Sunday, June 7, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Since 2004, it has been my privilege and honor to serve on the Nevada Board of Regents. Prior to filing for office, I changed my registration from nonpartisan to Republican. My experiences on the board during the past 10 years have compelled me to change my party affiliation to Democrat, effective June 2.
When I joined the Republican Party, moderation and compromise had yet to be rejected. The RINO slur was not yet in vogue. Most Nevadans respected Gov. Kenny Guinn and Sen. Bill Raggio, both Republicans, for their willingness to walk across the aisle and pass meaningful legislation and reforms to advance Nevada. Republican candidates weren’t strongly encouraged to sign anti-tax pledges and vilified if they didn’t. Nor were they subject to recalls for simply acknowledging that they may have to raise taxes to fund the needs of the state.
While on the Board of Regents, I have often spoken publicly about needing to raise revenue to adequately fund higher education. I testified against two bills to appoint rather than elect members, have voted repeatedly to increase funding for need-based financial aid and scholarships, and I was the tie-breaking vote for opposing carrying guns on campus. For all that, I was criticized by many in the Republican Party.
Many Republicans fail to see the need and benefits of investing in higher education and to understand that we have a responsibility to help all citizens afford higher education so they can realize the American dream. Many Republicans believe there’s no relationship between funding and student success.
I strongly believe the Democratic Party offers the best opportunity to effect change in the K-12 and higher education system in Nevada. For this reasons I am proud to be a Democrat, and I pledge to always work with both sides to advance Nevada’s common interests.