Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2019

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Nevada Wonk

Leading mayoral candidates unaware of details of DREAM Act, domestic partnerships

Several of the leading candidates for Las Vegas mayor have come under fire this week for their surprising lack of knowledge about basic current events.

First, at a debate Wednesday night hosted by Si Se Puede, a Democratic Hispanic group, City Councilman Steve Ross was left speechless by a question asking whether he supports the DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for qualifying undocumented young people who were brought to this country as children.

"I don't know enough about that to answer one way or the other," Ross said.

The DREAM Act has dominated headlines for years and is of particular interest in Nevada because of its support and advocacy by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Las Vegas students have protested to advance the measure, and supporters and opponents have written dozens of editorials on the topic.

(At the same event, Ross and Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown also said they would support repealing Nevada's domestic partnership law, which drew the ire of gay rights advocates.)

A day later, former school administrator Carolyn Goodman seemed equally baffled by a question about the DREAM Act.

She told blogger Steve Friess:

"You know, it was something I read about the other day and to be perfectly honest with you I remember reading it. I remember something came across my computer and should I do this and could I participate and I couldn’t because we had another event. And I thought, this issue, it’s an embryonic something and it’s something that just started and it needs addressing and exploration."

At a mayoral debate two weeks earlier, Goodman touted her work in the Hispanic community, saying she created a mandatory Spanish language program at the private Meadows School she founded and campaigned at Cardenas market, and declared: “I am totally 100 percent with anybody who is Latino.”

As for domestic partnerships, Goodman suggested that same-sex couples form a legal contract between themselves to split assets 50-50 rather than fight for marriage rights.

"All I would say is why a legal binding contract wouldn’t work for a couple," she told Friess.

When he pointed out that the survivor would not get Social Security or pension benefits because the couple's contract would not be recognized by the federal government, Goodman called those "finite details."

When pressed for a yes or no answer on whether she supports gay marriage, she said: "I cannot answer one way or another at this point because I haven’t spent enough time looking at the whys and wherefores one way or another."

Bradley Mayer, Goodman's campaign director, later told Friess that Goodman supports the state's domestic partnership law and is not in favor of repealing it.

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