Sunday, April 24, 2022 | 2 a.m.
Last month, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s reelection campaign launched a new Latino Advisory Council made up of local leaders, community activists and business experts from across the state to advise the governor on key issues facing the Latino community.
As the Assemblywoman for District 3 and chair of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus, I was honored to be included in this council and asked to serve as its chair.
It’s no secret that Latino Nevadans are a critical constituency. We make up nearly a third of the state’s population, work in every industry, and make countless contributions to the economy.
The governor’s decision to create this council showcases his commitment to building a campaign made of, and made for, all Nevadans.
But he didn’t just start prioritizing the Latino community because it’s an election year. Since taking office, he has shown up for our community by lowering costs for families, making historic investments in education, and ensuring every Latino can scale the economic ladder.
Since 2019, Sisolak has increased access to affordable health care, made protections for pre-existing conditions permanent, and taken steps to lower the costs of prescription drugs. He’s also allocated $500 million to increase housing affordability, $360 million to lower the cost of child care, and $5 million to make community college and more apprenticeship programs free for more Nevadans.
Sisolak also supported Latino workers by raising the minimum wage and protecting our right to unionize.
During his first term, Sisolak funded education at its highest level in state history. He also gave teachers their first raise in over a decade, and is taking steps to replace aging schools and build new ones. As a teacher, I can’t tell you how much these investments support our work and make sure we can retain — and attract new — high-quality educators.
Sisolak remains committed to making sure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed.
He has also prioritized building a stronger, more resilient, diversified and inclusive economy by including Latinos.
I was proud to author many of the important initiatives the governor signed into law during his first term to accomplish this goal, such as removing immigration and citizenship requirements from the occupational and professional licensing processes to support business creation.
Additionally, the Keep Nevada Working Act, signed in 2021, is growing our economy and making it more welcoming. By supporting the economic contributions of immigrants and establishing a task force to find innovative ways to recruit new workers and businesses, the Keep Nevada Working Act will fuel our economic momentum for years to come.
During the pandemic, Sisolak signed “Right to Return” legislation requiring hospitality businesses to rehire workers who were laid off because of the pandemic, and he distributed over $100 million to nearly 9,400 Nevada small businesses (more than half of which were businesses owned by Latinos and other underrepresented groups).
Sisolak’s economic investments in the Latino community have supported Latino entrepreneurs and made sure everyone has an equal chance to participate in our economy — because the strongest economy includes everyone.
As members on the governor’s Latino Advisory Council, we will help the governor build on his progress, meet Nevadans where they are, and continue the conversation on how we can move our state forward.
By working together and prioritizing the voices of Latino Nevadans, we will be able to both deliver results to our families and mobilize the community ahead of November.
Just as labor leader and civil rights activist César Chávez once said:
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. … Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
Sisolak has been a strong advocate for the Latino community during his first term, and I am looking forward to advising him on how to include the “aspirations and needs” of Latino Nevadans to mobilize our community, deliver results on the most important issues, and make sure the governor is reelected to a second term.
Selena Torres represents District 3 in the Nevada Assembly and is chairwoman of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus.