weather icon Clear

Nevada governor candidates speak at Las Vegas forum

A forum featuring three of Nevada’s gubernatorial candidates covered several topics Tuesday night in Las Vegas, but it did little to move the needle for some voters.

“They all said the same thing,” said Cheryl Rosenzweig, a physical therapist who has lived in Nevada for 21 years. “It was hard to distinguish between them, and I’m not really sure what the difference is.”

The three candidates were Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak — both Democrats — and Republican state Treasurer Dan Schwartz. Another prominent Republican candidate, Attorney General Adam Laxalt, did not attend because of scheduling conflicts, organizers said.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Nevadans for the Common Good hosted the hourlong forum at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. The event focused on five policy areas: housing and homelessness, health care, public education, public transportation and immigration.

On health care, all the candidates said they would maintain current Medicaid benefits in Nevada and fight efforts to roll back coverage. Giunchigliani said she also supports universal health care.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege,” she told the crowd of nearly 600. “I will fight Trump and anybody trying to roll back the (Affordable Care Act). We need to move toward universal health care, and I plan on doing that as governor.”

The candidates were asked if they would ensure tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales goes to public education. The question opened a can of worms about the controversial Raiders stadium planned near the south Strip.

All three candidates said they support ensuring the money goes toward education, but Schwartz pointed to the stadium — supported by Sisolak — as an example of wasted tax dollars that could be used to improve schools.

“We are not near the bottom. We are at the bottom of this country’s schools,” Schwartz said. “Why are we spending $750 million to build a football stadium?”

Sisolak fired back, saying the stadium is expected to bring 45,000 new jobs and $35 million in annual tax revenue to the state.

“That could go for education or other purposes,” Sisolak said. “It’s a win-win for everyone that’s involved.”

All three candidates said they support improving transportation services in Nevada, though Schwartz argued that a new source of revenue might be needed, such as raising taxes. He said Nevada is “broke” as a state and “there is no room for expansion.”

On the topic of affordable housing, Schwartz suggested looking for new revenue sources, while Sisolak proposed acquiring federal land and working with homebuilders to sell them the land at a reduced rate. Giunchigliani suggested cutting red tape for developers and streamlining the building process.

The candidates all said they would work to improve public transportation and support immigrants.

Though the candidates’ positions seemed similar, Rosenzweig said, she’s leaning toward Giunchigliani. “I’m in favor of getting more women into public service and public positions,” she said.

There are six Democrats and seven Republicans running for governor. The primary election is June 12.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas woman emerges as national right-to-die advocate

Hanna Olivas, 45, who two years ago was diagnosed with the rare blood cancer multiple myeloma, in recent months has become a vocal advocate for laws to allow patients with terminal illnesses and only months to live to medically end their lives.