Nevada, Democratic Party, Marijuana discussed on Bird Road Podcast - All Points West
We're going to be peppering you with some questions. Are you ready to get pepper? Let'S SPICE IT UP Q. I'm ready to spice it up the first thing I always like to ask. Folks who are running for office is why. Why are you running? Well great question you know. For many many years I helped my mom Gail Sacco and A bunch of community members we Help THE HOMELESS HELP. The poor shared meals with people and You know back in college at UNLV. I got involved with marathon marijuana reform laws and that sort of legislation activism Got Me even more involved with the Democratic Party and when When my mom? Gail Sacco passed last year in August. You know I realize that there's no time like the present and we only have now and twenty twenty with the covert nineteen pandemic with everything that's going on in our city and our state in our world Again you know now is the time to act. We've got so many pressing issues and I figured you know it would be a disservice to my mom to not move forward and take my leadership in the community to the next level. So that's why I'm running so one of the reasons that you're on our show obviously is that you are a progressive in all endeavors. And we've talked about this before again in conversations that have been lost to the sense of time but I was wondering if you could tell us. About how structural challenges sort of present themselves to Democrats like you to progressives like you in the face of trying to you know engage in electoral politics that you're doing now getting elected or even pushing other candidates in Nevada. What are those structural challenges? Like because I know that they're the kind of challenges that you've been taking on for years. Yeah great question and so you know whether we're talking about Democrats or Republicans. I think the real conversation should be about the people in the establishment and let me just define establishment as corporately controlled candidates that have their hands tied basically so when you have. Democratic candidates taking big money contributions like here in Nevada a lot of Democrats and Republicans take contributions from Barrick Gold. Barrick gold is the mining industry giant. They have a sweetheart deal that is built into our state constitution and because that there are taxed very low A. Hiller you know they they They take the resources out of our mountains out of our backyard and And they're often the wind. You know through Utah Up to Canada with the prophets so when we're talking about systemic challenges for progressives what we're talking about is being up against the money machine so being a real progressive to me is about standing up and saying no to the big gaming money no. It's the big pharmaceutical money and no to the big industry money that let's face it when people write you a big check You've got to answer the phone and more than likely you're going to do what they say. So I'm the kind of candidate in this race. The only candidate in this race that has only taken small individual contributions from everyday people like you and I and because of that I am unbought. I'm on bossed and I can speak for the people for the working families of Nevada. We hear that a lot lately from candidates like you and a lot of people who are sort of swearing off that corporate money. But it's tough because it's a lot of money you mentioned all of those industries that come knocking especially when you have a decent chance at a at a seed or a position of power if puts the progressive of the party at odds very frequently with the more corporate led wing of the Party and I just wonder from your perspective a how challenging is it to you never see that I always talk about how Republicans in in some ways. I admire them because you never see them at odds with each other they will find ways to come to come together and and like not invite like that. What is it like to be You know people call purity test or whatever uses nonsense language but like what is it to be at odds with what is it like to be at odds with a whole wing of the party at times. Well it's not a good feeling. Let me be honest in this campaign. I've learned a lot of new things about running a professional respectful respectable campaign. And I'll just give you another example of how the system has rigging behind the scenes. You know we didn't get a whole lot of endorsements official endorsements in this race and I'll tell you why that's because people make inside deals. They have inside relationships. Some of the organizations for instance. They didn't return our phone calls. We didn't get invited to interview and another thing is in the Democratic Party. We see a lot of Checking off boxes so candidates run around from organization to organization and they say I'm this check off a box. I'm that check off a box. And what happens? Is They bank up a whole lot of endorsements that they get to put on their mailer or on their website and essentially they are trying to bamboozle the everyday voter because these organizations are run by a handful of people and these organizations for the most part? They don't survey their membership to do an endorsement. They have a small panel of two sometimes three four or five individuals that are the insiders of those organizations and when they sit down with establishment the insider. Pick what happens. Is they end up writing a check for five thousand dollars which is the maximum in Nevada for the primary? Then they write another check for five thousand dollars in the general and that gives an unfair advantage to the to the democratic insider and again