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Name: Justin Watkins
Office: State Assembly, District 35
On-Air Interview Summary: Justin Watkins said his is a moderate Democrat looking to represent what he says is a moderate district on the southwest side of Clark County. That’s how he differentiates himself from his opponent, Brent Jones, who is a conservative Republican, and one of the few public officials in the state to publicly support Donald Trump for president. Watkins thinks the number one issue facing Nevadans is education. Watkins sees the possibility for more funding if marijuana is legalized (ballot Question 2). He thinks the big issue facing the legislature in 2017 will be energy – specifically facilitating the growth of renewable energy. He favors Question 1, background checks, which he points out has an exception for death, transfer to family or borrowing of a firearm for sport. What bothers Watkins even more, as a business owner, is that licensed gun dealers MUST, under federal law, conduct background checks, while unlicensed dealers can take business away by promising no background check.
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Biography provided by candidate:
I am a native Nevadan, born in Las Vegas, and raised in the horse properties near Floyd Lamb State Park (then known as Tule Springs). I am a lawyer and business owner. Most importantly I am a husband to my wife Marni and a father to our two daughters, Adyson (6) and Sydney (4).
Question: Last legislative session, the major initiative was a tax increase to support education in the state. What should the major accomplishment of 2017 legislature be?
I believe the 2017's legislative session will focus on energy, with a focus of providing a balance of promoting renewable energy, while maintaining a reliable, low cost energy grid for all Nevadans.
Question: If recreational marijuana is legalized by voters in this state, do you want revenue from it to fund health initiatives, research and/or youth awareness campaigns?
Tax revenue generated from marijuana sales should be used primarily to fund education, with a much smaller portion being set aside for research and youth awareness campaigns.
Question: Many elected officials in Clark County say they’d like to see the property tax cap changed – that its time because tax revenues aren’t meeting budgets. Is that an idea you want to see the legislature tackle?
Yes - the property tax cap, which was created during the real estate boom, has contributed to an underfunding of education in Clark County as our economy has started to recover from the recession.
Question: Do you support the construction of a taxpayer-funded NFL stadium?
There are currently too many unknowns for me to pledge support for or against a publicly-financed stadium. I support some amount of public financing so long as UNLV is permitted to use the stadium, but do not believe the current proposal is workable. I look forward to the final recommendations from SNTIC.
(Editor's note: The candidate's biography and answers were not edited for content or length)
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