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Learn more about what the candidates running for nine races in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County have to say about environmental issues.

2022 Elections: Washoe County Commission District 3 Candidate Surveys on the Environment

Illustration with a KUNR logo and text that says, “Candidate Surveys on the Environment. Washoe County Commission District 3.” There is an implied surface with a pencil, a roll of stickers and a ballot box placed on top of it.
Crystal Willis
KUNR Public Radio

Earlier this year, KUNR Public Radio launched a survey asking community members to share topics or issues they would like to hear about from candidates running in Nevada’s 2022 elections. Many community members voiced concern about climate change and wanted to know how their local politicians would respond to environmental issues. With additional environmental questions collected from a group of University of Nevada, Reno students majoring in a variety of fields, KUNR created a questionnaire for candidates running for nine races in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.

This election cycle, there are two candidates running for the Washoe County Commission seat in District 3:

  • Mariluz Garcia (Democrat)
  • Denise Myer (Republican)

Editor’s notes: Candidates have been listed in alphabetical order by last name. We have provided candidates’ responses to our questionnaire, and each answer had a limit of 1,000 characters, with the exception of a yes or no question. Responses have not been edited for spelling, punctuation or grammar. Candidates’ answers have been fact-checked, and editor’s notes have been provided as needed. Editor’s notes were also added to provide additional context.

Some candidates did not respond to the questionnaire after being reached out to multiple times; however, we will post their responses if they become available. Candidates were also asked to submit a headshot, and these photos were included upon availability.

Mariluz Garcia (D)

Mariluz Garcia is looking toward the camera and smiling.
Courtesy of Mariluz Garcia
Mariluz Garcia, a candidate for Washoe County Commission District 3.

When our region experiences poor air quality from wildfire smoke and high temperatures, how would you assist our community’s more vulnerable populations, including unsheltered individuals and outdoor workers? (We would like to hear your local mitigation ideas.)

I believe that the best line of defense is having strong methods of communication. The Washoe County Communications Department has a variety of ways that it effectively disseminates information to approximately half a million residents and 2,500 county employees. However, I believe that it is important to continue to decrease the technology gap, connectivity issues, and language barriers that many District 3 residents struggle with. As a candidate endorsed by both Fire and Law Enforcement, I will advocate that our first responders have the staffing, upgraded technology, and equipment they need to detect and respond to fires faster. I believe that protecting our elderly and unhoused populations also requires effective communication, targeted resources, and increased opportunities for public private partnerships.

Editor’s notes: A spokesperson for Washoe County confirmed that District 3 has a history of internet outages and that the county is implementing a statewide initiative to bring broadband internet to rural areas of the county.

Garcia is endorsed by the Truckee Meadows Fire Fighters Association, the Reno Firefighters IAFF Local 731, and the Public Safety Alliance of Nevada. The Washoe County website states that there are 2,500+ county employees.

How will you help ensure that we have enough drinking water for the increasing population of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County? And more broadly, what would you do to improve water management and sustainability in our region?

As a Native Nevadan, I understand that effective management of water resources is critical. We need to be able to meet the present needs, but also ensure that this precious natural resource will be available for future generations. The Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) and the Sun Valley General Improvement District (SVGID) ensure that District 3 residents and businesses have safe drinking water from the Truckee River and groundwater sources. County Commissioners have the opportunity to serve on a variety of regional boards to ensure that our residents receive the services that they need, which includes providing some of the best quality water in the country. Water management and sustainability needs to be prioritized as our region grows in population, but as it also grows drier and hotter due to the effects of climate change.

Editor’s note: Research from the University of Nevada, Reno College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources demonstrates that in recent decades, Nevada has witnessed increasing temperatures, extreme droughts, loss of snow and a number of large wildfires as a result of climate change.

Do you believe that human-caused climate change is real? (Yes or no response only.)


What other environmental issues would you like to address for your constituency, and how?

District 3 is a densely populated urban area that includes the heart of Reno, Sparks, Sun Valley, and the Reno/Sparks Indian Colony. The residents of District 3 make it the most diverse of the five districts in Washoe County. Endorsed by the Nevada Conservation League, I will work with the other municipalities to promote initiatives and policies that protect the environment, reduce pollutants, and ensure that historically underserved communities aren't left out of the conversation. The businesses in District 3 are also very diverse including casinos, hospitals, institutions of higher education, manufacturing, and small businesses. I believe that promoting safe and clean neighborhoods, especially in downtown Reno and Sparks, is not only good for the environment, but also drives economic development and job creation.

Editor’s notes: A spokesperson for Washoe County confirmed that District 3 is a densely populated urban area and is the most diverse of the five districts in Washoe County. This is reflected in the county’s 2021 redistricting based on the 2020 Census, which you can view here. You can view the candidates endorsed by the Nevada Conservation League here.

Learn more about Mariluz Garcia at Garciafornevada.com.

Denise Myer (R)

KUNR reached out to this candidate several times, and they acknowledged the questionnaire over the phone but did not submit responses. In a phone call with a KUNR reporter about the survey, Myer said she didn’t think it was the job of a Washoe County Commissioner to address the issues outlined in this survey. We will update this web post with the candidate’s questionnaire responses if they become available.

Click here to view candidate surveys for other Washoe County Commission races, as well as city council and mayor in Reno and Sparks.