Interview conducted November 18, 2013
The Republican: What prompted you to run for the office of Lt. Governor?
Ms. Lowden: I had been thinking about it for a year because I knew that Brian Krolicki was termed out and that it was an open seat. I felt that by background of three decades in the tourism industry and being on the board of Las Vegas Events lends itself to being the chairman of Tourism which by statute is what the lieutenant governor does.
I felt very strongly that I would need no on-the-job training and that from day one I could do that job.
And I also felt that by statute, the lieutenant governor is on the Economic Development Board and I felt that I would be someone [who] would be comfortable with discussing whether or not [a company] wanted to come to Nevada.
I'm someone who has made payroll, someone whose name has been on the front part of the check, someone who has created jobs in the private sector, building and ice arena in Las Vegas, a bowling center, dozens of restaurants and many other things.
I'm someone who raised her children in Nevada which I hear all the time that the women want to know what the education is like before they want to move to Nevada...they want to know about the education system, someone who has been involved in the community from Little League to Opportunity Village to...you name it, I have been very involved in our community.
So I feel I'm someone who companies can talk to as a business person and really get the feel of what it's like to have a business here In Nevada. And I wanted to be able to be on that board and I think I'll add another dimension to that Economic Development Board.
I think also being the President of the Senate is something I could do very well. I've been a State Senator, I've been chairman of a committee, the Taxation Committee, which was renamed the Non-Taxation Committee when I took it over because we didn't let any taxes out when I was overseeing that committee. I've also been elected as majority whip so I know what it's like to have to gather fellow Republicans and make sure their votes are in line and I've had a lot of experience in that regard. I think that I fulfilled the duties of the President of the Senate, basically in control of who gets to have their bills presented and who gets to speak and organizing all of that would be second nature to me. Having been a former anchor woman on TV for so many years, I think that would be second nature to me.
The Republican: As Lt. Governor, you are responsible for the promotion of tourism. What are your plans for further promoting tourism?
Ms. Lowden: I do [have plans]. There are several things that I would like to accomplish if I were the lieutenant governor.
I think we are on the brink of being a destination for medical tourism. I'm a big proponent of having a second medical school in Las Vegas. I do believe it could be supported by the existing doctors who are there and other people who are very interested in seeing this expanded as a tourism base. We look at places like the Cleveland Clinic where everybody goes internationally or the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis. People don't necessarily want to go to those towns, but they go to those towns because of the great...the doctors who are there and that the treatment they receive. The people want to come here to Las Vegas. We have all the...or Nevada I should say, we have all the facilities here; we just don't have the infrastructure for research. And in southern Nevada we have no medical school. I'm a big proponent of seeing that through and I think that someone who is on the Nevada Medical Board, such as me, Jim Gibbons put me on that board before he left office and I've been on the board so I see a big picture here. So you would say, how is that good for Douglas County or how is that good for Washoe County? The doctors who are trained up here are more or less be staying up here because that school will not be affected so it will be an additional school in Clark County which we really need. We really need more doctors down there. So I see medical tourism on the horizon as something that I would be a big proponent of.
I think that we are a natural for the film industry, we Nevada, the whole state. [With} our mountains and our snow and our scenery, the deserts, and yes, the glamor of Las Vegas and the glamor of downtown Reno, but I think we have so much more than this. The Legislature last session made some inroads in getting some tax breaks to the film industry; we'll see if that works. I'm not sure that's the approach; some states have done that already and have walked that back. The tax breaks didn't pencil in the long run. So it's something to watch. It's an interesting concept to see if that will work.
I'm a believer in if we give tax breaks, we should be giving them to all companies. Why would we pin point one company over another company. Having said that, let's see if this works. We have an aggressive group right now trying to court companies, movie companies, to move to Cashman-Seales which is being converted to more of an office space downtown Las Vegas and that will be interesting to see if that dynamic works to have some movie companies move in. We are certainly a much better tax climate for that industry to call Nevada home than what's happening in California. So I would be a big proponent of doing that and doing everything we can to encourage that.
Former Lieutenant Governor Lorain Hunt started that some years back; that's her background, entertainment is her background, so she's a big proponent. I would draw her back into it to see what she could add to it. I would march forward with that. I also think that I would spend a lot of time in California going to conferences and conventions and such where you have companies who are on the brink of moving somewhere and why wouldn't they be moving here. I think we should be very aggressive. We don't have to go any further than California.
