ASSEMBLYWOMAN JILL TOLLES
- Freshman Republican who replaces retiring three-term Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey.
- Represents District 25, which includes west Reno and extends to the California state line.
- District 25 leans Republican (43 percent Republican, 33 percent Democrat and 18 percent nonpartisan in the 2016 election).
- Tolles garnered 54 percent of the vote to defeat three opponents in the Republican primary.
- Tolles took 61 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic opponent Eli Smith in the general election.
- Serving on Commerce and Labor; Corrections, Parole, and Probation; Education; Judiciary committees in the 2017 session.
FAMILY, EDUCATION & CAREER:
Jill Tolles was born in Greensboro, North Carolina and attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech communication.
She married her husband, Par Tolles, in 1998 and began working for a Fortune 200 company as the regional manager of Northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe. In 2005, she began teaching at Truckee Meadows Community College and then at UNR, where she’s taught communication studies for the past decade.
In 2013, she joined the faculty of the National Judicial College, which is located on UNR’s campus and instructs judges from across the country. She went on to open her own small business coaching companies and individuals on effective communication strategies.
Tolles served on the Task Force for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, established by the Legislature in 2013, and developed and lobbied for the successful passage of SB394, which established statewide curriculum standards to teach personal safety to children. She’s a board member of the St. Albert the Great Catholic School in Reno.
Tolles and her husband have two daughters. Her hobbies include running, hiking, fly fishing and spending time with her family,.
ON NEVADA AND THE ISSUES:
What are you most proud of about Nevada? Does anything embarrass you about Nevada?
I am proud of the love of freedom and the pioneer spirit of Nevada. I am also heartened to see the increasing diversification of our economy and efforts to improve education. I look forward to continuing the work on those goals moving forward.
What are your top priorities in the 2017 session?
Education, economy and safety are my top priorities. I plan to introduce legislation to help Nevada-based businesses and small businesses, to examine testing requirements in K-12 education, and to increase penalties for sex trafficking crimes.
Should we raise taxes, and under what circumstances?
I consider myself to be a fiscal conservative which means I will always look for ways to save money and make government as efficient as possible. I supported WC-1, the sales tax increase for school building repairs and construction because it was a proven need, for a specific purpose and it came with accountability and transparency. Nevada has raised revenues significantly in recent years so there is going to be no appetite to raise them again this session.
What might we cut in the budget?
As a freshman legislator, I look forward to examining the budget and learning more about each department. Programs that meet essential needs like education, public safety and services that assist the most vulnerable Nevadans should be prioritized over programs that have been shown to be ineffective or are outside the scope of state government’s role.
How do you plan to diversify Nevada’s economy and create more jobs?
I plan on introducing a bill that gives preference to Nevada-based businesses for state contracts when competing with out of state companies with comparable rates and service.
What should we do next on solar?
I look forward to a robust discussion on energy this session. This is an area where bipartisan collaboration can benefit all Nevadans by allowing free market competition and renewable energy innovation to thrive through distributed generation and retail choice for commercial and residential customers.
What should Nevada’s next step be on the stalled Education Savings Account program?
I bring a unique perspective to this discussion as someone who has advocated for public schools over the years while also serving on a Catholic school board. I have seen firsthand how families can benefit from the ability to choose the best school for their child’s needs. I am anxious to see the governor’s proposal for funding school choice options for families who can benefit the most.
What should Nevada’s minimum wage be?
No change: $7.25 if the employer offers insurance, $8.25 if the employer doesn’t.
Will you work across the aisle, and on what issues?
We are Nevadans first and we were elected to represent all Nevadans in our districts. As one senior legislator pointed out, “95 percent of the issues we deal with are bipartisan in nature.” I will seek to work with my colleagues to find solutions on everything from improving education, seeking fair justice, supporting our diversifying economy and expanding opportunities in energy choice.
From the Editor