Freshman Orientation: Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui
Freshman Democrat who fills the former seat of Republican Victoria Dooling, who elected not to run for re-election.
- Represents District 41, which covers the tail end of the greater Las Vegas area extending from
- District 41 has a moderate Democratic advantage (41 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican and 20 percent nonpartisan in the 2016 election).
- Jauregui defeated former Assemblyman Paul Aizley in a heated primary by a 56 to 44 percent margin.
- Jauergui defeated Republican Nick Phillips by a 53 to 47 percent margin in the 2016 general election.
- Serving on the following committees: Commerce and Labor, Corrections, Parole, and Probation, Judiciary, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Mining
FAMILY AND EDUCATION:
Jauregui (pronounced Howdy-Gee) was born and raised in Hacienda Heights, California, where she attended Mt. San Antonio College before transferring to finish her history degree at UNLV in 2009. She describes herself as an “avid hiker and runner.”
Jauregui got her start in politics interning and eventually working for Sen. Harry Reid as a foreclosure mitigation lead, spending two years working directly with Nevada residents on housing and mortgage issues.
She then took jobs in the nonprofit sector, working with the Financial Guidance Center and as a program director of the state Attorney General’s housing relief program. She left both those positions in 2014 to take a position with Ticor Title of Nevada as a marketing executive.
Jauregui is involved in numerous community boards and groups in Southern Nevada, including past stints at a Hispanic real estate industry group and on the policy committee of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Nevada.
ON NEVADA AND THE ISSUES:
What are you most proud of about Nevada?
I’m proud of all of Nevada. I think one of the things I’m most proud of our state is our state legislature and how diverse it is and everything we accomplished in 2016, and the 2016 election. We elected a state legislature that is diverse and actually looks like the population of people it represents. We have one of the most diverse legislatures in the country, and we’re also made up of 40 percent women, which I think is something we should be extremely proud of. Both of our houses are led for the first time ever by two African American men and again I think our diversity is something we should be proud of.
Does anything embarrass you about Nevada?
I wouldn’t say anything about our state embarrasses me, I know that there’s things that we need to improve. But I think that’s our job as state legislators, to figure out what in our state isn’t working, what in our state needs improvement and then finding a solution or how best to improve it.
Top priorities in the 2017 session:
I’m introducing a pink tax cut, making sure women aren’t paying more for things considered necessities, and then I’m also introducing a wage theft protection bill that again will help working families keep more money in their pockets by penalizing those who misclassify employees. You know when employees should be classified as employees and earning a certain wage and being provided benefits and they’re not, they’re being classified as contractors. Well I think that’s something that we need to fix in our state.
Again, making sure high-quality jobs are coming here, but we need to really make sure that we’re protecting our workers. One of my other priorities, you know I’ve been working with EMILY’s List a lot and they’re big supporters of my race, and I want to make sure women have a voice.
I’ve also introduced a pay equity bill that would make sure women are being paid the same amount as their male counterparts for the same type of work that they’re doing.
Public safety is also something that’s important to me and I introduced a bill that would start the conversation on cyber security. I was actually part of that Office of Personnel Management breach when our federal government had their system breached and all of our personal information was compromised, and that’s one of the scariest things is receiving that letter saying we’re sorry but your personal information has been compromised. So I want to make sure that Nevada has systems in place so that in case something like that were to ever happen here, we are fully prepared.
Should we raise taxes, and under what circumstances?
We’re going to have budget hearings throughout the session, there’s going to be opportunities for us to find areas where we can be more efficient, but there are also critical programs that need funding. Veteran’s services needs funding, education should always be at the forefront of the discussion, public safety, infrastructure. I can’t say I’d specifically support a tax increase unless I know what that tax increase is going to fund, and that’s the kind of thing we’ll identify as we’re going through our budget hearings.
What might we cut in the budget?
We’ve had the opportunity now post State of the State, and I was thinking about this, and I know how I answered it prior, but I kind of want to focus on the State of the State and what I like in the governor’s proposed budget and things I didn’t like. And so I’d like to focus on the increase in per-pupil spending, again one of my bills is around cyber security so I’d like to highlight the allocation he’s giving to the cyber defense center.
I have concerns with the mining on public lands, I have concerns about the school voucher program.
How do you plan to diversify Nevada’s economy and create more jobs?
That was one of the things I mentioned in campaigning, diversifying the economy. During our economic recession, I was at the forefront of working with Nevada families who were so affected by our state being a one-industry state. It was so hard to have to work with Nevada families who had invested all of their money, and had lost their jobs that they had been at for 20 years, were state employees who were forced to be furloughed, they were losing their house, they were running through their savings.
And so that is something that’s really important to me because again working with Nevada families who were experiencing that hardship is something that I want to never happen again.
And so I think we need to work on diversifying our state, we need to make sure that Nevada companies have a first crack at state and local contracts. That’s something I was big on during my career in housing, so when we were crafting the Nevada Attorney General’s housing program, we were big on making sure that those contracts were going to Nevada companies first, and they should always do that because we need to make sure that Nevadans have jobs and that they’re being employed.
And we also need to make sure that we are attracting new industries to Nevada and creating jobs, we’re a leader in renewable and solar, and so making sure that we continue to be a leader in attracting renewable energy companies here to Nevada.
What should we do next on solar?
Like the previous question, I think we’re a leader in the state on renewable energy, on solar energy. I think we need to continue being a leader on solar energy in our country. But to continue being a leader in our country that doesn’t just stop at solar, I think we need to make sure we’re looking at things like wind and geothermal energy and we really should look – the city of Las Vegas is a perfect example. They’re now powered 100 percent by renewable energy, and I think that’s what Nevada’s next move should be, making sure we’re working on having our state achieve the same goal, working toward 100 percent renewable energy.
What should Nevada’s next step be on the stalled Education Savings Account program?
I’m a product of public education, and my priority is always going to be making sure Nevada’s children have the best quality education possible, and having the best quality education if they’re going through public schools. I know that you can have a strong public education system if it’s funded, have strong teachers, good policy and motivated students, and I know that because I’m the product of public education.
And I don’t believe that taking money away from public education is the best way to do it. I’m going to look forward to working with the governor to find the best way to do that, working on a comprehensive plan that’s going to benefit everyone, I don’t think taking money away from public school is the best way to do it.
What should Nevada’s minimum wage be?
I think we need to make sure we’re taking care of working families, and that means making sure working families are earning a wage that they can take care of their family. A wage that compares to the amount of work they’re doing, a wage that allows them to live a comfortable life in Nevada, a wage that will allow them to send their kids to college if that’s what they choose to do.
I don’t know what that wage looks like, but I definitely think it’s something we need to do, I think it’s something we need to increase, but I don’t think the conversation stops there. I think that is the perfect opportunity to open the conversation about women as well, making sure that women are earning a fair and equitable wage, just like their male counterparts. And that’s where that conversation needs to go.
Will you work across the aisle, and on what issues?
We’re a bipartisan government, so we’ll have to work across party lines to get bills signed and to get anything done this session. I think we can be a model to other states in what bipartisanship should look like, but I’ve always said the best policies are created when they’re supported by people across the aisle. And before we’re Republicans and before we’re Democrats, we’re Nevadans first, so I think every policy should be a bipartisan push.