Las Vegas Sun

May 24, 2018

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Sisolak pledges to donate governor salary to education groups if elected

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Yvonne Gonzalez / Las Vegas Sun

Gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak pledged on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at the Clark County Education Association offices in Las Vegas that if he’s elected he’ll forgo his salary until Nevada education is “on track.” Sisolak will face fellow Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani in the Democratic primary on June 12.

Nonprofit organizations that help Nevada teachers and students would get a piece of the roughly $149,000 annual salary if voters elect Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak as governor.

Sisolak’s campaign announced Monday that if the Democrat is elected, he’ll donate the governor’s salary until Nevada schools are back “on track.” Sisolak is running in a primary against fellow commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, with the winner of the Democratic ticket running against one of three Republican candidates in the November general election.

Sisolak said that teachers in California make $20,000 more per year than educators in Nevada and that the state cannot attract and retain teachers without competitive compensation.

“I’m committed to putting resources in the classroom so that our teachers can finally get the support that they deserve,” Sisolak said, “because we cannot continue to go year after year ranked at the bottom of every single list.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is termed out of office, receives about $149,000 in salary and more than $36,000 in benefits, according to Transparent Nevada. Sisolak would still receive benefits if elected, according to his campaign. He’d use input from the community and education experts to help determine what specific markers, such as classroom size, the state would need to hit before he’d start taking his salary home.

Monday’s announcement from the Sisolak campaign took place at the offices of the Clark County Education Association teachers union, where Giunchigliani was the former president. The association is endorsing Sisolak over Giunchigliani, who has picked up the support of the Nevada State Education Association. This is another instance of the local chapter association butting heads with its parent organization.

Giunchigliani, a former teacher and legislator, has previously expressed concern about lowering public officials’ wages and supported raising pay for lawmakers in the Legislature.

Giunchigliani campaign manager Eric Hyers said in a statement Monday that public school funding is her top priority. He pointed to Sisolak’s support for public subsidies totaling $750 million for the Las Vegas Raiders stadium.

Sisolak has a background in private business as the owner of a marketing company. He was a member of the state board of regents before he won his seat on the county commission.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt, state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and businessman Jared Fisher are running for governor on the Republican ticket. Both Laxalt and Schwartz have signaled support for ending a tax that helps support education. The tax was approved with bipartisan support in 2015.

Nevada hasn’t had a Democrat in the governor’s office since 1998, and no woman has ever held the seat.

Residents can register to vote for the June 12 primary in person through May 22 and online until May 24. Early voting begins May 26.