I wanted to make sure you were among the first to know that I am running for Attorney General of Nevada. In the last few years, the Attorney General’s office in Nevada has become a vehicle to promote partisan politics and advance an extreme, ideological agenda that is far outside the mainstream. Nevadans deserve better from their top law enforcement officer. I will be an Attorney General who always puts your families first.
Our country is facing a more uncertain political climate than we’ve seen in decades. Partisan polarization has created an environment that lacks civil discourse and amplifies divisions. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have an Attorney General who will put politics aside and focus on using all the legal tools necessary to protect Nevada’s families -- many of whom rightly feel like the system is rigged against them.
When I was a kid, the dream of going to college or buying a home seemed out of reach. My father Larry was a produce worker at a Safeway grocery store until the chain withdrew from Texas in the mid-1980s. My mother Denise worked various jobs throughout my childhood. Our family spent many nights wondering if the gas, electricity and water would turn on the next day. I didn’t understand how we could all be working so hard, yet couldn’t seem to get ahead.
When my parents divorced, my mom told me I would have to be the “man of the house,” which required me to look after my siblings and make sure our house was in order while she worked nights. Despite these added responsibilities, she insisted that I never fall back on my studies and always keep my “head in the books!”
I might not have realized my full potential, but I had a mom whose dreams for me expanded beyond the neighborhood block I grew up on. She signed me up for “Project Upward Bound,” a Saturday-school and summer program dedicated to helping students who could be the first in their family to graduate from college. With encouragement and guidance, I received a scholarship to Texas A&M University, and ultimately became the first in my family to graduate from college.
After graduating, I moved to Austin, Texas, with my wife Berna and our son Avery, where I worked as a middle school math teacher while Berna finished her law degree. A year later, we moved to Washington, D.C., so that I could continue my education at George Washington University, where I worked as a high school teacher while earning a master’s degree in international education.
My mother’s constant reminder to keep my “head in the books” must have really worked, because our next journey as a family took us to Columbus, Ohio, where I pursued and received a master’s degree in educational administration, a law degree and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The Ohio State University.
To provide for our family during that time, I held five jobs: teaching high school math; waiting tables at Outback Steakhouse; working at a local law firm; and performing research for two different professors. Berna held four jobs of her own. She clerked for a judge, sold clothes at Marshall Field's, served as a mediator and edited articles for a legal publication. Berna and I reflect on these days often, because they taught us so much about hard work and perseverance.
It could have been easy for a kid like me in the neighborhood I grew up in to fall through the cracks, to become just another statistic. The commitment of my mother, the endless support of my wife, and programs like “Project Upward Bound” helped me manage to seize opportunities that came my way. It also made me realize the importance of having champions in my corner.
Across our state, there are Nevadans who are struggling to pay the bills, trying to juggle work while raising a family, battling addiction, growing up in unsafe neighborhoods, or being taken advantage of by unscrupulous scammers and lenders. These Nevadans deserve a champion in their corner too -- someone who will finally stick up for them. That’s why I became a legislator in the first place, and that’s why I’m running for Attorney General.
My mom taught me there is no challenge too big that can’t be overcome through hard work and a commitment to doing what’s right. It’s that same attitude that we need guiding our Attorney General’s office. There is no criminal too ruthless and no corporation too powerful that I won’t take on if they are hurting Nevadans.
You’ll be able to rely on me to uphold the rule of law and act as the last line of defense against anyone who tries to take an unconstitutional action or threaten the principles and rights of Nevadans.
As a state Senator, I fought to protect Nevadans and help them keep the money they worked hard for and earned. I pushed to pass paid sick leave, cracked down on payday lenders, and passed the strongest pharmaceutical transparency bill in the nation. I helped lead the effort to bring rooftop solar energy back to Nevada, which has already created countless good-paying jobs across our state.
I’ve also worked to reform our justice system by being both tough and smart on crime. I believe Nevada’s Attorney General should take the same approach -- focusing on going after violent criminals and drug dealers, supporting victims of crime, reducing recidivism and improving mental health and substance abuse programs. I will also ensure that our justice system is efficient and effective by increasing transparency and analyzing data to see what’s working and what’s not.
To the brave law enforcement officers and first responders keeping Nevada safe: I will fight to ensure you have the resources necessary to combat crime and the protections in place to stay safe on the job. In Carson City, I worked to increase penalties for criminals who attack our law enforcement officers, because anyone who targets those who put their lives on the line to protect our communities should be punished to the full extent of the law.
As Attorney General, I’ll keep Nevadans safe and work to help strengthen the middle class by standing up to anyone who tries to take advantage of them. I’ll take on scammers who rip off our seniors, insurance companies who deny care, polluters who poison our air and water, and criminals and drug dealers who prey on our families. I’ll also fight for vulnerable communities who are being targeted by the federal government, including the 13,000 DACA recipients living and working in Nevada. I will be the people’s Attorney General.
Critics will look at my goals and claim it can’t be done. My promise to you is that I will never forget the lessons I learned as a kid: there is no goal too lofty, no challenge too big, no mountain too high if we are committed to doing what’s right.
Over the course of this campaign, I will be traveling across the state to listen to my fellow Nevadans, hear your concerns and develop comprehensive solutions that are right for your community. I look forward to our conversations, and to earning your support.
All my best,