07 Oct Susie Lee
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Democrat for U.S. House of Representatives CD3
Candidate contact information:
Email address: email@example.com
Phone number: (702) 608 - 4418
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 been a life-long public servant. After moving to Las Vegas in 1993, I opened the city’s first comprehensive homeless drop in center, then became the Founding Director of After-School All-Stars, which serves over 7,000 students every day after school. Starting in 2010, I served as President of Communities In Schools of Nevada (CIS), a leading dropout prevention organization. Now, I am your sitting Congresswoman from Nevada's Third District, and my record of results for students, our environment, our working families, and our veterans speaks for itself.
My career has been focused on serving those whose voices are often not heard, and to fight for equal access to opportunity, especially on the education front. I ran for office because I felt like my experience on the front line fighting for families and children, as well as operational experience in starting and growing successful nonprofits is a strong foundation and a perspective that is not common in Congress. My track record of bringing people together, not giving up and achieving solid goals that improve people’s lives has set me up to be a strong member.
What policies would you pursue to diversify the state’s economy and create new jobs that pay a living wage?
Let’s just start with adequately funding education. We can not diversify our economy without a strong K-12 and higher education system, strong workforce development and a rich research tradition. I have been a strong proponent of adequately funding education and was proud to introduce Keep Our Pact Act, which requires the federal government to fully fund Title I and IDEA programs. We also need to continue to build our community college system, which provides the biggest bang for the buck in higher ed, strategize and grow our workforce development system and invest in our university’s research tradition. I, along with Sen Rosen introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act, which would provide much needed resources to develop our cyber-ready workforce. Given the economic crisis we are experiencing, I hope that our state and our elected officials learn that only a diversified economy will help insulate our state from the type of economic devastation we are experiencing.
It is absolutely unacceptable that too many Americans cannot make ends meet on our minimum wage. I support raising the minimum wage to not only increase quality of life but also increase our consumer's spending power and boost our economy. I voted for Raise the Wage Act.
I am working hard to make Nevada a leader on clean energy, which would diversify our economy and require skilled, union labor. I introduced bipartisan legislation, the American Energy Opportunity Act, to provide the tools for local communities to streamline permitting processes for resident and business solar energy systems.
I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our labor unions who are for our workers' rights, wages, and benefits, and I know that with their leadership, we can create a stronger economy that affirms the dignity of Nevadans in the future.
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?
We only have one planet and one chance to stop climate change. I believe that investing in renewable fuels is not only the best way to save our environment, but also diversify our economy. I support efforts to update our public infrastructure to adapt to these new technologies, including securing our energy grid. And let me be clear, nuclear energy is the least clean energy we can develop. We need to incentivize Americans to be part of the solution, encouraging conservation practices like purchasing low emission vehicles with tax credits and other structural advantages. Each and every one of us has a role to play in combating the climate crisis.
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 issues Nevada will face under that scenario?
I am going to continue to fight like hell to protect the Affordable Care Act. I recognize that it is not perfect and we have much work to do to continue to make health care more affordable. I am in favor of providing a public option. I support the expansion of Medicaid and protections for those with pre-existing conditions. In fact, I have written a bill that will hopefully be included in CARES 2.0, which will automatically increase the FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) provided to states based on a state’s unemployment status. I anticipate that Nevada will continue to see high unemployment and more and more people will be forced onto Medicaid. Under my bill, the percentage, which is now 6.2% could increase to a high of 12p percent.
On top of dealing with our public health crisis, we must not lose sight of our need to lower the cost of prescription drugs by letting Medicare negotiation with prescription drug companies, as a start. We also need to improve generic drug competition and we need to develop patent guidelines that will allow lower cost biosimilar drugs to come to market sooner. Finally, Congress must continue to promote transparency in drug pricing. Our health care system is broken, and every day we wait to fix it is a day too long.
What are your recommendations for paid sick days and paid family leave?
Our current crisis has thrown our paid sick and family leave policies into the spotlight and they do not hold up. The US is one of only three countries that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. That’s unacceptable. I support guaranteeing paid sick and family leave for every American worker. Perhaps it took a crisis like coronavirus to change the tide in America. The Families First Act is the first time Congress has voted to require mandatory paid family leave. My bill, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, was enacted as a provision of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to ensure workers have access to extended, job-protected leave to care for themselves and their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, we can build on these gains in the near future.
In Nevada, childcare costs can sometimes exceed the cost of rent and public university tuition. What policy solutions will you support to substantially address these rising costs for families?
