Kristee Watson

Kristee Watson

Kristee Watson 

Democrat for Nevada State Senate District 5

 

Candidate contact information:

Email address: kristee@watsonfornevada.com

Phone number: 7023063726

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WatsonForNevada/

Twitter: @kristeewatson

Website: www.watsonfornevada.com 

 

 

CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES

 

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 Las Vegas since I was 10 years old. My dad started up, and still runs, a successful small business. I attended Nevada public schools, including Bartlett Elementary School, Greenspun Junior High, and Green Valley High School, right in Senate District 5. After high school, I attended Pacific Christian College in Fullerton, CA, and received a degree in psychology. Following college, I came back to Las Vegas to work at our family’s small business, Stagewrite Publishing, as the company’s Advertising Manager.
I went on to work in the financial sector as a banker with Wells Fargo after earning my stock broker’s license. When Nevada was hit by the Great Recession, I left my job with Wells Fargo to return to work at the family business to help shepherd the company through the economic downturn.
After becoming a mom, I realized that Nevada schools were not providing students the same opportunities I received when I was in our public schools. I wanted to help improve our local schools and ensure that all of our students had access to a high quality public education. That’s why I ultimately went to work for Spread the Word Nevada, where I currently work as a Program Facilitator. Spread the Word Nevada is a literacy nonprofit that partners with 62 Title I schools in the state to distribute 60,000 donated books each month.
I am married to my high school sweetheart, Tyler, and we two children, Harper and Henry. We have also previously been foster parents. With a small business and education advocacy background, as well as being a mom to young children in our public schools, I understand what needs to be preserved and improved upon here in Nevada. I care deeply about being a champion for my community and helping those who live here and that is why I have decided to run for public office.

 

What policies would you pursue to diversify the state’s economy and create new jobs that pay a living wage?

 

Our state is once again facing an economic downturn due to the coronavirus crisis. Nevadans need access to more services, and the state has fewer resources to meet the community’s needs. This is primarily due to our tourism based economy, and that is why it is so important that we work to diversify that economy to make our state less subject to boom and bust cycles. In order to achieve economic diversification, Nevada needs to double down on its creation of clean energy jobs, particularly in the solar industry. We should lead the way in research for solar energy storage and the transport of solar energy to neighboring states. With our sunny days, land, and extremely low chance of natural disasters, Nevada is the perfect place to expand the clean energy economy and ensure our country becomes less oil reliant.
I also think we need to expand our identity as a great place for technology companies. As tech companies rely on servers, the same things that make Nevada an attractive place for clean energy industry translate into a good environment for tech companies. We have land and low odds of natural disaster that could put servers at risk.
Solar and tech industry jobs are good paying, reliable jobs that Nevadans need, especially at this time.

 

The 2019 Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Joint Resolution 10 (AJR 10) to amend the Nevada Constitution to remove the two-tiered minimum wage system and ensure a set minimum wage of $12. What are your views on passing AJR 10 in the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session to put it on the ballot in 2022?:

 

I support the minimum wage increase and will vote in favor of AJR10. Hardworking Nevadans are facing increased costs for things like housing, healthcare, and food. We must ensure every Nevadan working full time at minimum wage is living above poverty and this is a good start.

 

In 2019, Nevada joined the US Climate Alliance and took aggressive steps to address climate change by increasing our Renewable Portfolio Standard and encourage a shift to clean energy sources such as solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind. What policies do you support to continue this effort, particularly in the transportation sector?

 

I would like to see our state beat of our goal of becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2050, and get to 100% renewable sooner. I am supportive of any policy that will get us there, however I understand that going into the 2021 session we will have less revenue to invest in the many sectors that will need funding. That said, I would like to explore the feasibility of light-rail in the Las Vegas metro area - especially with the new stadium opening up. I support including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure with the understanding that this may take additional coordination with our city and local municipalities. One important change for my district specifically, but for Southern Nevada as a whole, is to make walkability a greater priority. Smart growth policies need to be addressed in our urban planning to ensure fresh food, as well as employment opportunities, can be found within our urban and suburban communities.

 

How can the State work with localities to address the housing and homelessness crisis we are currently facing? Specifically, what measures or policies can we enact to make housing more affordable for all Nevadans?

 

I am fascinated by cities such as Houston that have successfully reduced their homeless population. Investing in housing first programs saves our state and municipalities money in the long run. Studies show that on average a person experiencing homelessness costs the public $30-50,000, whereas housing first models cost $20,000 per person. As we look into the near future, we will have more Nevadans experiencing homelessness perhaps than ever before. There are compassionate, fiscally responsible options we must explore.

 

If elected, do you support bold enhancements to the existing paid sick days law?

 

I support paid sick leave policies and I’m proud of the work done in the 2019 Legislative Session with SB312. This was an important step forward to ensure that Nevada workers can earn time off to stay home when ill or to care for a sick loved one. No one should get fired for getting sick. I think we should continue the conversation in the future.

 

With the possibility of the Affordable Care Act being repealed by the Supreme Court, including the Medicaid expansion and protections on coverage for preexisting conditions, what should be done to address the way in which Nevadans get access to affordable health care?

