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Legislature

Freshman Orientation: Assemblywoman Sarah Peters

Assemblywoman Sarah Peters with her children on the first day of the 2019 legislative session on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 in Carson City, Nev. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

ASSEMBLYWOMAN SARAH PETERS

  • Freshman Democrat who succeeds Democratic Assemblywoman Amber Joiner, who did not seek re-election in 2018
  • Represents District 24, which includes parts of Reno, including downtown and Midtown
  • District 24 leans heavily Democratic (44 percent Democratic, 22 percent Republican and 34 percent nonpartisan or other in the 2018 election).
  • Peters defeated three other candidates in the Democratic primary with 47 percent of the vote, or nearly 1,800 votes.
  • Peters faced no Republican challenger in the general election, winning with roughly 16,000 votes.
  • She sits on the Education, Judiciary, and Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining committees.

FAMILY AND EDUCATION:

A Nevada native, Peters received her bachelor’s in environmental engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is married to Matthew Peters, is a mother of three, and in her free time enjoys gardening, spending time with her kids and staying active in the community.

CAREER:

Peters is an environmental engineer. In that capacity, she has worked with local, tribal, state and federal governments on toxic waste management and monitoring, as well as regulatory issues, planning and technical support.

ON NEVADA AND THE ISSUES:

What are your top three priorities for the 2019 legislative session?

I would like to better define the state government’s involvement and relationship with tribal lands. I believe we can create a more transparent and frankly, friendlier, relationship with local tribes. New Mexico passed similar legislation and I’m looking to those policies as a guide.

I also want to focus on addressing our state’s environmental challenges. Nevada has made a lot of progress in regards to renewable energy and protecting our public lands — but I’d like to explore legislation and policies that keep our food, air, and limited water resources clean and safe. We can do more to address global climate change at the state level and I want Nevada to be at the forefront of that movement.

Finally, we must create a more affordable, accessible, and accountable health-care system. With so much uncertainty at the federal level, we cannot let the most vulnerable within our state fall through the cracks.

What programs/parts of the state government could be cut?

There is always room to improve transparency and efficiency in our government. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues, stakeholder groups and departments before making any decisions.

What programs/areas need more funding in 2019?

Simply put, our public schools.

What specifically should Nevada do to improve health care this session?

I would like to see an increased emphasis on preventative health care, as well as a focused effort to recruit and keep quality medical professionals in Nevada.

How about education?

Parents are tired of our schools being overcrowded, our teachers being underpaid and classroom materials being outdated. I would like to see the Legislature address all three issues so we can start seeing meaningful improvements.

Should Nevada raise its Renewable Portfolio Standard to 100 percent by 2050? If not, what should the state's RPS compliance standard be?

Yes we should.

Do you support modifying or eliminating current property tax caps in state law?

Property taxes are usually one of the largest sources of revenue for local governments — they contribute to policing efforts, our local schools and our roads. We need to look at a variety of ideas that will better fund these services while protecting vulnerable populations such as senior citizens and low-income communities.

Are there any particular issues on which you see yourself working across party lines? If so, which ones? If not, why not?

In the past, we’ve seen bipartisan support for reforming our criminal justice system and investing and promoting renewable energy. I’m also a part of the bipartisan Tech Caucus, which focuses on expanding and supporting our state’s growing tech-sector.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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