27 Apr Nick Christenson
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Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
I have lived in the current district boundary for the last 19 years, and in that time I've watched the valley develop. Our water supply is threatened, our air quality is poor, our educational and healthcare systems are facing crises. Despite this, I believe we *can* continue to grow and thrive as a community and economy, but the path we're on is often not sustainable. We need elected officials who recognize this and act accordingly.
Would you support allocating more state funds to help DACA recipients to help with higher education?
I think that's a good cause among many that require funding. I believe our community would benefit from helping DACA recipients achieve their educational goals. These are people who frequently remain in and improve our neighborhoods, and supporting their education is an investment that makes our community better.
How will the state fight the growing issue of homelessness that is increasing in our communities and use funds to expand on shelters for these community members?
First, right now Nevada desperately needs more market rate and below market rate housing. We need to incentivize that. Also, homelessness isn't going to be harassed out of existence. All that does is move it to a different neighborhood, leading to an escalation of cruelty. Providing a safe place for the homeless to go, and a transition to a self-sufficient living is an investment in our community that provides value to everyone.
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?
I support a woman's right to choose as a fundamental right, and I support programs that provide broad access to women's health care. It's a scary time in our nation where women are rightly concerned that in many regions they will be facing a health crisis that they hoped would never come to pass. While we need support for women's health care as a right on a national level, in the mean time we must ensure that access to women's health care continues uninhibited in the Nevada, and that we address inequities in the system.
The state of Nevada is facing an unprecedented shortage of health care providers – a problem that impacts every area of medicine, including the provision of sexual and reproductive care. Do you support removing the physician-only requirement and allowing advanced practice clinicians (APCs) to provide this vital care to patients with training and certification?
Nevada does face a severe shortage in health care professionals. We should do what we need to do to provide incentives to address this shortfall, and that's going to be a multi-faceted solution, including different types of incentives to address our needs. Allowing APCs to provide increased care to patients under the right circumstances is something we should seriously consider.
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?
There's no question that people of color experience health disparities, in access and in outcomes, across the board, and we need policies that address this issue broadly.
Knowing that the death penalty is exorbitantly expensive, racially discriminatory, and does not promote true healing for victims family members, do you support its abolition and do you think ending the death penalty is a crucial part of criminal justice reform?
Given how inequitably the death penalty has been applied both nationwide and in this state, there can be no moral justification for its continued use. Nevada should abolish the death penalty.
True Colors United, a national organization that implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ young people continues to rate Nevada as critically low, for its State Index on Youth Homelessness (in collaboration with the National Homelessness Law Center) that ranks and scores laws and policies related to preventing and addressing youth homelessness in the United States. Are you willing to support legislation that helps to fund and provide oversight regulations to youth homelessness services?
Homelessness is a huge problem for many young people, with our LGBTQ+ community being especially hard hit. These people are also part of our community and should be welcomed as such. As I said before, it is an investment to provide safe places for the homeless, and we should support having services in place for those with special needs or who are especially at risk, and this includes LGBTQ+ people.
Anti-transgender bills are being introduced across the United States that attempt to prevent trans people from having access to health care, gender reassignment surgery, and access to sports in schools. Do you support transgender equality and access to healthcare and an athletic school experience?
Our transgender community should have equal access to healthcare and after school programs.
We have seen rental rates increasing at a very alarming rate, in some instances upwards of 30%. How do you see the Nevada Legislature taking action to keep Nevadans in their homes and not being priced out?
We should start with working with our counties and developers to incentivize the the building of more housing, especially at and below market rate housing, and we need to develop in an environmentally sustainable way, and not just develop by ever sprawling outwards. I would hope we could address our critical housing shortage without resorting to drastic measures such as rent control, but we must get housing costs under control, and consequently, I can't rule out the necessity of implementing more drastic options while housing costs are so unaffordable. I would hope we can get housing costs under control without rent control and that all stakeholders can come up with such an approach. However, there is a housing crisis in much of Nevada right now and we need to treat it as such.
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?
