Candidates for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District shared their views on gun control and health care, and several opened up about being sexually harassed and losing family members, during a forum Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Five Democratic candidates — former U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, Nevada System of Higher Education Regent Allison Stephens, state Sen. Pat Spearman, Sierra Vista High School principal John Anzalone and businesswoman Amy Vilela — also fielded questions about immigration and the #MeToo movement.
The forum, sponsored by NextGen America, was the eighth “Keeping Up with the Candidates” #YouthVote event and the first in Nevada. It was held at Three Square food bank in the northeast valley.
The five candidates said they support tougher gun control measures. Spearman said she is proud to have a “F” rating from the National Rifle Association. A military veteran, she said assault weapons do not belong in the public’s hands.
Vilela said she supports banning bump stocks and assault weapons and opposes arming teachers. Anzalone said a student once told him, “I don’t know if I want to be here anymore,” because of the possibility of a shooting at a Clark County school.
“We are one student away from a Parkland, a Columbine and Santa Fe,” Anzalone said, adding that he supports boosting mental health services for students.
Horsford said he lost his father to gun violence. He supports increasing mental health care, enforcing background checks and banning bump stocks.
”What we have right now is a bunch of cowards in Congress who will not act to do the will of people,” Horsford said.
Stephens said the community needs to bolster mental health care.
Most of the candidates said they support a Medicare-for-all system — except for Anzalone, who said “Medicare is not perfect” and that he wants to make sure it’s working for everyone. Spearman also shared concerns with protecting veterans who may not have access to health care when serving overseas.
Horsford said he supports universal health care and lowering prescription drug costs. Vilela, who lost her daughter in 2015 after she had a blood clot in her lungs, said she supports Medicare for all but that access to health care alone isn’t enough.
Stephens called for more cost transparency in health care and prescription drugs, which she said would help drive down prices.
All candidates said they would have voted against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. All said they support a woman’s right to choose and a single-payer health care.
The candidates all said they would not fund a border wall — one of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises — or additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in exchange for legislation that would protect undocumented immigrants.
Horsford and Spearman called for comprehensive immigration reform, while Vilela said ICE should be abolished. Stephens said she would not do “exchanges to compromise our values.” Anzalone said he’s seen “Dreamers” graduate and would not support a wall.
Asked about how the #MeToo movement has impacted them, Stephens shared a story about a stalker who was released and continues to torment her. Spearman said she endured sexual harassment from a superior in the military and called for prosecuting abusers to “the full extent of the law.”
Vilela said she was molested as a child and believes in restorative justice, while Horsford said there needs to be a culture change and zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Anzalone said his role in the movement is being a good husband and role model to his young children.
Contact Ramona Giwargis at email@example.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargison Twitter.
On the web
To view the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s primary election voter guide, visit reviewjournal.com/voter-guide-2018. Nevada’s primary election is June 12.