Patricia Ackerman is the Democratic candidate for Congressional District 2 in Northern Nevada.
She’s running against Representative Mark Amodei, who’s been in that seat for almost ten years. The largely-rural district is normally considered a deep red stronghold, but Amodei's relationship with President Donald Trump's White House — and public reaction to the national COVID-19 response — could count against him.
If Ackerman wins, she'd be the first Democrat to serve in the district. But fresh off a solid win against a slate of fellow Democrats in the primary, could her campaign's momentum carry her to victory again?
On negotiating a second pandemic relief bill:
When it comes to the negotiations, we have obviously seen tremendous partisan gridlock, and there are people whose lives are dramatically suffering in the midst of this.
Once I win this seat come November 3 and we start pushing forward with a new relief package. We have to take a look at what we agree on across the aisle. It’s what I call going through the A,B,C,D,Es. If we agree on A – let’s set that aside. If we agree on B – set it aside.
We have to go toward that goal of ultimately helping those families.
We really need to listen to the public health officials and the scientists. So, we have a real clear picture of how bad it’s going to be, how challenging it’s going to be for how long.
It’s pretty clear that we’ve had a failed federal response to this virus. Without going into the heartbreaking details of what’s happening to these families, what I’m hearing that is desperately needed, and what I would bring to the table, is making sure that we fight for funding for those rural hospitals, telemedicine, rapid tests, more PPE for the frontline health care workers, help for the working families, clearly we need expanded unemployment insurance and if we do not have federally funded child care, we’re not going to see an economic recovery.
In the midst of this, we also have to take a closer look at making sure that we have strong oversight and anti-corruption measures to make sure that the money we’re going to be putting forward for that next relief package is going to go to those who need it the most, not these big corporations with these powerful lobbyists.
Would you support direct aid to Nevada if elected?
Yes, I would.
Looking closely at what’s going on with the budget, if we don’t have federal assistance into our state, we’re looking at a much longer recovery than what it would normally be.
Economists are stating that if we don’t have an adequate recovery package going forward, not only federal to business, but truly to the states, we’re looking at an extension of years before we actually get to that recovery.
It’s painful to see. Folks are asking, ‘Where are we going to get the money for this?’ Which I also have ideas that I’ve been digging into how we look at the fiscal responsibility of this, but truly, that has to be set aside temporarily, because ultimately, prevention is going to be less costly for us as a state, and also as a country, so we want to nip this in the bud.
On Pres. Trump’s rally in Minden:
That rally was about eight minutes away from my home. I found it disturbing because I’m going to circle back to what the scientists are saying, what the CDC are saying and the vast majority of those people were without masks and clearly our health experts are stating you need to wear a mask and it’s been proven that it reduces the transmission of COVID-19.
Gov. Sisolak had put forward a mandate for the state and for that size of a group to be maskless for the most part, very close contact with people who could be very susceptible to the virus – yes I think it was irresponsible.
What impact is Pres. Trump’s rhetoric about mail-in ballots having on the election?
That caused a lot of concern. We’ve had mail-in ballots through absentee voting for decades. Our veterans, our service members, who vote absentee. It’s a very safe way of voting. Creating this sense of mistrust and concern over the voting process, I also think was very irresponsible.
We’re also seeing the Native American tribes who are having difficulty with voting in regards to ballot boxes and not having drop boxes available to them and having to travel long distances.
I think it’s a lot of hooey.
Also, the rhetoric from the president about polling watching I think that creates divisiveness that is unhealthy.
I encourage folks to get your mail-in ballots in. There is a way to track them so you can watch their journey from the time that they are picked up in the dropbox to the time they actually get recorded. I encourage people to take advantage of that system.
If there’s a problem with it, then you can have the time to cure your signature and just go with confidence.
What should Congress do to address climate change:
Nevada is one of the fastest warming states. We’re seeing firsthand the effects of climate change. The increased drought. These worsening fires that are destroying our land, our homes. It’s worsening the air that we breathe. Schools closed for a week due to smoke from nearby fires.
I plan to prioritize clean air, water and land. Through that, we’re also going to be expanding prosperity across Nevada by putting people and communities first before polluting corporations.
This is all under the umbrella of creating clean, renewable energy, and my goal of creating a self-sustainable Nevada. I want to create transit-oriented developments for great walkable communities. I want to encourage homeowners to invest in energy-efficient improvements like rooftop solar.
Unfortunately, under our current congressman’s leadership, or lack thereof, he has not stood up for clean energy jobs in our district, and he’s voted repeated to even block renewable funding or even research into it.
This is something where I think we’ve lost a lot of time. We’re seeing the effects of it now. Once I get into office, that is an absolute priority for me to make sure we address climate change.
It is actually one of my three top priorities: health care, climate change, and addressing the corruption that we have in government.
On chances of winning and becoming the first Democrat to represent CD2:
From the feeling that we’re getting, I actually think we have a path to victory here. There’s been incredible grassroots support for this race. I’m the first and only Democrat who has actually outraised [Rep] Mark [Amodei] in the second-quarter filing. So clearly, our messages are resonating with CD2 residents, and I got a call just two mornings ago from a gentleman who had been a registered Republican his whole life and when he’s tried to reach [Amodei] on the phone repeatedly… and he didn’t get a response. The gentleman said, ‘He’s lost my vote because he’s MIA.’
[Amodei] not there for the constituents. They’ve had enough. I’ve given my personal cell phone number to everybody so they can reach out to me if they have questions or concerns and obviously that message is resonating.
Even in the primary, I got almost 50 percent of the vote in a seven-way race. I think they’re feeling the authenticity, the genuine desire to help the working people.
Insidelections.co tracks vulnerable races across the country that could flip from red to blue, and this is the first year that Mark is on that list.
On concerns about possible instability following the election:
When we come from compassion and heart-centered goal in anything that we do – I think that is what is desperately missing in politics currently. Clearly, our current president has stoked divisiveness. That’s very clear. I encourage listeners to set aside egos and to come from heart center and that is certainly my goal.
Whatever conflict we’re presented with, coming from the base of compassion and empathy, and at the same time, justice and a value for the law, then I think that we will keep our focus on what is necessary, based upon what the results are going to be, and honor those results. Push any tendency toward divisiveness, anger, violence aside because that’s not going to serve the American people ultimately.
If we are united as a country, united as a people, and set those partisan conflicts and disagreements aside and look for the goodness of our neighbors then we’ll get past this. Then we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work in Congress to make sure we put forward the kind of policies that are going to help the 99 percent. The 1 percent is doing just fine.
Patricia Ackerman, Democrat candidate for CD-2
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