Kelvin Atkinson on New Jobs and Protecting Workers
While our economy is recovering, too many Nevada workers are still unemployed or underemployed, struggling to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Nowhere is that more evident than in District 4, which was hit particularly hard by the recession.
I was proud to cast my vote in a special session last December for legislation to bring thousands of new jobs to Nevada. But that should only be the beginning of our efforts going forward. As we continue to work to attract new industries to our state, we must make sure that new jobs go to Nevada workers and that Nevada businesses benefit.
That means making sure Nevadans are prepared to fill the new jobs coming here, with vocational education in our schools, re-training opportunities at our community colleges and on-the-job training. I have always been a champion of apprenticeship programs, and I will be re-introducing legislation I sponsored in 2015 to strengthen our apprenticeship programs; that bill (SB 371) passed the Senate with no opposition, but was blocked by Assembly Republicans.
We must also do more to protect Nevadans in their workplace. I am a strong advocate of raising Nevada’s minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and creating an earned sick leave program so workers do not have to fear losing their jobs when they or family members become ill.
Kelvin Atkinson on Education Opportunity for All
Those of you who know me know that my daughter is the light of my life. Haley is thriving at UNR, a product of the Clark County school system, and I couldn’t possibly be any prouder of her.
My involvement in my daughter’s education is the reason I am so passionate about making sure every Nevada student has the best possible education to help him or her succeed in life. Nothing is more important to our students, and nothing is more important for the future of our state’s economy.
We made strides in the last legislative session, and I was a strong supporter of new funding to help us invest more in our schools—in early childhood education, full-day kindergarten, programs to help English language learners, struggling students and gifted and talented…and much more. I co-sponsored legislation to expand “Zoom schools” to better assist our students struggling with English as their second language.
But there is still so much more to do.
- We cannot rest until we have a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. We have a serious teacher shortage problem in Nevada, especially in our at-risk schools.
- We must continue to work to reduce class sizes so all students can get the attention they need to learn.
- We need a rigorous curriculum to prepare students for today’s new jobs, including well-funded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.
- We need to continue to expand our English Language Learner programs.
Kelvin Atkinson - Looking out for our Senior Citizens
Because I was raised by my grandparents, it is especially important to me that we do all we can to ensure our senior citizens can enjoy their retirement years with dignity and economic security. Too many older Nevadans in our area are struggling—facing health problems, barely making ends meet, some raising grandchildren or helping take care of other family members.
Last session, we took several important steps to help our senior citizens that I was proud to support.
*The Nevada Care Act allows hospital patients to designate a caregiver who gets instruction on the care the patient will need at home. (SB 177)
*Addressing a serious problem in our state, we passed legislation to better protect seniors from financial abuse by appointed guardians—an effort that is ongoing. (AB 325)
*We also strengthened laws on the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment of older persons. (AB 223)
There is much more that needs to be done, however:
· We need better training and education of our health care professionals in screening, diagnosis, and treatment of behavioral and cognitive disease prevalent in older adults.
· We must continue to work to find ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. I will continue to push for legislation to protect seniors-and all Nevadans-from exorbitant drug prices.
· We need continued efforts to protect retirement savings and pensions.
· We must continue to find ways to ensure our seniors can stay in their homes for as long as possible.
Blueprint for the Future
Visit www.nevadablueprint.com to learn more about the issues I will be fighting for in the next legislative session.