Inside a noisy room filled with candidates courting Asian-American voters, Democrat Steve Sisolak’s message drew a passionate response.
Sisolak, a Clark County commissioner who is running for Nevada governor, proposed opening a police station inside Chinatown — a growing Las Vegas retail district that’s been plagued by a spike in criminal activity. His idea drew cheers and applause.
”We know there has been an increase in crime in Chinatown and we need officers who can speak the language,” Sisolak told the crowd of several hundred people who gathered last week at the Desert Breeze Community Center in for a bipartisan candidate forum hosted by the Asian Journal Publications and Nevada Small Business Council.
“We are working hand-in-glove to make sure you have the same level of protection everyone else in the county has,” Sisolak said Tuesday.
As Nevada’s Asian-American and Pacific Islander community grows, politicians and candidates are increasing efforts to court those voters. While most Asian-Americans identify as Democrats, those votes could easily be swayed in a purple state like Nevada.
Sisolak said after the event that Asian-Americans are often “hesitant” to report crime. That’s why a substation in the heart of Chinatown — with bilingual officers — is needed to combat crime and earn the community’s trust.
Chinatown has never had its own substation, and Sisolak said Sheriff Joe Lombardo is supportive of his idea.
After the forum, Sisolak responded to a charge from his GOP opponent, Adam Laxalt, that he will raise taxes, if elected — and that “everything is on the table.”
“I have not advocated raising any taxes. Adam is real good at taking things out of context,” Sisolak said. “I’m advocating working within the revenue structure that we have right now, but new revenue coming in needs to go to provide for a better quality education system.
“He wants to cut education spending,” Sisolak added, referring to Laxalt’s vow to repeal the Commerce Tax. “I want to increase education spending.”
Republican Cresent Hardy and Democrat Steven Horsford, who are both running to represent the 4th Congressional District, also attended the forum.
Horsford said he’ll fight to reduce rising prescription drug costs, improve education and bolster resources for small businesses. Hardy touted the strong economy — crediting President Donald Trump for the upward swing — and asked attendees to vote for him if they want to see it continue.
Hardy vowed to advance Trump’s fiscal policies, though he offered a disclaimer that he doesn’t always agree with the president.
Democrat Susie Lee, who is running in the 3rd Congressional District, also was there, and so was her Republican rival, Danny Tarkanian.
The leading Nevada attorney general candidates — Democrat Aaron Ford and Republican Wes Duncan — also pitched themselves to the crowd.
Ford, the state Senate Majority Leader, said he put himself through college and earned five degrees. He promised to “put Nevada families first” and to ensure everyone is treated equally under the law.
Duncan, an Iraq War veteran, said his mission is to make Nevada “the safest place to raise a family.” He said he’ll be “tough on crime” while devoting resources to mentally ill residents and domestic violence victims.