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Democratic lieutenant governor candidate wants to be watchdog

Lucy Flores, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, has been brutally honest in her campaign speeches, relating her hard-luck story as one of 13 children of a father who was a mariachi singer and a mother who left the family when she was 9. Flores had two older brothers killed in gang violence and ended up on juvenile parole herself at 15 and a high school dropout at 17.

In an interview published by MSNBC, she admitted testifying for a bill expanding school health programs, stating her six sisters were all pregnant in their teens and she herself had an abortion at 16.

Flores turned her life around, received her General Education Development Diploma and later a scholarship to the University of Southern California where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and was an Unruh Institute of Politics scholar. She received her law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Flores works for the law firm of Maddox, Isaacson and Cisneros.

In 2010 Flores was elected to the Nevada Assembly, joining three other women to become the first Hispanic women serving in the Nevada Legislature. She was promoted to assistant majority whip in 2013 and vice-chair of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus.

In the June Democratic primary, Flores won 71.47 percent of the vote, none of the above finished second, with 15.73 percent and Pahrump town board member Harley Kulkin finished last with 12.8 percent of the vote.

Q: The lieutenant governor is involved in economic development. What do you think about the proposed $1.3 billion in incentives proposed for the Tesla plant near Reno?

A: As a legislator I think it’s important to ensure that one, Nevada is getting the best deal possible, that there’s transparency in the process and there’s some accountability in it so that the return on investment is benefiting Nevadans, that the plan in itself is reasonable and fair.

It appears on the initial look that’s what it does.

Q: Given the duties of a lieutenant governor how different would a Democrat in that position be from a Republican?

A: One of the important characteristics of this job is that it’s independent. It’s separate from the governor.

I think it’s important to have accountability. It’s important to have someone there who serves almost in a watchdog role and, of course, be a partner with not only the governor but with the Legislature as well and the legislative leaders and to try to work together as best as possible to actually accomplish things for Nevadans but at the same time to not just be someone who is going to be a rubber stamp, who isn’t going to question things that are going on, to advocate in a different way and with a different perspective, which is what I bring to the office.

Q: Did the possibility of moving up to the governor’s office if Gov. Brian Sandoval runs for U.S. Senate and wins in 2016 influence your decision to run for lieutenant governor?

A: Oh no not at all. When I looked at this I thought to myself how can I continue to do the work I’m doing whether that’s focusing on trying to improve education in Nevada, creating employment opportunities, just strengthening Nevada as a whole in a more expanded way.

That was the first thing I asked myself when I was looking at the lieutenant governor’s office or quite frankly any of the other offices that were becoming available and the lieutenant governor’s office was very attractive to me because it’s a role in which you can be very flexible and very creative and think outside the box and just be an active and engaged lieutenant governor with not a whole lot of limits on what you can do.

That’s what attracted me to the job and then all this other stuff started to happen.

Q: What were your accomplishments as a state legislator?

A: First and foremost if you look at education, I revamped the entire way that we exit our kids out of high school, we went from a high-stakes testing to a lower stakes end, of course, model, which is a model that works for our kids and isn’t focused on working for the adults.

Around domestic violence, we have one of the most comprehensive domestic violence prevention laws now. That was one of my bills, the Safe Getaway Law, which allows domestic violence victims to terminate their rental agreement early so they can flee their abuser.

When it comes to consumer protection we have one of the most comprehensive consumer protection laws I should say that targets the paralegals and people who were targeting our vulnerable communities with fake legal services and unauthorized legal services and really hurting our senior citizen community and our vulnerable communities in Nevada and now we have a regulatory system to ensure there’s accountability there as well.

The work I’ve done in strengthening our economic development opportunities at the local level, it’s really been a broad range of experience and that’s the kind of experience I’m bringing to the lieutenant governor’s office.

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