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When Jared Fisher announced he was running for governor, he decided to get the state’s attention by doing something different.

A bicycle shop owner by trade, he took his passion for politics to the people by biking through the state.

“Each town I went to, I was able to experience it in a completely different way and listen to those people who were out there and what their concerns are,” he said.

He found big divides between the rural counties and the urban centers. 

“We all talk about a New Nevada down here in Southern Nevada but not everybody in the rurals is talking about New Nevada,” he said. Fisher said many people in the rural areas of the state want to talk about "A Nevada" where their way of life is preserved.

Fisher is relatively new to politics and faces a tough Republican primary against Attorney General Adam Laxalt and state treasurer Dan Schwartz.

He believes his lack of experience in government is a strength.

“I don’t believe we need another lawyer sitting in Carson City,” he said.

Fisher believes his experience as a business owner is what makes the difference.

“You are the chief executive as the governor of the state and the means you are in charge of faithfully executing the laws of the state and being a leader to your state,” he said.

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He said a diverse person is needed to run the diverse state of Nevada.

One of the biggest issues the state still faces is our education system. Fisher disputes rankings that put Nevada at or near the bottom when it comes to education.

But he does acknowledge the funding issues the state has and he believes the solution is not necessarily more money but more efficiency.

“Part of my platform for the governor’s seat is a program where we work on the efficiency of our entire government system,” he said.

Fisher wants to tap the private sector to help solve some of the problems with school funding, for instance, the price tag for building schools. He doesn't want the state to keep doing the same thing that he believes isn't working.

“We’re trying to put band-aids on a bucket from the outside and the water is just flowing out of other holes," he said, "What we need to do is put a sealer on the inside of the bucket and fix the whole problem and that’s not going to happen if keep electing lawyers and people who are just moving up on the beauty seats in our state government that comes from having somebody from the outside who understands.”

Fisher believes state lawmakers made a mistake when crafting the public funding for the Raiders stadium because they did not include money for education.

“Yeah, it’s great to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas… but at the end of the day when we’re suffering in so many other areas just simply stamping ‘Home of the Raiders’ on the state of Nevada isn’t going to help our education, which is the key to our future economy for our state in so many different ways,” he said.

He did think the tax credits to bring the Tesla gigafactory to the Reno area were worth it and if he is elected, he plans to pursue more entrepreneurs to come to Nevada. 

If elected, Fisher also plans to address the state's lackluster mental health system with more service providers and better service.

“As a governor, I would definitely purpose if we don’t bring in a private outside entity to start up more – at least two more – mental health facilities in our state we’re going to have to look at that as a state-operated mental health facility because we simply can’t leave these people on the street without help, with nowhere to go and in some cases, unfortunately, committing suicide,” he said.

He also as a plan to improve health care, which is modeled after Massachusettes health care system.

“What we need to do is make sure everybody is insured and I do believe we need to bring outside competition into that," he said, "It can’t just be a federal government thing.”

He also wants to emphasize a healthy lifestyle for everyone, which he argues will eventually bring down the cost of healthcare.

He joined KNPR as part of the first in a series of interviews with Nevada's gubernatorial candidates.

Jared Fisher is running for governor as a Republican. KNPR News sent a questionnaire to the candidates. Here are his responses.

 
Question: Education in Nevada is ranked dead last or close to it. What does it need to improve?
 
First and foremost, it must be a priority in our homes, businesses, community, unions and government.
A true priority. Not just the lip-service I have seen and witnessed as a parent and now as a candidate for Governor. Gaming must be willing to require a high school diploma for every job. Businesses should
have incentive paid programs for 2-year and 4-year degrees. Unions must be engaged and active in our schools with trade and skilled programs that recruit and train our young people. And parents must instill in their children the desire and support to graduate high school and use their knowledge for
advancement in their lives.
 
My 10-point education plan is broad in scope, but not unachievable.
1. Empower families to engage in their child’s education
I will help support school districts’ efforts to expand programs that involve families and support their engagement in our schools.
 
2. Implement “two generation” learning opportunities for parents through after-school classes. This will include instruction in ESL, GED, personal finance and technology.
 
3. Offer hands-on apprenticeships, trades training and internship programs
Nevada has a highly-trained union workforce and I will seek to instill programs that unite the unions with schools to implement trades training. Investing in technical and trade education will trigger interest
in the STEM fields. I will continue to support dual enrollment opportunities that allow high school students to participate in college classes, career readiness courses and the CTE programs.
 
4. Provide support for students outside of the classroom
Each student enters school with a diverse and unique set of challenges and strengths. From food insecurity to social-emotional health, Nevada students face several barriers. We need to support our school districts to ensure families and children in their community can access the wraparound services they need. Providing access to services that address out-of-classroom factors will help students and teachers focus on learning.
 
5. Ensure fair pay and support services for teachers
Teachers are the driving force in our education system. I will look at salaries, personal development and accountability in the treatment of our teachers. As a businessman, I need to understand why a consultant or central administrator earns more than a teacher. Additionally, if Nevada wants to be the leader in education reform, we are going to have to start recruiting the best. This means we will have to require, at a minimum, hiring new teachers who have graduated at the top 35% of their class. And
because many of these graduates have six figure loans, we need to pay them better starting salaries.
 
