Top Priorities as your State Senator

  • Women’s Reproductive Rights:

    I have been fighting for women’s life choices and women’s reproductive rights my whole life. I have followed in my mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps in advocating for equality at school, equality in the workplace, and protection of women’s reproductive freedom.

    In terms of career, I was one of only a few women geologists in my graduating class at UNR and the first woman scientist at five different companies.  After getting my masters, I persevered and ended up at the top of my career planning Nevada’s water future.

    Unfortunately, along the way, I lost half of my reproductive organs, putting into question whether I could ever conceive. I finally sought help through fertility treatments.  After the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages, the last involving a D&E operation, I explored adoption and fostering.  Although those options were not to be, within four years I was leading a team of 800 scientists managing restoration of some of America’s most significant water systems.

    I have often wondered what would have happened if I had not lived in a supportive state while trying to get pregnant.  Would I have been questioned- even arrested – for the choices I made?  The fight for women’s reproductive freedom is very personal to me.  We must continue to protect women’s right to make choices about their lives and safeguard our reproductive rights.  I am a fighter, and it is my top priority. 

    • Affordable Housing:

    A home is a must for all Nevadans.  Affordable housing matters! I have advocated for and supported every affordable housing initiative in Reno over the last 10 years, including voting for millions of dollars to create and subsidize affordable housing projects, including sewer and permit fee waivers. These efforts resulted in thousands of new affordable units, tiny homes, dorm rooms, and converted motels.

    Nearly half of our northern Nevada residents are renters.  On their behalf, I have tackled tenant protections and fair rents, particularly for seniors and veterans. I have often found our local landlords to be supportive of renters, while those who view housing only as an investment, not so much.  I expect to continue advocating for more affordable housing along with lower rent increases and a tenants’ bill of rights in the Senate.

    • Healthcare:

    My father was a psychologist and my stepmom a nurse.  My father started the Research Center at the VA Hospital in Reno in the 1970s.  I learned early on how crucial it was to maintain all aspects of health.  I also learned that Nevada was deeply disadvantaged when it came to healthcare resources generally, and severely disadvantaged in resources for mental health, behavioral health, and developmental disorders.

    I have toured the UNR medical school to understand how our best are being trained. While their work is top-notch, unfortunately, we do not have reciprocity with other states for health care professionals – where degrees and training received in other states are accepted – leading to significant provider shortages.  Pay for nurses, technicians and health aides is low.  Prescription costs are out of sight.  A healthy population is essential if Nevada is to continue to lead.  I will be a warrior in seeking to improve our healthcare system and delivery.

    • Climate Change, Water, and the Environment:

    In the driest state, water matters.  I was the former State Water Planner and produced the State Water Plan which went on to win a national award. While we achieved much, there is still much to be done to ensure a reliable source of water in Nevada for generations to come.  With my degree in Geology and my Master’s in Public Administration (focusing on Water and Energy Policy), I believe I am the right person for the job.

    My goals are to directly combat climate change by increasing Nevada’s tree canopy, supporting energy-efficient buildings, and continuing to advocate for roof-top solar and geothermal energy. I have extensive experience in this area, writing my Masters’ Thesis on geothermal energy delivery, installing solar panels on our roof, and winning Nevada’s top environmental award twice.

    Results matter.  As a Reno Councilmember, I have already championed numerous environmental initiatives to address climate change, including my signature program ReLEAF Reno, designed to double the trees in Reno. My leadership on the City Council has helped lead to many other firsts, including the Reno Sustainability Plan, the first community solar project in Northern Nevada,  pesticide-free parks, hazardous and e-waste recycling programs, a geothermal franchise, and PFAS mapping in Washoe County.

    I have also focused on animals, working with my colleagues to eliminate Puppy Mills, sponsor a project to keep the Virginia Range Wild Horses and the driving public safe with a 10-mile- long fence and new watering areas, eliminate coyote killing contests, and Improve the relationship between the Nevada Humane Society and the Washoe County Animal Services. There is much more to be done!

    • Education

    I know how desperately our teachers and support staff need additional funding.  The recent raise of 20% for most educators in Washoe County went a long, long way – but we are not through.  Many teachers I speak to are burned out.  They need help with classroom management, school counseling, and even nurses.  Their class sizes are too large and there are too many tests.  Not surprisingly, far too many students don’t graduate.

