KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Assembly District 39

Oct 16, 2020

The contest for Assembly District 39 is between incumbent Republican Jim Wheeler, Democratic challenger Deborah Chang and Libertarian Dave Jones. Wheeler is the retired CEO of Powerdyne Automotive Products and has served in the Assembly since 2012. Chang is President & CEO of Business Owner Equity Incites, LLC and Adaptive Appalachia, LLC. Dave Jones currently serves as the Northern Nevada representative for the Libertarian Party of Nevada’s Executive Committee.

The district contains all of Douglas and Storey Counties, along with part of Lyon County.

For information on other races, visit our KUNR 2020 Voter Guide home page.

As a note: All responses in KUNR's 2020 Voter Guide have been submitted by the candidates. KUNR has not changed the answers other than to provide fact-checking as needed, indicated in the text with italics and parentheses.

Credit KUNR

Credit Courtesy of Deborah Chang

Name: Deborah Chang
Occupation: President & CEO of Equity Incites, LLC & Adaptive Appalachia, LLC
Political Affiliation: Democrat 

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for Assembly District 39 because I want to try to bridge the rural-urban divide that’s so polarizing our state and our nation as a whole. I chose to live in my community for the scenic views, the open spaces, the affordable cost of living, and the quieter, more community-based way of life available here. After spending three decades working in different sectors and industries I now want to use my skills to passionately, but respectfully, speak to the needs of rural communities within the urban-dominated Nevada Legislature. I’m running on the responsible community values of hard work, caring for our environment and each another, and most importantly fairness, that all are embedded in the fabric of rural culture.

How would you describe yourself to voters?

I am an openly LGBTQ candidate, author and social purpose entrepreneur who moved to this community because I love it here and believe it has great potential if it opens its doors to entrepreneurs and other pioneers.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing Nevada?

For me the rural-urban divide that sets citizens from these two types of communities against each other is one of the biggest challenges facing Nevada. As a result of this divide, it becomes more challenging to ensure that the legislature can adequately, fairly and responsibly address the educational, health, mental health, criminal justice, income inequality, and environmental needs of our communities.

Is there one particular issue (education, health care, criminal justice reform, etc.) that you consider most important as a candidate? Why?

Health care -- particularly in the middle of a global pandemic -- is the issue I consider most important at this time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on Nevada in countless ways. In your opinion, how would you rate the state’s response to the pandemic thus far?

The governor's response has been responsible, appropriately aggressive and based in science and data. Unfortunately, not everyone in the community, including local representatives (such as in Douglas County) have responded as responsibly.

During the recent 31st Special Session, lawmakers cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget to address a roughly $1.2 billion budget hole created by the pandemic’s economic fallout. That included large cuts to K-12 and higher education, Medicaid and other state services. Do you support the steps taken by the legislature to balance the budget? If not, why?

Given the State's balanced budget requirements and inadequate support coming from the Federal government, the legislature had little flexibility to fill the budget gap. However, I would have liked to have seen more exploration of ways that large and profitable corporations might have been able to contribute more to addressing the budget hole caused by the pandemic. For example, could there have been a way to get the owners of the Raiders to defer or refund some of the $750 million in public funds that had been given to them for their new stadium?

In the 32nd Special Session, Democratic leaders approved a set of resolutions aimed at amending the state constitution to increase taxes on the state’s mining industry. Do you support or oppose those efforts to increase taxes on mining?

I support increasing taxes on the state's mining industry.

For years, Nevada’s K-12 education system has consistently ranked among the lowest in the country. What steps should lawmakers take to improve the state’s public schools for all children?

The business education tax should be increased to increase funding for K-12 education and educators should be given more latitude to determine the best way to educate our students, with less emphasis on national testing programs.

What is one thing you believe voters should know about you?

I’m running on the responsible community values of hard work, caring for our environment and each another, and most importantly fairness that I believe I share with voters in Assembly District 39.

Learn more about Deborah Chang at chang4assembly.org.

Credit KUNR

Name: Dave Jones

Dave Jones has not yet responded to KUNR’s request to participate in this voter guide. We will post the response if it becomes available.

Credit KUNR

Name: Jim Wheeler

Jim Wheeler has not yet responded to KUNR’s request to participate in this voter guide. We will post the response if it becomes available.

For information on other races, visit our KUNR 2020 Voter Guide home page.