27 Apr Selena La Rue Hatch
Selena La Rue Hatch
Campaign Contact Phone: 775-387-0809
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
Nevada is in crisis on many fronts. As a teacher, parent of a 4-year-old, and a proud union leader, I see the impacts of these crises every day: the education crisis, the housing crisis, the childcare crisis, the mental health crisis, the environmental crisis and more. These insights help me to bring a critical perspective in solving these problems and I believe that we need more voices of everyday citizens in the room where decisions are made. I have spent my life serving my community: as a political organizer, a non-profit director, a union leader, a teacher, and always as an activist for justice. Running for office is the next step I can take to make a positive difference in my community.
Would you support allocating more state funds to help DACA recipients to help with higher education?
I would absolutely support such a measure. I have taught for nearly a decade in low income schools and I have watched some of my brightest students work hard to make it to college only to be told they can't attend due to costs or to their undocumented status. It is a tragedy every time and I want to ensure that all of my students are allowed to pursue their dreams. In this country if you are willing to work hard then you deserve the chance to make something of yourself and this is one way in which we can make that a reality.
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?
The issue of homelessness is multifaceted and complex. There is no one cause, but I believe two major contributing factors are the shortage of affordable housing and lack of mental health supports in Nevada. The first issue we can tackle by promoting the construction of affordable housing while also using funds (especially from the American Rescue Plan) to expand shelters for the unhoused. Secondly, we must invest in programs which address the rampant mental health issues across the state. Nevada has some of the fewest mental health professionals per capita in the nation and this is a major contributing factor to a host of issues within the state, not the least of which is homelessness.
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?
Absolutely. I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose when, how, or if she wants to start a family and will staunchly defend that right. With the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned this summer, we must be more vigilant than ever in protecting this right and ensuring equitable access to care. If Roe v. Wade is overturned then Nevada will become a sanctuary state for women in nearby states who no longer have access to abortion care. As a result, we will need to ensure that our health care infrastructure is prepared to handle this surge in demand. Our health care industry is already strained as it stands so we will need to craft policy with an eye to addressing shortages and expanding access to meet this need.
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?
As this is a practice which is currently supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and the American Public Health Association, I would support allowing APCs to provide sexual and reproductive care. As I mentioned above, we have a shortage of medical practitioners in Nevada and the demand for their services will only increase. We must craft policy, which is informed by medical professionals, that addresses this shortage.
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?
As a history teacher I am well aware of the impact of systemic racism in nearly every facet of society today. Heathcare is no different and it is well documented that health outcomes tend to be worse for patients of color. I will absolutely seek policies which seek to rectify this situation and advance equitable access to health care in order to improve outcomes for our BIPOC community.
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?
I fully support ending the death penalty. I believe it is morally wrong for us to engage in what amounts to state-sponsored murder. The purpose of our criminal justice system is not to enact vengeance on an individual, but rather to ensure public safety by removing threats to the community. The death penalty has no place in such a system. For low level offenders who have served their time we should focus on rehabilitation so they can reenter society and contribute in a meaningful way. For those who commit serious violent crimes we should focus on removing them from society so they can no longer harm anyone else.
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?
This is an issue that I see regularly in my classroom, especially with my LGBTQ+ students. It is heartbreaking to witness and our children deserve better. I would absolutely support legislation that focuses on youth homelessness services to address this critical need.
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?
I have many trans students under my care and I try to make my classroom one in which they feel safe, supported, and secure enough to experiment and discover their own identity. I teach freshman and sophomores so that identity often shifts over the course of our time together and I fully support them in their process. I believe in trans rights and believe that trans people should have access to the care that they need to feel affirmed and content with their lives.
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?
I believe that this massive increase in rental prices is due in large part to the rising number of investors and corporations buying up homes in Nevada. These investors, who are often out of state, are outbidding homebuyers in our community by offering cash way over asking price. Then, they turn around and rent out these homes at exorbitant rates. People who want to enter into the housing market simply can’t buy a home and renters are being priced out of their own communities. Housing is a basic human right and we cannot allow it to be stolen from our communities by wealthy investors hoping to turn a profit. We must put limits on investors buying up entire neighborhoods, level the playing field for ordinary home buyers, incentivize the building of affordable housing, and put caps on the amount rent can be raised within a given time frame.
