Name: Alexander Marks
Office: State Senate, District 18
On-Air Interview Summary:
Attorney Alexander Marks is running for State Senate District 18.
Marks told KNPR’s State of Nevada that his passion is improving education in the state. He said many people he has talked to in his district like living in Southern Nevada but would like to see an investment in improving education in the state.
He believes a strong education system is a key way to improve the state’s economy. Marks said that companies will only want to move here, if employees can put their children into good schools.
One of his biggest issues with the education system for Marks is the Education Savings Accounts. The Nevada State Supreme Court ruled the program violated the State Constitution, but it also outlined a way for the program to be resurrected, if lawmakers can find a funding stream.
Marks said many people he spoke with don’t understand the ESA’s and when he explained how they worked, he said many people didn’t care for the idea.
Marks also believes investing in new industries like health care, renewable energy and business technology can help diversify Nevada’s economy.
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Biography provided by the candidate:
My name is Alexander Marks, and as a native to Las Vegas, Nevada, I truly understand what makes Las Vegas the unique and special city that it is. I come from a working class family of teachers and union members who instilled in me the importance of learning, hard work, and keeping an open mind about the world around me.
I am a proud product of the Clark County School District, and I am a graduate of Durango High School. I attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Daemen College where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Government. I then attended the Massachusetts School of Law where I obtained my law degree.
After passing the bar, I began my career by advocating for affordable and accessible public higher education on behalf of students and their families. Over the next couple of years, I spent time focusing on gaming law (by making appearances before gaming regulators in Nevada and California, helping small and large business obtain gaming licenses to operate), and working as general counsel for a company that focused on tourism and entertainment.
I am now running for State Senate because this is my hometown and I want to see it succeed. I have years of experience in public education, gaming, entertainment, and tourism. It is important that Nevada has a State Senator in District 18 who understands those fields from the inside out. That knowledge brings with it the ability to continually develop our most important industries while creating a future with a robust and diverse economy that works for Nevada and all of its residents.
Question: In a 140 characters, introduce yourself as if you are introducing yourself to a neighbor.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and come from a family of working class family of teachers and union members. As such, I truly understand what makes Las Vegas the unique and special city that it is. I understand how Nevada can resolve issues locally, so that it can compete nationally. I imagine a Nevada where we all have access to new opportunities; where our education system is emulated and admired; and where we all have great jobs with livable wages and benefits. As State Senator, I’m optimistic that with my diplomatic and pragmatic approach to problem solving, we can create that Nevada.
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 would like to see energy be the major focus. We haven’t had a big energy session in quite some time. After the PUC decision in December 2015, I think the Nevada legislature must make it a priority. There were also a lot of Nevada households who negatively impacted by that decision, so I am hopeful we can turn that into a positive next session. I talk to people every day at the doors who say this is one of their top issues. They understand that it’s an industry that Nevada could be a leader in. We have already seen progress in this effort, as the Senate Democrats are looking to form a Subcommittee on Energy should we take back the majority. This is a big picture mindset for Nevada. This is a jobs issue; this is an environmental issue; and this is a consumer issue.
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?
Yes. I believe those are important areas to be funded. My primary support is based upon that fact that the taxation would create a source of revenue for K-12 education. Having a background in gaming, I equate this a bit to online gambling in that is an issue that is going to stick around; as such, I would rather the sale be regulated, than not regulated at all. The positives seem to outweigh the negatives in that the state would have additional revenue for education and we can work to reform our criminal justice system.
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?
It certainly seems to be an issue that the Legislature will have to address. I will need to do a bit more research. If this is an area that will be addressed, as responsible legislators, we owe our constituents an honest attempt to evaluate all options to see what is best for Nevada.
Question: Do you support the construction of a taxpayer-funded NFL stadium?
At this point, I cannot. I love football. It’s one of those things that most people enjoy. Any time I’m at the doors and I need a go-to topic, football helps. In speaking with voters each and every day, this is one issue a lot of people are paying attention to. With our education system ranking last, our struggle to hire police officers, our need for certain infrastructure, and numerous other funding issues elsewhere, I believe there are numerous other areas that these funds from the proposed room tax increase could be used for.
(Editor's note: The candidate's biography and answers were not edited for content or length)
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