what that means is if we vote for the same old same old people that we see the most billboards the most signs. The most advertisements and these are some of the candidates. Don't even a platform okay. That don't get into specifics. That don't take chances so to speak. And I think the time is now that we elect bold progressive candidates and for Nevada State Assembly district. Sixteen which encompasses by the way all the hotels and casinos. The major ones the airport university. And the Las Vegas Convention Center which when we reopen Nevada that is the powerhouse of our economy and the powerhouse of our middle class. You know I think I'm not candidate in this race because of how we fund raised because of how we've campaigned and hopefully In this in this eleventh hour of the race we can seal the deal and reach the voters with our platform because these are more than ideas. These are these are the plans that will change people's lives and and Ultimately the entire fabric of of our community so gene. I want to give you a chance to ask a few questions too but I wanna also let all of our listeners know that we are taking live Q. and A. and we will try to get to as many of your questions as possible Old Friend of mine former politico Editor Sergio boost those who now is at the South Florida Sun Sentinel running. They're running their opinion pages over there. Dropped the question. Joe Would you support a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics absolutely in a word absolutely in fact? Not only getting money out of out of politics. Which we do that. In a number of ways we could create laws in our states that ban large contributions from packs. We could do a state level. overturning of citizens united which allows corporations to be treated like people and Let's see what else can we do? We also have a more fair electoral system and instill something called runoff voting. Or in some states they call it fusion voting. Where let's say there's three Democrats in a race and You know you have a first pick and a second pick but you don't really think that your second pick has a chance because they don't have a lot of money they don't have a lot of clout they don't have a lot of endorsements what a fusion or run off voting system would allow is it would get rid of that spoiler effect and then people could could rank choice. They're they're they're politicians their leaders and I think when we do that as well as open up the system to More third party and non partisan candidates. I think that when we do that we're going to see candidates that represent everyday working. People millennials and underserved groups like the Lgbtq community are black community and especially here in Nevada are Hispanic community. So I wanted to ask you. You've been involved in politics for quite a while. How did you get involved in the first place? Tell us about. Yeah Great Question Gina. I was actually at UNLV. Right here in Nevada. Getting my bachelor's degree in criminal justice and I stumbled upon a very popular nowadays. Plant medicine that we all know and love to be cannabis and frankly without being silly about it. Marijuana just really blew my mind. It opened up a new way of thinking about society when I did my research about the war on drugs. I realized how unfair it was that you know. Middle Upper Class I'm generalizing here. But middle upper class white people were able to get marijuana enjoy marijuana even when they got in trouble. You know you could get a good lawyer and get out of trouble. And then looking around and seeing the disproportionate effect on our black and Brown communities and when I saw that injustice and I tied that in with the the military industrial complex I was just Lit Up no pun intended on politics and I realized that there's many many areas of our society that have these inequalities and from there. I went on to do Years of pro-peace activism and then Discovered groups like food. Not Bombs and. My mom got hooked on the idea that sharing food giving food to people as a right not a privilege and You know and now here. We are today many years later and I've been involved with politics with Iot local seven twenty. I was elected to be an international delegate and we protested at the trump. Hollywood tower in fact I took a lead role on that. And really it's all about speaking truth to power. You know in two thousand sixteen. A lot of people were devastated. A lot of Democrats were very upset. On how things all panned out at the end of the day and I'm here today to say that we really need to start building. Coalitions not only with Democrats but also with our nonpartisan neighbors and friends and family because a lot of our platform which is about healthcare housing education transportation and criminal justice. These are all things that everyday people want commonsense solutions so you know long story short. I just know that life is too short. Life is for the living and I'm here to help make the community better one day at a time and I mean it's real popular now to be active in politics. I mean everybody's doing it which is a good thing. It's a good thing to be progressive but in a way you could say that you've been doing it before it was cool and so you've been doing it for a while. What skills and experience do you bring to the table? Sure yeah well In the twenty five years that I've lived in this district of worn a lot of hats. I've been a member of the Union for Seventeen years so I think my experience working hard doing physically demanding labor supporting our trade show and convention industry here in Las Vegas. You know getting blisters on my hands getting sore feet working..