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 believe it is essential that we preserve our natural environment as much as possible and that the state government must play a huge role in this process. It is up to us to ensure that future generations are able to experience the same natural wonders that we currently enjoy. I believe the state should defend our public lands and try to maintain as much of our public land in its natural state as possible.
I worry about the transfer of management from federal to state control because I do not believe that the leadership in all states is committed to the protection or preservation of the land. I fear that some states would immediately open that land up to development and exploitation with little regard for the environmental impact on the land. As a result, I would support this transfer of management only if the required federal protections on public land were also guaranteed by the state taking over management and there was some mechanism to ensure these protections were not violated. Since I don’t believe those safeguards are currently in place I would not support the transfer of federal land to state control at this time.
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 certainly support investment in conservation. As I explained above I believe it is our job to preserve our natural environment as much as possible for future generations. I believe there is always room for improvement and part of our conservation effort include a focus on addressing climate change and the impacts of pollution, the consequences of which too often fall on our most vulnerable populations.
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?
I would fully support a "Promotores de Salud" program. I see this need on a daily basis in my classroom. Far too many of my students and their families are not getting the health care they need due to language barriers and a lack of culturally competent education on health issues. A program such as this would not just be economically just, it would also be sound fiscal policy. If we can help members of the Spanish-speaking community to achieve better health outcomes and participate in more preventative care, then the overall strain on our healthcare industry would go down. A program like this would be a win for the whole community.
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?
I currently teach in a low income school which is predominantly made up of students of color, so those communities are the center of my work on a daily basis. My kids are the reason I am running for office and I will work every day to improve the quality of their lives, not just in school but in all aspects. I believe that the role of a leader is not to be the sage on the stage with all of the answers, but rather to bring as many voices into the halls of power as possible, especially voices of historically marginalized communities. To ensure that equity is a part of every decision I make I plan to meet regularly with community members and with organizations who are working on behalf of our low-income communities and communities of color. Only by truly listening to our community members and crafting policy with their specific needs in mind can we create a society which is economically, socially, environmentally, and racially just.
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?
I believe that we need to cancel student debt. Currently it stands as one of the most significant drains on our economy and holds far too many of us back from the basic American goals of buying a home, starting a family, creating a small business, and so much more. Forgiving this debt would represent the greatest stimulus to the American economy that we have ever seen. In addition to this measure, we must also reign in the costs of higher education, which have ballooned out of control. We also need to protect our students from predatory lenders who take advantage of the fact that students don't fully understand the impacts these loans will have on them in later life. Additionally, we need to boost our grants and scholarships so that every student can get a higher education without the need to bankrupt themselves or their families in the process. Finally, I believe that we need to do a much better job of promoting apprenticeships and trade schools as an alternative to college for our graduating seniors. For too long my students have been told that college or the military were their only avenues for advancement in life and that is simply not true. They can make a great living in the trades and so many of of my students would flourish there. We must do a better job of laying out and fully explaining their options to students in Nevada.
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?
Our current drought conditions are severe and they will only worsen over time due to climate change. We must manage our water carefully with the focus on conservation. This includes examining and adjusting our water usage in all areas from agriculture to developments to industry and more. I would support policies at the state level which promote water conservation and I would also require the Division of Water Resources to consider impacts to water quality when issuing permits to new developments.
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?
I believe that we must tackle the problem of food insecurity with a multi-pronged approach. First, we must continue the practice of universal school meals at no cost to the student. No child should go to school hungry or be denied a meal over their inability to pay. Over the last two years our students and families have come to rely on meals from school in order to keep themselves fed. For too many of my students the only food they get is from school. At a federal level, this policy has been cruelly ripped away from our families and we as a state must step in to ensure our children are not going hungry. Secondly, we should offer supports and incentives to small business trying to bring healthy food into food deserts. Finally, we should promote environmentally friendly agricultural policies, such as regenerative agriculture, to ensure our water and locally grown food remains healthy and chemical-free.