You know we are doing a lot of exotic traveling in China and other places, but for the purposes of economic development. We don't have to look any further than California to whet their appetite to show what Nevada can do for them here. It's very interesting that the mine people, I've been on a couple of mine tours recently. Over the years I've been on many, many, but recently I reconnected with them and they were saying that they have all this infrastructure they lay down: wires, water, roads. What they do is perfect for economic development in those mining areas. They bring the infrastructure in. All you have to do is bring another company or two in; manufacturing even. They have already laid the groundwork. I'm surprised that no one has ever thought about that, about doing that because it seems like a natural once you've laid down the infrastructure. So, I think we have a lot of things to look forward to. I think Nevada is in its infancy. Gaming is global now. It's not like we're the only ones. We've got to be really looking for what other companies are going to be moving here and we've got to be aggressive about it.
The Republican: As Lt. Governor, you would be elevated to the office governor should that seat become vacant. The following questions are posed to you as if were on that seat.
The Republican: Over the years, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution has been diluted by the Federal Government with the doling out of money as a way to control behavior. What would you do as Governor to strengthen Nevada's right under the 10th Amendment to be free from undue influence by Washington?
Ms. Lowden: Well for one thing, I wouldn't have taken the money to implement ObamaCare here in Nevada, the largest expansion of Medicaid in the history of Nevada. Nice to be able to dangle some money for a while, but that is our money too, even though it's federal money, it' still our tax dollars. I would have joined with other governors and not voted for that, not implemented that. I would have, if I'm ever governor, take another look at Common Core. I think that that is another area in our education system that more and more people are seeing it as the "dumbing" down of our education system, and again federal government brought some money in and said if you implement this program, this new idea of what they think is good for children, we'll give you federal dollars. And I where; there are other states that are pushing back from that. I see a ground swell from Nevada of people who are just fed up with the "dumbing" down of our education. So there are two examples of [colloquial] the federal government comes in with money, but there's all of these attachments. You've really got to be smart about deciding what's good for Nevada, long term, and what's not.
The Republican: Would you turn down money?
Ms. Lowden: I would turn down money that's not good for Nevada, I mean, money is still our money; it's still our tax dollars. It would depend, you know that's a broad question, I would depend really on what you were talking about.
The Republican: During the past session of the Legislature, there were many bills brought that related to the protection of 2nd Amendment rights. One of the most controversial of those, known as the Campus Carry, and it died in committee despite the testimony of rape survivor, Amanda Collins. If you were governor, would you sign or veto such a bill and why?
Ms. Lowden: When I'm lieutenant governor I intend to do everything I can to get that bill passed. I am someone who has a concealed weapon license and someone who knows Amanda Collins and has a personal relationship with her and [I] know that she had her own concealed weapon license; her gun was in the car. She was being raped by someone who didn't obey the law and had a gun to her head as she was being raped. I'm very passionate about this bill and I not only sign it into law, but [also] would be a proponent of it. I'd also like to mention that my opponent in this race that I am running for Lieutenant governor, would not co-sign the bill. He is not a co-signer of the bill; I think that is a big distinction between the two of us.
The Republican: The two previous Nevada Legislatures extended the "Sunset" taxes, the 620 million dollars. If you were governor, would you sign that legislation or veto it and why?
Ms. Lowden: Well it's really the governor who put it into the budget and if were governor, I would not even consider that part of the entire budget; I wouldn't put that in, in the first place.
Secondly, as lieutenant governor, and again I will mention that my opponent vote for that both times; he voted for it: extending those sunsets. I know that when I have a debate someone's going to ask me, well how would you have balanced the budget then without the 620-plus millions of dollars. By the time I am asked that, I will have a plan for my own budget and what I would have eliminated or not fully implemented. In other words, I have a plan to show how the budget can be put together without all those other taxes, all those additional taxes.
I'm a business owner and those hurt our business. They actually hurt our business and here we are still on of the highest unemployment states in the country, 9.5%, and in some counties like Lyon County it's almost 15%. When you hurt business, you hurt the economy because we're not hiring anybody new and that's what those extra taxes did for us; they hurt our business.