    Money is always key. But the money must be targeted at the right things.  We need to pay teachers more, hire more teachers, subs, and support staff to relieve the burnout, take a hard look at curriculums, and help parents learn how to coach their kids in math.  Options for technical schools and apprenticeships must be firmly on the table.  We clearly need some massive changes, or we will continue to be at the bottom of the barrel in educating our youth.  Although many current legislators are also educators, the challenges remain.  This must change if Nevada is to lead in the 21st century.  Perhaps new ideas from a scientist and manager will be the change we need. 

    • Seniors and Veterans:

    I have a heart for Seniors and Veterans and have worked as a strong advocate for them, helping keep them housed and healthy, and their rents affordable. I will continue fighting for our vulnerable populations with rent discounts, affordable housing, new supportive programs, and a focus on health to address conditions such as diabetes, dementia, and blindness, and skills such as money management and computers.  These are our people. We need to care for them! 

    • Special Projects: Veterinary School and DMV

    There are a few special projects I will advocate for as a Senator.  One is to develop a Veterinary School in Nevada.  Northern Nevadans are animal lovers – and those animals need care.  Unfortunately, there is an extreme shortage of veterinarians and vet techs to handle the load, leading to high prices for services.  Often pet owners must leave the Reno-Sparks area to get the services they need – or go without. With no veterinarian school, our veterinarians and vet techs have had to be trained elsewhere, making the shortages worse.   Finally, the stress of their workload has led to veterinarians being rated as one of the top professions most at risk of suicide – 2X greater than doctors and more than 4X greater than the general population. We can do better!

    I am also interested in improving agencies whose services directly affect Nevadans.  These include organizations such as the DMV.  While some DMV services are easy to acquire online or through kiosks, others are exponentially harder. This is driven by a lack of customer service employees, due in part to low wages. Again, we can do better!

    • Endorsements

    I am endorsed by a variety of groups including 314 Action (STEM Scientists), Reno Firefighters, the Teamsters, Culinary Workers, Operating Engineers, and others.  However, the endorsement I most treasure is yours. I encourage you to “Elect a Do-er” to the Nevada State Senate.

Things we’ve gotten done for Reno:

Click or tap a bullet point below to skip to the desired section.

Public Safety

  • Added 35 Police professionals in last 3 years
  • Added 30 Firefighters in last 3 years
  • Spearheading effort to reduce street racing, sideshows and intersection takeovers with regional partnerships, use of Sheriff’s RAVEN helicopter, and new proposed new legislation
  • Added $11.9 million for police software and equipment to better track and apprehend suspects
  • Opened all 14 Fire Stations with full staffing
  • Increased number of police on patrol on all shifts in central and south Reno 
  • Now constructing a new Public Safety Center
  • Now designing a new Fire Headquarters
  • Adopted new agreements for Fire Mutual and Automatic Aid to ensure rapid response
  • Sued Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors to recover local funds spent on opioid crisis – (Nevada is 4th in Country in opioid addiction and loss of life)
  • Establishing new mental health drop-in clinic on state property on Galetti Way 

Managing Growth

  • Adopted New Master Plan for the City with over 7000 residents participating
  • Updated Title 18 Development Regulations
  • Carefully evaluate all developments: Say “YES when I can, NO when I must, and spend much time working to make projects better to reduce impacts on existing residents and the environment
  • Support new and expanded road projects, with bike and walking trails, more public transit.
  • Voted to NOT approve some projects. I was not able to make the required findings for these projects, for example:
    • Lakeridge Tennis Club Apartment Project (6000 Plumas)
    • Daybreak (Talus Valley)
    • The Canyons PUD
    • Evans Creek Ranch Annexation

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

  • Championed South Reno Road Study with RTC to identify needed improvements
  • Steamboat Parkway Widening to begin Spring 2023
  • Added entrance lanes onto I-580 for smoother traffic flow
  • Pedestrian SafetyImproved road safety throughout Ward 2 with pedestrian-activated crosswalks, speed bumps, four-way stops, radar speed signs, horse warning signals
  • Created 40-miles of new bike lanes in City
  • Now evaluating Veterans Roundabout on Geiger Grade

