Even though Nevada has never elected a female governor, women are steadily gaining political power from the U.S. Senate—where our senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, will hopefully soon be joined by Rep. Jacky Rosen—to Reno’s mayoral seat where Hillary Schieve is a lock for re-election.
Nevada’s women instinctively understand the political maxim, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” Nevada currently has a high percentage of women in state legislative office, ranking third in the nation at 38.1 percent, and we could become the first state to have a majority female Legislature in 2019. More Democratic women are running in legislative districts this year, motivated by the #MeToo movement and a president who demeans women by calling them derogatory names like “Horseface.” They want an ethical and effective state government focused more on supporting healthy families than subsidizing corporations.
One is Tina Davis-Hersey, running for the state Senate in district 16 against incumbent Republican Ben Kieckhefer. Davis-Hersey is a mother, a natural resources professional and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She’s concerned about Nevada’s tax giveaways to businesses as the state “struggles to fund education and deal with homelessness, new infrastructure issues, housing affordability and accessibility to health care.” She’s tired of Kieckhefer’s many conflicts of interest associated with his job at a law firm that represents clients who depend on the Legislature’s largess, and his tendency to avoid abstaining from voting for their concerns. If you’re ready for fresh leadership in district 16, Davis-Hersey is your candidate.
In Assembly district 26, June Joseph is running against incumbent Lisa Krasner, known for casting the lone “no” vote in the Assembly against assisting poor families in accessing diapers. She also voted against women’s equality. Joseph has lived in the district since 1994 and is an advocate to end domestic and sexual violence, volunteering her time as a board member for Tahoe Safe Alliance. She wants to improve education and work on health care access, especially for mental health and addiction services.
Northern Nevada rural legislative districts also have progressive women running this cycle. Assembly district 32 voters can choose Democrat Patty Povilaitis over Republican Alexis Hansen. In district 40, Democratic activist Autumn Zemke would bring energy and enthusiasm to her advocacy for thousands of state workers living in the district, representing them much more effectively than incumbent Republican Al Kramer. Senior and retiree activist Wendy Boszak is running in Senate district 14, logging a ton of campaign miles in rural Nevada, introducing herself as a progressive alternative to Assemblyman Ira Hansen.
In Washoe County, Sen. Julia Ratti is the clear choice in Senate district 13, effectively representing inner city residents in Reno and Sparks. Ratti opposed the Raiders Stadium boondoggle and has spearheaded initiatives to address affordable housing and increased access to women’s health care.
Washoe County Commission races offer two smart, committed candidates. The re-election of Commissioner Kitty Jung will ensure a continued strong voice for working families and health and human services, while Lindsy Judd is poised to greatly improve representation of the north valleys should she prevail in commission district 5.
In county-wide races, Kalie Work deserves a chance to show us what she can do as county recorder. Verita Black Prothro will make a fine public administrator, emphasizing the protection of seniors and other vulnerable populations from exploitation. She has already demonstrated uncommon grace in rising above the vile and racist defacement of her campaign signs.
Progressive voters should choose Judge Dixie Grossman for Family Court judge, and Justice Lidia Stiglich and Judge Elissa Cadish for the two competitive Supreme Court seats. Each has an impressive track record as a judicial leader and can be counted on to work hard and judge fairly. After all, they’re women.