The child care affordability crisis in this country is keeping too many families from building up savings and realizing their American dreams. First and foremost, we need to dramatically expand the child tax credit, from the existing $2,000 per year. We need to work to ensure non-profit providers have the tax structure they need to succeed and offer families support in covering the cost of care. I am working on a bill that will allow nonprofit child care centers to have access to lending that is available to for profit centers.
What do you believe is the best approach ensure all of Nevada’s children have equal access to a quality education?
I would not be where I am today without the opportunities I had to get a good education. I spent my career prior to being elected to Congress working to build a better public education system for children throughout Nevada. I was the Founding Director of After-School All-Stars, a program that provides our most at-risk students with after-school enrichment activities and academic support. As President of Communities in Schools of Nevada for six years, I worked to close achievement gaps, adequately fund education and keep kids on the road to graduation.
As a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, I've already taken action in Congress to start making sure our kids have the same chance to succeed. I went to work to introduce the Keep our PACT Act, which will guarantee funding for all Title I public schools and Individuals with Disabilities in Education programs. And I've worked across the aisle to expand access to higher education for our veterans, formerly incarcerated persons, and low-income students.
All in all, poverty is the number one barrier to a child’s educational success. So, in addition to supporting programs like Title 1 and providing robust wraparound services, Congress must support policies aimed at reducing childhood poverty, such as expanding the child tax credit, discussed earlier.
The General Mining Act of 1872 was written to facilitate mineral extraction as quickly and cheaply as possible–leaving out federal royalties for mining. A lot has changed in 148 years, and since then, mining companies have left hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines across Nevada with the cleanup bill left to the taxpayers. How do you believe we should reform the 1872 General Mining Act to better protect taxpayers, land, and water?
We need to ensure that all projects on public lands actually benefit the public, keeping public health and the protection of our natural resources front of mind. I believe that we need to stop subsidizing the exploration of our public lands for private mining interests and give our government agencies the common sense regulatory power they need to preserve those lands from exploitation.
Nevada has the largest share 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?
Nevada's public lands are critical to our well being and economy here in Nevada. We need to think big and long-term with our initiatives to protect them. I took action in Congress to protect our main source of water with the bipartisan Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act. I’ve also been supporting the funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Our delegation will put forth a Clark County Lands bill that will include the input of all stakeholders and provide clear guidelines for land disposal and conservation. I also stood with Nevadans against funding for nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain with the Jobs, Not Waste Act which would require the Department of Energy to find new, job-creating projects for Yucca Mountain other than nuclear waste storage.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Indigenous women face murder rates more than 10 times higher than the national average. What do you think the federal government can do to address this issue?
It is absolutely horrifying that so many Indigenous women have disappeared or been murdered without drawing more public outrage. We need to take steps to offer community-based counseling and medical support, improve access to emergency services on tribal lands, and increase overall community awareness.
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, reducing economic prospects and civic integration. How would you work to address these issues to provide opportunities to all Nevadans?
Every kid deserves a chance to succeed, regardless of their gender, race religion, zipcode, immigration status, and wealth. As the Executive Director of Communities in Schools, I worked with many of these kids, overflowing with talent and potential, and provided the community-focused supports that prioritized the dignity and growth of our children. It's one of the reasons I immediately got to work and introduced bipartisan legislation in my first term to end the restrictions barring incarcerated individuals from accessing higher education through Pell Grants.
Overcoming generations of entrenched discrimination will not happen overnight, but we can start with smart federal policies that direct funds and innovation incentives to local leaders in the communities that have been put at the greatest disadvantage.
In 2019, Nevada significantly expanded voting rights and access to voting locations. What additional measures, if any, are needed to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and integrity of elections?
I fully support efforts to expand access to the ballot box. While I am glad that our Secretary of State has expanded Vote-By-Mail, we need to make sure Nevadans have access to socially distant early vote locations, and election information in their native languages. As part of the CARES Act, we fought for $400 million to support vote-by-mail systems and will need to include additional funding in CARES 2.0.
What is your position on universal background checks for firearm sales and other policies to address gun violence in this country?
As one of Moms Demand Action's 2020 Gun Sense Candidates, my record is clear: I am a steadfast champion for common sense gun safety reforms, which includes universal background checks, disarming domestic abusers and closing the "Boyfriend Loophole," and enacting effective Red Flag or extreme risk laws.
Do you support the legalization and regulation of marijuana?