 

 

We must protect Nevadans and ensure they have affordable and accessible healthcare options, and that starts with making sure insurance plans sold here are robust and not ‘skinny’ plans. I am eager to learn the results of the study the legislature commissioned in 2019 on the feasibility and design of a Nevada-specific public option.

 

 

The United States has become the most dangerous place in the world for a woman to give birth, especially black women. For every 100,000 live births, 42 women die. What policies would you support to protect pregnant mothers?

 

We must continue to study this phenomenon in our state and address the various causes. Having established a maternal mortality review committee in 2019 will help us evaluate each maternal death and factors that contributed. Having this insight, I think will provide the state with options on addressing this problem. We also should encourage recruitment of healthcare workers from the communities impacted in order for healthcare teams to more accurately reflect the area they serve and create community trust.

 

In 2019, Nevada state family planning grant funding was increased by way of legislation. What additional measures do you believe are still needed to ensure families have equitable access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care?

 

 

I am proud of the work Nevada lawmakers did in 2019 to secure $6 million in grant money for family planning and women’s healthcare. Increased access is key to saving lives through cancer screenings. I would like to see further expansion of family planning grants and I would also like to look into ways we can make birth control more accessible for Nevada women.

 

 

What do you believe is the best approach to ensure all of Nevada’s children have equal access to a quality public education? How do we address the significant education funding shortfall?

 

 

We currently don’t have a full picture of the impact the COVID-19 crisis is going to have on our economy. We will need to have a better understanding of how long this crisis will last and how quickly we recover as a state before we know the total impact to our state’s budget. That said, regardless of the outcome, I will fight tooth and nail against cuts to education funding. Cuts today sell everyone in Nevada short because education funding is an investment in our future. The students sitting in desks today are the innovators and job creators of the future. It will be my honor to join a team that funded the largest education budget in state history last session and who shares my perspective that improving public education in this state is critical. There is more to be done to improve our local schools, and I’m ready to get to work on this issue.

 

 

The majority of Nevada’s children are children of color, and many families have been affected by current immigration policies, incarceration, and criminal sentencing policies. How would you work to address these issues to provide opportunities to all Nevadans?

 

 

We need to do more to protect ALL children in Nevada. The studies from the Annie E. Casey Foundation are heartbreaking. Policies that require jail time for things like burned out tail lights and parking violations negatively impact families of color and contribute to CPS cases and poverty levels in Nevada. These are all issues that I believe can and must be addressed.

 

 

What are your views on the use of Nevada’s financial resources to support the deportation efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency?

 

 

We shouldn’t be spending Nevada’s limited revenue to support federal programs. The federal government has far more resources than our state does, and we need to be focused on funding for things like education, health care, and helping Nevadans weather the COVID-19 crisis.

 

 

In 2019, Nevada significantly expanded voting rights and accessibility to voting locations. What additional measures, if any, are needed to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and integrity of elections?

 

 

I support the expansion of voting rights, and I am proud to live in a state that is making it easier than ever to register to vote and to vote in elections. I would like to see that expanded, however. I would like to see Early Vote time lengthened and for that period to go right into election day instead of having a two day gap.

 

 

What are your positions on legislation to address gun violence prevention?

 

 

As an active member of Moms Demand Action, reducing gun violence is a priority to me. I am thrilled that last session we passed red flag laws, safe storage, universal background checks, and a bump stock ban. I would like to look into what we can continue to do as a state to pass common sense, life-saving legislation.

 

 

What are your views on regulating marijuana within the state of Nevada?

 

The legalization of marijuana has been a good move in terms of criminal justice reform, increasing revenue, and allowing use for medical conditions that can be safely and successfully treated with THC. I support regulation that reduces use by minors as we continue to study its effects. I would also like to do more to increase minority ownership of businesses in the industry.

 

Nevada has one of the largest shares of public land of any state in the country, providing access for a variety of recreational and commercial uses. How would you address the issues related to public lands and their continued future uses?

 

It is imperative that we protect our public lands in Nevada. That said, 80% of Nevada land is controlled by the federal government. I support the work our federal delegation is doing to protect our land. As a State Senator, I would look to enact policies that ensure sustainable growth and protection. I want to protect our public lands so that my children, and their children, and future generations of Nevadans can enjoy them. One of the greatest parts about being a Nevadan is our unique and rich natural heritage and we need to do all we can to safeguard that heritage.

 

Nevada is experiencing a more than a decade long drought. What is your position on addressing climate change and protecting Nevada’s water supply?

 

 

In Nevada, I believe we should be working aggressively to beat our goal of becoming 100% reliable on renewable energy sources by 2050. This is one step in combating climate change in our state given that greenhouse gases are a top contributor to climate change. I believe we also must tackle this issue by creating more public transportation opportunities. Regarding water, it is important for public health as well as our environment that we codify protections for Nevada’s seasonal streams and wetlands in order to ensure we have safe water sources within our state. Our federal delegation must continue to fight for stronger provisions in the Clean Water Act since 90% of the water we use in Nevada comes from other states.

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