27 Apr Shea Backus
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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.
Throughout my life, I believe in giving back to my community. Deciding to run was premised on making a positive impact for Nevadans. As an attorney, I’m able to provide pro bono representation to children subject to abuse and neglect, as well as those that cannot typically afford counsel. Being an attorney for over 18 years has also provided a solid foundation in reviewing proposed legislation, being inquisitive about the impact of proposed bills, and allowing for negotiations over issues presented in a bill.
Would you support allocating more state funds to help DACA recipients to help with higher education?
I am supportive of allocating more funding to assist DACA recipients with higher education; however, this is subject to Nevada’s budgetary mandates.
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?
Our state is facing an affordable housing crisis, which is yielding an increase in homelessness. While I am supportive of increasing funding to our communities for shelters, subject to Nevada’s budgetary constraints, I am also supportive of looking for policies to address the affordable housing crisis.
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?
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?
While I understand that Nevada permits nurse practitioners to perform certain sexual and reproductive care, I would likewise support an advanced practice clinician to also provide such services in light of their education and experience.
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?
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?
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?
As an attorney who represents children in our foster care and are subjected to homelessness, this is something I am concerned with and am open to policy to address youth homelessness.
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?
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?
Nevada definitely is experiencing an affordable housing crisis; to which, I do support policies that incentivize the development of affordable housing. One bill that I liked from 2019 provided state tax credits to assist with filling the gap for the development of affordable housing when other resources (e.g. federal tax credits) do not cover 100% of development costs.
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 am supportive of federal lands remaining federal as Nevada resources are limited and could be gravely jeopardized when there are natural disasters (e.g. fires).
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 was supportive of this legislation in 2019. I am supportive of investing in land conservation; however, since I was not serving in 2021, I am not sure whether this available resource has been sufficient or not sufficient.
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 am supportive of such program and/or policies to address such public health disparities; however, this is subject to Nevada’s budgetary mandates.
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?
The pro bono work that I do as an attorney is to represent children/adults who were subject to abuse and neglect. Through this, I have worked to find ways to address the economic and racial equity issues. If I had returned to the legislature in 2021, I had a BDR to remove automatic certification of minors to be treated as adults for certain crimes. I was fortunate to find another legislature who carried this bill.
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 am open to have discussions about policies that would protect all Nevadans, specifically including our APIA community, from predatory lenders. I am also supportive of Nevada legislatures passing bills to educate students about financial literacy.
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?
I would be open to having discussions about ways we can address potential water shortages, including incentives for the removal of turf.
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 am open to having discussions about ways to incentivize food markets to opening in areas where there are food desserts. Also, I am supportive of funding programs like Meals on Wheels.