Laxalt Says He Will Continue Education Reforms
Adam Laxalt says if elected, he will continue Governor Brian Sandoval's education reforms but they could be funded differently.
Adam Laxalt is considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination in Nevada's gubernatorial race. The attorney general says if elected, he will continue Governor Brian Sandoval's education reforms but they could be funded differently.
"Our schools need improvement and I think our kids deserve a chance at a better education," Laxalt said.
Laxalt is a proponent of charter schools that create more opportunities for vocational training. He says Nevada's education system should reflect its economy.
"There would be great opportunities for kids if we could get our schools more accustomed to trades and vocational training and career and technical," Laxalt said. "It would be great jobs waiting on the other side of school."
Laxalt says his top priority is education, and he says one of the best ways to improve it is by funding Education Savings Accounts and continuing programs like Zoom Schools, Victory Schools, Read by Three and Opportunity Scholarships.
"We need to expand those opportunities because they give children, especially from underprivileged areas, opportunities that they may never get a shot at," Laxalt said.
With national pressure to make schools safer, Laxalt says it is important to harden our schools. He says law enforcement is an important piece.
"One thing you heard from law enforcement all over the state is our ratio right now of law enforcement to schools and students is simply not high enough, so we need to look at that and see whether that can be increased," Laxalt said.
Laxalt had a law enforcement summit to study school safety after the shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school. He says the summit went well and he will have the report in the coming weeks. He opposes changes to gun laws.
"I think that school hardening needs to be a priority," Laxalt said. "The Second Amendment restrictions on law-abiding gun owners would not have prevented that tragedy or the tragedies we've seen over the past few years."
Laxalt opposes the Commerce Tax that passed in the 2015 legislative session to increase funding for education. He says the tax accounts for 2.3 percent of the general fund and less than one percent of overall spending, so the revenue could be made up with marijuana taxes and economic growth.
"Things look strong," Laxalt said. "Things look consistent. So, we can expect revenue growth."
He says he will not cut education funding but says there are other areas where the state can spend money more efficiently.
"I have 400 employees and a statewide budget," Laxalt said. "We've found ways to cut costs, be more efficient and actually deliver more services to the state and I'm sure we can do that across state government."
Laxalt is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and says Governor Sandoval has done a great job for Nevada's veterans. That includes the construction of the Northern Nevada Veterans Home. The attorney general says if he is elected, he wants Nevada to be the most veteran-empowering state in the country.
"Veterans don't want handouts," Laxalt said. "They want the opportunity to be successful and have good jobs and I look forward to being able to do that as governor."
As Nevada's economy grows, so is its population. That is putting pressure on home prices, causing a crisis for affordable housing. Laxalt says he is exploring different ways that could alleviate the housing crunch.
"This is both the blessing and a curse of economic growth and we need to make sure we don't leave all these people behind," Laxalt said.
Laxalt says he wants the economy to continue to grow in a way that is good for Nevadans.
"I think we have the chance to be the most economically competitive state in the American west," Laxalt said. "I love Nevada and I think Nevada's been a land of opportunity for many generations. I want to fight for that Nevada."
Laxalt says many parents don't feel like Nevada's education funding is necessarily making it to the classroom, so he is proposing an "education checkbook," an online tool that would allow people to view where tax money is going.