6. Encourage school competition
Nevada has 492,416 students statewide, 664 public schools, 175 private schools and 38 charter schools. Our public schools must be competitive and on par with the other school choices to accommodate an
effective school choice program.
 
7. Promote ESA school vouchers with equality and accountability
ESA school vouchers will help facilitate a competitive school program and I will support ESAs so long as we have a strategic long-term plan to improve our public schools.
 
8. Reorganize larger school districts and reinforce smaller school districts
The reorganization of the state’s two largest school districts, has my full support. Budget allocations, School Performance Plans, hiring and curriculum decisions are best made at the closest point to the
student. I would like to explore this decentralization further with smaller school districts, such as organizing our municipalities with Ward or Commission districts. I will also ensure that our smaller
school districts get the support they need.
 
9. Re-evaluate budgets and weed out inefficiencies with my statewide SWEEP program
Analyzing the Nevada Plan and Weighted Student Funding will be my first priority. I will first look at the efficiency of the education budgets for the state by employing my proposed SWEEP Program —
Statewide Executive Efficiency Program. Based on this analysis we can begin to look at the way to better fund schools.
 
10. Introduce a Sports, Arts and Music (SAM) Program
Children need a source of motivation. My wife’s proposed First Lady SAM Program (Sports, Arts, Music) addresses the issue of student motivation by inspiring kids to succeed in education with life lessons learned through Sports, Arts, and Music. Internal skills of self-discipline, self-motivation, and selfconfidence provide students with keys to success in all areas. This will be her priority as first lady, and a student-centered education focused on efficiency and results will be my priority as governor.
Education solutions are complex. They are as much of a moral issue as they are a government issue. As a state, we must place education at the top of all our priority lists.
 
Question: Mental health is becoming a growing problem in the state. To fix it would require a lot of money. Where would that money come from?
 
To understand how we rank as a state for mental health, let’s compare ourselves to the number one state in the country for mental health care and services; Connecticut. Nevada spends $89.41 per capita for MH services, Connecticut spends $216.76. The USA average is $119.62. You might look at that and say, well maybe Connecticut spends more per capita overall. The answer is no. The per capital budget for Connecticut is $5,681. Nevada is $8,233. I think we have a priority problem in our state spending formula. As governor, I will implement my SWEEPS program, State Wide Executive Efficiency Program, meant to look at all departments for any waste and fraud or inefficiencies and solve those budget problems in the first 90-days.
My goal will be in the first two years bringing Nevada to the national average on MH spending. This means an increase in spend per capita of $30.21. I will look to the current Health and Social Services budget and examine the priorities in that current $5.5 billion budget (which by the way has grown 150% in 11 years) and examine how efficient this money is spent.
In addition to money, my priority will be to design a program that increases the supply of mental health care workers in Nevada by increasing recruiting efforts and incentives and simplifying licensing for qualified professionals.
 
Question:  Housing costs are going up in Reno and Las Vegas, and both metropolitan areas are having a tough time providing affordable homes or apartments to the growing numbers of people moving there. How
do you propose increasing investment in affordable housing?
 
As a free-market businessman I would first look to incentivizing the affordable housing industry. As Governor I would look to the following ideas:
 
 The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Duty to Serve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lowincome and moderate-income loans.
 Rehab product low-interest loans for updating aging apartments.
 Green Financing loans for low interest rates on builders who implement green initiatives in affordable housing.
 Tiny House low interest loans housing that is low priced and minimal maintenance.
 
Question: Was it a good idea for Las Vegas to invest $750 million in room taxes to build a stadium for a professional football team? If not, why not? If so, how do you think it will benefit Nevada?
 
The idea of a loan to the stadium is not the problem, it is the amount. The $750 million represents about 39% of the $1.9 billion deal. In fact, it is the largest taxpayer subsidy in NFL history. Taxpayers are on the
hook for too much.
The verdict is still out on whether Las Vegas will get $750 million in benefit. In economic and in business there is the concept of opportunity cost. This is the profit lost when one alternative is selected over
another. In Las Vegas, we have many entertainment choices, as a result, some entertainment option will lose a profit while the Raiders make a profit and visa versa. So, unlike any other city with few entertainment options, the Las Vegas economic model for the Raiders has yet to be tested. We must be diligent in out tracking of our investment dollar.
 
Question: Does Nevada need to enact any laws related to background checks to obtain a weapon in the state?
 
I am a firm believer in listening to the people. This is exactly why I am running for Governor because of my frustration with our voices never seeming to resonate with our elected leaders. In November 2016,
Nevada voters approved a ballot initiative to require background checks on private sales of firearms.
But, there was no one to pay for it. As a new comer to the ballot process, I don’t know why that was not clarified from the onset. If this was a business deal, there would be lawsuits and people fired for wasting so much time and money on this poorly written legislation.
Nevertheless, the Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. As Governor, I would follow the federal guidelines.
Guests

Jared Fisher, Republican candidate for Governor 

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