Incumbent District 36 Assemblyman James Oscarson said he wants to continue to move Nevada forward as the Pahrump resident seeks his third term.
In an interview with the Pahrump Valley Times, Oscarson said that he wants to continue bringing businesses to the state, support health care, which includes telehealth and community paramedicine, similar to what is planned for the Nye Regional Medical Center in Tonopah.
“All those things are very important to rural Nevada,” the Republican lawmaker said.
“I’m not anything more than just a facilitator for services that the state needs and I represent what I believe are the majority of the voters in this Assembly District to move the state forward and to move the counties that I represent forward,” he added.
Oscarson announced his bid for re-election to a third term in the Nevada State Assembly in November 2015. He was first elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 2012 and represents Nye and Lincoln counties and portions of Clark County.
In 2015, Oscarson was part of the majority of the Nevada Legislature that overwhelmingly voted for a $1.1 billion of extended and new taxes that represented one of the largest tax packages in state’s history. The bill was meant to support Gov. Brian Sandoval’s statewide education plans.
Oscarson was repeatedly criticized for supporting the initiatives by some in his district. In an interview, he said that he still stands by his vote.
“We were faced with some shortages, and it was a way to balance out what we needed to do. And much of the criticism is unfortunately not thought-out very well because businesses came and asked for those kinds of reforms simply because they were not able to bring people to the state of Nevada to work,” he said.
In October 2015, a group called “RIP Commerce Tax” that was spearheaded by Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht, filed a referendum petition with the Secretary of State to repeal a new commerce tax that puts a levy on businesses that gross $4 million or more annually. The commerce tax was part of the package.
Oscarson however argued that the tax package was “necessary” to move the education system forward in the state.
“I still believe it’s the most comprehensive package that we could have offered. It’s broad-based. It picks up businesses that haven’t been paying in the past. We so long depended on mining and gaming for our tax revenue. This goes across the board,” he said.
Oscarson said he has no intention of lowering the cap or hiking the current rates. The package would have passed without his vote, he added.
“I don’t like taxes any better than anybody else. But when you are forced with some decisions that you have to make to move the state forward and you are bringing great big companies to the state of Nevada, you have to have an education system that’s viable for them to look at,” he said.
Oscarson picked up endorsements from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison. The Oscarson campaign has put campaign signs throughout his district. Some were planted along Highway 160 in Pahrump.
“I have a tremendous amount of support from people. I believe that there’s a sentiment in the community that we are going to move the state forward and we are going to move this county forward. Because when the state moves forward, I believe the counties do as well,” he said.
Oscarson will be on the June 14 Republican primary ballot against Rusty Stanberry, a business analyst at Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas, and Pahrump resident and former Las Vegas broadcaster Tina Trenner. Early voting begins May 28. The winner will face brothel owner Dennis Hof in the general election Nov. 8.