Daly vs. Dickman

Sparks Assembly race turns on sharp differences

Jill Dickman (left), and Richard “Skip” Daly

Jill Dickman (left), and Richard “Skip” Daly

Education reform and job creation are the platform pillars for both candidates of Nevada’s Assembly District 31. But for incumbent Republican Jill Dickman and Democrat Richard “Skip” Daly, the means to these ends are fundamentally different. The Sparks district has a population of roughly 64,000 residents.

“Going forward, it’s very important to me in the next session to protect all of the great reforms we accomplished in the last session, such as, of course, the education savings account, the construction defect reform, and all the great Second Amendment bills we had,” Dickman said.

She is completing her first two-year term as an assemblymember, having served on the transportation, health and human services, taxation, and ways and means committees, and as the assistant majority whip.

Where Dickman differs from her opponent is in her emphasis on voter identification and Second Amendment laws.

According to her official campaign website, Dickman supports voter ID, requiring voters to present proof of legal Nevada residence.

She is also in favor of passing a bill that would allow people with concealed-weapons permits to carry their firearms on campuses. Previous “campus carry” bills failed in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Her education reform stance is much like a real-world, competitive business climate. For example, Dickman helped pass an education savings account program that allows parents to receive a deposit from the state of 80-90 percent of expected public school costs. That deposit, funded by public school moneys, can be spent on private and alternative schooling.

“It makes the public schools stronger because when there’s competition, it always gets better,” Dickman said.

In 2015, Dickman did not vote for a $1.1 billion tax package that was backed and ultimately signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to help fund education in the state—a package that her opponent Richard “Skip” Daly says he would have supported. In 2014, Dickman and a cohort of eight other assemblymembers signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a no-taxes document circulated by a conservative D.C. lobby group.

Instead of raising taxes, Dickman points to a bill that authorizes $10.5 million in tax credits for businesses donating to scholarship programs for children to attend private schools.

Skip Daly rejects ideologically blocking all taxes: “To sign a no tax pledge, you might as well tie your hands behind your back, because you just eliminate too many options over too many possibilities going forward,” he said. He argues that saying, “There is no problem worth solving if it requires a tax increase” is a demonstration of poor leadership.

Daly previously held the position of assemblymember in the district from 2010 to 2014, standing on a platform to protect the middle class, bring in new jobs and ensure government transparency. He lost to Dickman two years ago.

He emphasizes vocational education at the high school and community college levels, saying that many of the new jobs expected to arrive in the Reno/Sparks area will not require four-year degrees.

“The goal is to get as many Nevada workers ready and in the best position possible to take those jobs,” Daly said. “We don’t have to import workers. We want to get local people to work,” he added, referring to the increase in jobs offered by businesses that are new to the area, like Tesla and Switch.

“From all indications [the race] is a little bit close,” Daly said. “It is a divided district, just like the country. But I think I have as good a chance as I had in 2012, when I did win despite the registration disadvantage.”