you practice a just transition approach to Nevada’s clean energy & sustainability plans while holding accountable those who must consult and collaborate with Nevada’s Tribal Nations on decisions which may negatively impact their indigenous lifeways?
These are the traditional homelands of the Numu (Northern Paiute), Wašiw (Washoe), Newe (Western Shoshone), Nuwu (Southern Paiute) peoples. The genocide, discrimination, forced assimilation, and other violent acts have been committed against Indigenous communities for centuries and caused generational trauma. I believe that our Nevada Tribal Nations must have a seat at the table when discussing clean energy and sustainability plans.
What is your knowledge of the unique needs facing the “urban Native American” diaspora residing in southern Nevada?
Unfortunately, I do not have any direct experience working with the tribal communities in Southern Nevada, but for the past ten years I have maintained close working relationships with tribal community members at Natchez Elementary, Pyramid Lake Junior and Senior High School, the Nevada Department of Education Indian Education Department, and the Washoe County School District Indian Education and Family-School Partnerships. Promoting equity and increasing access to educational opportunities for our tribal community has been a big priority for me for the past decade and I look forward to learning more about the communities in Southern Nevada.
What is your stance on transitioning to all paper ballot elections? And the hand count of paper ballots?What is your knowledge of the unique needs facing the “urban Native American” diaspora residing in southern Nevada?
I believe our current voting processes are effective and fair.
How will you resist official or unofficial, public or private pressure to alter, manipulate, or baselessly reject the results of an election?
I do not believe or condone the misinformation that is being spread about voter fraud.
How will you resist and counteract official or unofficial, public or private disinformation concerning the results of an election?
See above response