Water Management

  • With experience as the former Nevada State Water Planner and former Executive Director of Truckee River Flood Authority, serve on Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Western Regional Water Commission, Truckee River Flood Management Authority and North Valleys Water Subcommittee
  • Championed effort to provide 4000 acre feet of treated effluent to Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) to reduce pollution and establish an instream flow for the Truckee River, rather than dump effluent in Truckee River
  • Championed Stormwater Utility for Reno, now underway
  • With Truckee Meadows Water Authority
    • Initiated “One Water Nevada” to create a new source of water
    • Updated the Regional Water Plan 2020-2040
    • Completed consolidation of water systems to improve quality and reliability – Washoe County Water System and South Truckee Meadows General Improvement District (STMGID) with TMWA.
    • Completed installation of water meters in region.
    • Encouraged TMWA to become preferred water provider region-wide.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

UNDERWAY
  • Met with developers to strategize ways to speed up processing of new affordable housing projects
  • Evaluating zoning options to increase more affordable housing 
COMPLETE
  • Approved 1600 units of affordable housing throughout city, most of which have broken ground or been constructed
  • Approved six new affordable housing projects in Ward 2 for veterans, seniors, and working families, four of which have been constructed
  • Developed new 600-bed homeless services CARES campus and 50 individual Tent Sites.
  • Approved a new Community Housing Land Trust to partner with for-profit and non-profit entities to create lower cost housing options
  • Built 200 very low-cost, transitional dorm-style units through a public /private partnership on city property known as the Village at Sage Street, with 100 more units now underway on property next door.
  • Supported 40 Tiny Homes project (Hope Springs) with Northern Nevada Hopes.
  • Implemented new Downtown Business Improvement District to reduce homelessness, and keep city clean and visitor friendly
  • Initiated the Clean and Safe Teams to help homeless residents obtain housing,  services and legal assistance, and meet daily needs

Parks, Trails and Open Space

UNDERWAY
  • Moana Pool – NOW UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Championed new geothermally-heated, solar-powered Moana Springs Aquatic Center with 3 pools including an Olympic-sized 50-meter pool with diving boards, fun and fitness pool with slides, and geothermal soaking pool; Fitness Center, Party rooms.
  • Virginia Range Trail NOW IN PLANNING – Sponsoring a 10-mile long, open- space corridor 
  • Flat FieldsChampioning for two new regional sports field areas – on Mill and McCarran (the Living River Park) and along Pembrooke Dr.
  • South Reno Pool Have proposed a new pool in south Reno. Currently evaluating alternatives.
  • Virginia Range Wildlife PreserveLeading effort to development of new wildlife preserve along Steamboat Creek
  • Truckee Living River Park – Pushing effort to create a 10-mile long park along the Truckee River linking 8 separate parks

COMPLETE
  • Virginia Lake Park – Led effort to completely upgrade Park, including establishing new project to re-circulate Virginia Lake water, significantly improving water clarity.  Initiated road safety program with installation of radar speed signs, speed bumps, and 4-way stops. Got parking lot paved and cracks in path repaired.  Completed path around lake. Installed new art. 
  • Virginia Lake Dog Park – Facilitated public-private partnership to complete Reno’s first real dog park with recent upgrades.
  • Jack Tighe Park/Baseball Fields – Obtained funds to completely resurface large parking lot (for Babe Ruth and Continental Baseball) 
  • City established new City of Reno License Plate to raise funds for parks
  • Trail connectivity – Required installation of new connecting bike/walking path from Lakeside Drive to Delmonte Lane as part of Rancharrah Project, and other development projects
  • Manzanita Park – Upgraded tennis courts and play areas

Wild Horse and Road Safety

  • Reduced speeds on Rio Wrangler and Steamboat Pkwy to protect kids and drivers
  • Leading an extensive fencing project along the Virginia Range to protect drivers and keep horses safe
  • Installed new Horse Warning signs
  • Started Public Education campaign about wild horses
  • Repaired gates and fences in Virginia Range – Spearheaded effort to keep wild horses and drivers in south Reno safe, including installation of fences around developments, lowered speed limits, new signage, horse guards

