Jean Stoess is a former journalist and Washoe County commissioner who is a leader in the Sierra Club. We caught up with her at a meeting of the Nevada Women’s Lobby.

What are you most concerned about in this election year?

I’m concerned that the Democrats win at all levels, especially U.S. senator. I want Jacky Rosen to win. I think that Dean Heller has really been a disappointment, especially this year.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that. People I’ve never known to vote a straight party ticket are planning to vote all Democratic this year. Why?

Certainly Trump has made me aware of what’s becoming of the country when he’s in charge, because of the confusion and corruption in the Republic Party from the top down. For example, the way they’re handling Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. I think it’s shocking. … His demeanor was so improper that I don’t want him to be appointed because he doesn’t have the qualities to be a good supreme court justice. … Now McConnell is rushing approval through. He wants a vote on it on Friday no matter what. First of all, the Republicans held Merrick Garland’s nomination for 10 months. The way they flex their muscle is foolish on a lifetime appointment.

You’re an environmentalist. How do you think those issues are playing this year?

Donald Trump has removed regulations, especially in the Environmental Protection Agency, and most people, I don’t think, understand the implications. In the administration, we have the climate change deniers holding everybody up, creating problems in international and national groups. Those are concerns for me.

How do you think local politics are affecting quality of life in the valley.

The housing shortage and prices are a big concern. But I also am very concerned about the big 5,000-unit development up north of town and what impact it will have on the 395 corridor. They’ll have to do an awful lot of infrastructure planning and improving to accommodate a development like that.

Allowing a development that distant from the city core—what did you think of that decision?

That’s part of the problem. I think a big development like that is too big and too hard to handle.

It’s difficult to get good people to run for office these days. You’ve held public office. Was it a disagreeable experience?

Yes and no. Overall, I had opportunities that I didn’t know about. I look back now and think that those are things I could have done better. I was the only woman on the board—the first woman on the board, actually, and that was something in itself. I have to say the men on the board were always good to me, except I could always predict how their votes would go.