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Legislative Watch

Debbie Smith

 Debbie Smith

District: Washoe No. 30
Political Party: Democrat
Current Job/Position: Benefits Representative
Born: 1956
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Family: Husband Greg Smith; children, Olivia and David Bouch, Ian Smith, Erin Smith
Education:
Interviewed By: Lea Moser
Interview Date: 6/6/2008

Debbie Smith represents the Nevada State Assembly for the 30th District.  She has been a member of the Assembly from 2000 – 2002 and then went on to be re-elected in2004 to present.  She was also the past president of the Nevada PTA.



Q & A

Q - HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE?

“I’ve been active and volunteered in organizations.  When my children got into school I became active in their schools and activities, and PTA, and I met a lot of people that way.”



Q - WHAT OTHER JOBS DID YOU HAVE LEADING UP TO WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?
“A long time ago I was a school board member of Lander County, I was on the PTA board… I chaired the academic counsel, and I also worked as Union Trust Fund Coordinator.”

Q - DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW?

“No, I don’t think so; I never envisioned I would run for office.  It was a transition from the PTA, and during that time my legislator got ill and passed away, and then there was an open seat and I was pushed to run.”



Q - WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR YOUR CAREER OR PERSONALLY?

“Well, personally I’m getting close to retirement age and would like to do some traveling and spending time with my husband.  As a full time Legislator, you don’t get to see your family as much, so my husband and I are looking forward to that, but I would like to continue serving until I am term limited.”


Assemblywoman Smith discussed term limits and believes since the voters approved it, it is what we have to accept and it is what they want.  The voters want it, and she respects that.



Q - WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTERESTS?

“I like to scrapbook and read.  My favorite book is called One True Thing, about how mothers love.  I like to be outdoors and hike, we live in the Wedekind foothills in Sparks and hike around there, and a couple years ago we hiked up Boundary Peak.  It was a huge thing for me knowing it’s Nevada’s highest peak, it was a little bit dangerous.”



Q - WHAT UNUSUAL EVENTS HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN, OR UNUSUAL OR MEMORABLE PEOPLE HAVE YOU MET?

“Probably the marathon I walked was memorable and unusual because I never thought of myself as athletic. We went to San Diego and did the rock and roll marathon, which was 26 miles… I’m 52, and you start thinking about staying in good shape, the run really instilled the idea of getting in good shape, and whenever I travel I spend a lot of time on foot.“



Q - HOW DID YOU BECOME SUCCESFUL AT WHAT YOU DO?

“I work hard, and I have a very open mind and work with people from all different points of view. I’m considerate and welcome all different kinds of people in my life.  I also try to do my research on the issues we are concerned with.”



Q - WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CAUSES?

“I am involved with the Angel Kiss Foundation, an organization for kids with cancer, and it gives cash for families for bills and such because they usually have to travel and loose job income.  I’m also invested in education and the PTA.”



Q - WHO OR WHAT ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS?

“My family inspires me, they have always been supportive of me, and we talk to each other about important issues and what’s going on in the world… my brothers and sisters have always encouraged me.  My entire family is an inspiration to me.”



Q - WHAT ARE YOUR LEGISLATIVE GOALS NEXT SESSION?

“Well, I think we are going to have some challenges in the budget to find ways to set our legislative priorities and find places where we can save money, especially finding money for education.  I would like to work with my colleagues and find some solutions there.  We are going to need a lot of staff study going on where we look at tax maintenance and different kinds of incentives where we have gone too far.  We just recently found that a lot of businesses haven’t been paying their business tax, and we need that money, so I am working to get that money, and find places where we have let things slip.”

Assemblywoman Smith worked on AB 621, which was the Green Building Bill, which reduces the amount of property and land use tax abatements for the construction of buildings designed in accordance with LEED standards.  The tax abatements were provided in a law passed in 2005; however, initial state estimates for lost revenues was seriously underestimated and legislators sought to revise the tax incentive structures to address the state’s budget constraints.



Q - WHAT ISSUES FACING NEVADA IN 2008 DO YOU THINK ARE MOST IMPORTANT?

“Well, we have what appears to be an excess of $5 billion shortfall for transportation.  That’s a huge problem, so that’s one of the most important.”

“Also education funding, Nevada is in the bottom third.  We have a No Child Left Behind deadline coming in 2013 or 2014 and we are cutting the budget?  Kids need to pass these tests.”



Q - ON WHAT ISSUE WILL YOU NOT BUDGE?
“Um…I would say that any issue that takes away from K12 education funding.  We cannot keep taking away from education, we need to be building it up and doing better.”

Did you Know?

·        Assemblywoman Smith was involved with getting the funding of the 211 – telephone line, which is the line where you can find resources.

·        Assemblywoman Smith is a grandmother of two granddaughters; the oldest graduates from kindergarten this year, their names are Emma and Aanika.

·        Assemblywoman Smith is the Assistant Majority Whip in the Nevada State Assembly from 2007.



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