Sustainability

  • Started Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste Drop-off Program throughout Ward 2
  • Established pilot Compost Drop Off Program in Ward 2
  • Started ReLEAF Reno to double the trees in the city of Reno within 20 years; Obtained more than $100K in contributions and pledges for program; now working on new programs to support retention of tree canopy
  • Sponsor volunteer tree planting projects throughout Reno, most recent was 60 trees in Horizon View Park in Double Diamond in Ward 2 
  • Initiated the city-wide discounted Tree Giveaway Program
  • Established Pesticide Free Park Program – adopted 12 pesticide free parks in city
  • Established Reno as a Bee City USA
  • Community Solar ProjectNOW UNDER CONSTRUCTION –
  • Now partnering with NVEnergy on first Northern Nevada Community Solar Energy Project for low-income residents located behind the Moana Fire Station – 

Outreach, transparency and good government

  • My focus and priorities are guided by residents’ issues and priorities.
  • I am an accessible advocate for residents with a GET IT DONE attitude. 
  • Frequent advocate for Public Workshops on significant projects such as: Steamboat Pkwy Improvements; the downtown Neon Line, Wild Horse Management; and Ward 2 development projects
  • Advocate to reestablish the Neighborhood Advisory Boards
  • Pushed for ZOOM capability and public comment for all City meetings
  • Council initiated first municipal lobbyist registration program
  • Council initiated first quarterly donation reporting program for elected officials in Nevada

Addressing blight and the city’s appeal

  • Established Blight Reduction Fund to tear down aging structures, clean up properties
  • Passed ordinances to eliminate new Billboards and prohibit digital billboards altogether
  • Council Started Motel Improvement Program

Major Infrastructure

  • Now constructing Moana Springs Aquatic Center with three pools, including a 50-meter Olympic pool, hot soaking pool, children’s play area, meeting rooms and full fitness center
  • Now Constructing new Public Safety Center
  • City Parking Garage – I negotiated purchase of Reno City Garage, streets & air rights from Club Cal Neva for $10; led effort to improve, clean and paint facility, repair and upgrade elevators, increase security.
  • Virginia Street Bridge – Completed new Virginia Street Bridge.  Project was initiated by me while at Truckee River Flood Authority
  • I-580 Interchange ImprovementsImproved I-580 intersections at Double Diamond Parkway and Damonte Ranch Road to ease traffic congestion
  • CARES Campus – Constructed new Homeless center with 600 beds for those without a home.
  • Arlington Bridge Replacement – Now UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Healthy City Finances

  • We continue to pay down our debt, which is now lower by about $240 million in since the high in 2009.
  • Increased Reno’s credit rating to A+
  • Reduced employee-related liabilities by another $40 million during 2nd term by renegotiating labor contracts.

Arts & Culture

  • Sponsored Nevada Mural on Parking Garage
  • Supported establishment of new Rotary-sponsored Bi-Centennial Sculpture Park along Truckee River
  • Burning Man – Helped expand Burning Man footprint in Reno (BELIEVE, Playa Art Park, The Generator)
  • Arts and Business Awards Annual Luncheon – Collaborated with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) to create new arts recognition program
  • Lear Theater – Successfully championed effort to acquire the Lear Theater

Current Boards and Commissions

  • Western Nevada Development DistrictPresident – 50-member, 8-County Economic Development and Building Infrastructure Organization
  • Washoe County Debt Management CommissionChair
  • Washoe County Animal Advisory BoardChair
  • Truckee Meadows Water Authority
  • Truckee River Flood Management Authority
  • Western Regional Water Commission
  • Economic Development Authority
  • North Valleys Water Subcommittee
  • Regional Planning Governing Board – Former Chair
  • Ward 2 Neighborhood Advisory Board – Liaison
  • Urban Forestry Commission – Liaison

Former Boards and Commissions

  • Community Development Block Grant Subcommittee
  • Artown
  • Arts and Culture Commission – Liaison
  • Finance Advisory Board – Liaison
  • Building Enterprise Fund Advisory Committee – Liaison

Please contact me at any time. naomi@votenaomi.com or (calls only) 775-224-4740