The Republican: Nevada's constitution is unique in that it was sent to Washington by way of telegraph; all 16,000 + words in 1864. It is also unique because it contains verbiage singling out one industry for what seems special consideration regarding taxation. A referendum will be on the 2014 ballot to remove this special consideration. Assuming you were at the ballot box today, how would you vote on this referendum?
Ms. Lowden: I assume you're talking about the mining tax. I would...I am going to be voting against it and because I think that those in Clark County need to be educated on mining. I have done my best to give out...those from the industry that want to speak in Clark County, to Rotary, to Kiwanis, to the Men's Club, etc. I think that we need to take this next year and educate, especially Clark County Republicans, on the importance of mining in our rural communities and what it means for Nevada. So I'll be voting "no" on that and I'm doing everything in my power to educate...I'm saying Clark County mostly because we don't have any mining down there per se. I think that there needs to be an education, an ongoing education in the next year to let them know how deeply this could hurt our number one industry in some counties.
The Republican: When ratified, the Constitution provided that two senators be appoint by their state legislature. That changed in 1913 with the ratification of the seventeenth amendment and provided for those seats to be filled by popular election. Mark Levin, in his book, "The Liberty Amendments", suggests that we repeal the seventeenth amendment and return to appointment by the legislature. Would you support Levin's position, if not why not?
Ms. Lowden: I would absolutely support it. I supported term limits, for instance, when I was in the State Senate. If we had term limits in the United State Senate we wouldn't have this problem right now. I don't know why the senators wouldn't want it shown in good faith to the American public that this would be a good idea for our country. Instead we have Harry Reid, the Harry Reid's of our country who are there over and over again and have a tremendous amount of money to be re-elected. Yes, I think people are really fed up with bad people in government. If that's a way to change things up in Washington, I would be all for it and do whatever we [need] to do it., but I think term limits is an easier way to do it if there was some way to get that on.
The Republican: The sitting president has issued over 923 executive orders in five and a half years, many of them severely restricting liberties and freedoms in case of an "emergency situation". If the president through yet another executive order, require that all guns should be turned in, would you as the governor do to carry out that order?
Ms. Lowden: I want to be clear that I understand the question. If the President of the United States told me, if I were governor, that by executive order we had to turn our guns in then I would not enforce that. I would remind him of the 10th Amendment, and I would remind him of the Constitution allowing everybody to bear arms. Our own Nevada Constitution has even stronger language than our own United States Constitution. I think there would be a big rebellion in our state if he were ever try to enforce that on a national level; it just wouldn't happen. No one is ever going to take away my guns or anybody else's gun.
The Republican: This is from the 2012 Nevada Republican State Platform. "We believe the residents of the State of Nevada are not under-taxed and that state government is not under-funded, and our current budget crisis is the result of years of overspending. We oppose raising taxes or fees of any kind to fund the current budget shortfall. We do not believe government can tax the state or the residents into prosperity."
Given that statement, should you become the Governor and the legislature passed a bill to extend the $620 million in taxes, would you sign it or veto it and why?
Ms. Lowden: It would not be in my budget in the first place. You're saying if I'm governor, it would not be in my budget in the first place. I agree that there...we are overtaxed and there is no reason for more taxes. You've got to live within your limits.
The Republican: The Nevada Republican Party is splintered right now with one side "going along to get along" and on the other, more conservative are not willing to sacrifice core beliefs in order to achieve compromise. What can you do as Lt. Governor or Governor to bring the party back to a state of unity?
Ms. Lowden: I think I am in the unique position of being someone who is very familiar with the grass roots having been former chairman of the Party, having been involved with our Party for more than thirty years; everything form licking envelopes to walking door to door in one hundred degree weather, to being a precinct captain, to being a site manager to you name it, I've done it. I think I am in the unique position to understand the grass roots and to know who the "establishment" are. To be able to talk to donors and other people who are so-called "establishment". I would do everything could do, as I'm doing now, frankly, as a candidate to bring people together for my campaign because I need everybody, I need grass roots, but I also need some establishment people. I need people who are willing to finance my campaign. Certainly the governor should be the head of the party and should be wrapping her arms around the Party. As lieutenant governor I would do that and bring everybody together. Certainly as governor I would absolutely take control of the Party.
Lt. Gov. Candidate Mark Hutchison's Interview