I do not support policies that transfer large swaths of federal land to the state. We simply do not have the financial resources to care for it properly. Nevada's wild lands are a precious national resource, and Nevadans should take our stewardship of these lands seriously. We face many crises at this time, and we need to balance our responses to all of these crises as we modify how we live with an eye toward a sustainable future. One of the crises we face is one of species extinction and biodiversity loss. As the state in the lower 48 with the highest percentage of undeveloped land, Nevada has a key role to play in supporting biodiversity and migration corridors, and this is a role we must take seriously.
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 absolutely support Nevada's investment in conservation, and our efforts on this front should be increased. I support such programs as 30x30, setting aside 30% of our lands and waters as wild areas by 2030. I also support our federal delegations effort
Would you support addressing public health disparities in Nevada’s diverse Spanish speaking population by funding a “Promotores de Salud” program through the Nevada Office of New Americans that provides year round, culturally competent education and community engagement in Spanish on public health issues?
As was discussed earlier, BIPOC communities have poorer health outcomes and access to health care, and one of the reasons for this disparity is communication. We need to ensure there are services that close this gap. While I'm not familiar with the part
What are you doing to center communities of color and low-income communities in your work, and how do you ensure that equity is part of every decision you make?
By essentially every measure of attainment, the deck is stacked against our disadvantaged communities, and in many cases, the disparity is growing, not shrinking. Of course we need to be mindful of this, but mindfulness is not enough to address the problem. It is crucial to reach out to these communities and actively engage them in the issues we face. We also need to take active measures to ensure that their voices are heard when they do try to speak up. Not only are issues of disparity unjust, but our overall community suffers when the contributions and perspectives of such a large share of Nevada is underrepresented.
The APIA community faces the largest unmet financial needs when it comes to higher education. Nevada has the highest student loan default rate in the country. In Nevada, there are 333,100 student loan borrowers, $11.5 Billion in student loan debt, and $34,700 in average debt per borrower. What policies can we implement to ensure students and families are protected from predatory lenders and undue financial burdens?
Our higher education costs in this country have grown monstrously, and while higher education has never been more important to future success, and student loans force too many of our students to start out their careers saddled with debt which exacerbates disparities in student outcomes based on their childhood financial status. There are many strategies we will need to employ to help mitigate the financial burden faced by our young people. We certainly need to eliminate predatory practices in both education and the student loan industry where that occurs. We also need to make our higher education more affordable, including support for apprenticeship programs and other alternative educational paths. We also need more financial support for students who don't have the economic resources that others do. We need better guidance to help students navigate the higher educational system. While young people changing course through their education is part of growing up, we need to provide assistance for them to minimize the number of students who depart higher education without a degree but with crushing student loan debt.
Latinx communities are extremely concerned about the drought and ongoing water shortages. What would you do to ensure our families have a sustainable water supply, not just now but also future generations?
Water in Nevada is crucial issue, and one dear to my heart. The bottom line is that we have finite water resources, and we're going to have to learn to live within our means. While I believe this is compatible with population and economic growth, it will not be if we continue business as usual. First, we need to view our ground water as a precious resource which is replenished at a finite rate, and we need to ensure we use these resources sustainably. Second, in communities with a constrained water supply, we need to stop recklessly sprawling our communities ever outwards. Infill, higher density development is more water efficient, contributes less to heat island effects, and both reduces commute times and makes public transit more effective, which leads to better air quality. Third, there are a lot of ways we can manage our existing water resources better, and we need to employ them as well as getting creative about how we can continue to improve our communities on a fixed water budget.
One out of seven people in Clark County are food insecure. What policies would you propose to ensure people are not residing in food deserts and have access to healthy food and water sources?
There are a lot of programs out there that are addressing this in many creative ways, and there is much we all can do to support and expand their efforts. The casinos, grocery stores, and others in Las Vegas are doing great things in reducing food waste while addressing food insecurity in our neighborhoods. We should find out what impediments they are facing and how our institutions can help make these programs more successful. Another great new program is Nevada Plants, growing fruit trees in our fruit deserts, which provide food, shade, reduce temperatures, and provide education and outreach about diet and what constitutes real food in a cost-efficient and water-smart manner. There are many other programs such as these that with just a little assistance, whether it's financial, regulatory, or institutional, can improve their reach and multiply their positive effects, and we should seek them out and amplify their efforts.