Selena La Rue Hatch
Selena La Rue Hatch
Assembly District 25
How would you describe yourself to voters?
I am a fourth generation Nevadan who has dedicated my life to serving this community. I have spent nearly a decade teaching underprivileged children in Washoe County School District, first at Hug High School and now at North Valleys High School. I love the work that I do because every day I feel like I am making real and positive change in the lives of children. I genuinely believe that education is the only way we can truly change the world and I am proud to help shape our next generation to be thoughtful, empathetic, and empowered leaders in our world.
As a teacher, a parent, and a public education advocate, I have spent my life serving my community and creating positive change around me. Now, I am stepping up my commitment to my community by running for the Nevada State Assembly. I have spent my life working for a brighter Nevada and I will continue that work by ensuring all Nevadans have a voice in our halls of power.
What do you see as the top issues in this campaign?
We face many challenges in Nevada. From an underfunded education system to a lack of affordable housing to the ravages of climate change. I would like to touch on three issues here, but you can find my policy positions on a whole host of issues on my website: https://selenafornevada.com/issues/
We’ve known it for years – education is broken in Nevada. We teachers often say we are at the top of every bad list and the bottom of every good list. And yet, nothing seems to change. Every two years, our leaders promise to fix our education system, but as someone who is in the classroom, I can tell you, I don’t see the fixes happening. That’s why we need more teachers in the room making decisions. We cannot continue to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need real systemic change in our education system. Let’s start by increasing our per-pupil funding to the national average. Our children deserve better than last place in funding. Next, we need hard caps on class sizes to ensure our children are getting the one-on-one instruction they deserve. Next, we must stop the practice of passing students along regardless of whether they are prepared for success in life; a Nevada diploma must mean something. Finally, we must ensure that all education personnel – from teachers to bus drivers – are paid a living wage in line with their training and education. We cannot keep losing quality educators to the private sector because we refuse to compensate them adequately.
The cost of daycare in our state is exorbitant and the daycare options are far too limited. For too many families it is cheaper for one partner to stay home to care for the children than it is to send them to preschool or daycare. In many cases, the monthly daycare bill costs more than the monthly housing bill! Want to address the labor shortage? We can start by ensuring that everyone who wants to work has the ability to work by ensuring they can acquire quality affordable care for their kids. Part of the problem is that we have some of the fewest childcare facilities per capita in the nation. This is driving up cost and preventing families from finding daycare openings even when they can afford the cost. We must expand the childcare options in Nevada and we can start by creating universal pre-k across the state. As a teacher I have seen the dramatic impact pre-k can have on the life of a child. Children who have attended quality pre-k programs are given a leg up in life and set up for future success. Conversely, children without access to pre-k instruction too often enter school without prerequisite skills and knowledge and struggle to catch up for the rest of their academic careers. We should also invest in early childhood programs and offer small business supports to quality daycares in our community in order to expand the range of childcare options available.
As a Geography teacher it is my job to teach about the human relationship with the earth - which let's face it, is not great right now. The ravages of climate change are upon us; from historic droughts to devastating wildfires, the way of life in Nevada is changing. If we don't address climate change soon, our state will become virtually uninhabitable in the near future. But we don’t have to sit by helplessly as we watch climate change wreak havoc on our communities. Nevada can and should be at the forefront of green energy in this country – we are a perfect location for solar and geothermal energy and we need to utilize those resources to their fullest extent. We must become leaders in the green revolution and create good paying, union jobs in these new industries in the process. One underutilized tool for combating climate change and protecting our natural environment is regenerative agriculture. I have a unique perspective on this issue as I grew up on a ranch and I teach about arable land What do you see as the top issues in this campaign? and soil health in my geography class. I am well positioned to lead our regenerative agriculture work in Nevada and I am passionate about doing so. By improving our soil health we can actually draw carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil, which means we could actually reverse climate change within our lifetime.
In your opinion, how would you rate the state’s response to the pandemic? Why?
As a teacher, I saw firsthand the devastating impact the pandemic has had on our students. Despite heroic efforts on the part of educators, far too many students slipped through the cracks and missed out on crucial learning opportunities over the last two years. This is why I believe it is more essential than ever that we invest in our schools and ensure that our students are getting the supports they need to recover from the pandemic and get them back on track in their learning.
As far as response to the pandemic in general, I have always supported listening to our medical professionals and scientists when it comes to public health decisions. I think there were moments in the pandemic when our leadership did just that. Unfortunately, I also think there many moments when our leaders, from the state down to the school boards, made decisions based on politics or public pressure rather than facts and the advice of medical professions. I simply do not believe that public health decisions should be made to score political points.
Education and local government officials have long asked lawmakers to change the way the state assesses property taxes. That includes raising the current tax threshold. Should lawmakers consider raising those thresholds? If not, what is the best way for governments to raise money for local programs?
Our current property tax system is hopelessly out of date and absolutely must be updated to reflect modern needs. That revenue is desperately needed in our schools and local governments and something must be done to address this issue. Further, we cannot continue to raise sales tax as a sort of band-aid to address these issues. We already have one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, we cannot raise it further. It is time to look elsewhere for desperately needed revenue.
Our schools are starved of funds and we can see the impacts on a daily basis: we have the largest class sizes in the nation, chronic staff shortages due to under-compensation and overwork, soaring violence in schools due to lack of supports, and some of the highest rates of truancy in the nation. Our local governments are struggling to cover the costs of providing services to our ever growing population and are resorting to cutting critical community services as a result. If we can't keep our communities safe and our students learning then our government is no longer serving it's most basic purpose.