LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Silver State Equality, Nevada’s leading statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, today announced the endorsement of four candidates statewide.
“To achieve full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people, Silver State Equality is committed to endorsing and supporting openly LGBTQ+ and pro-equality candidates – up and down the ballot – who will fight for civil rights and social justice for marginalized communities,” said André C. Wade, State Director, Silver State Equality. “We are proud to endorse four candidates who will advocate for our LGBTQ+ community and all Nevadans. We look forward to working alongside each of them in their commitment to fairness and moving equality forward.”
The following candidates have received endorsements from Silver State Equality:
Nevada State Assembly District 39: Deborah Chang
If elected, Deborah Change will be a powerful voice for equality, affordable healthcare access, job creation and clean energy in the Nevada State Assembly. Her legislative priorities are to protect the environment, ensure affordable access to quality healthcare; expand access to mental health services and to create new living wage jobs from clean energy and other innovative endeavors. After spending three decades working in government, the non-profit sector, the Biopharmaceutical industry, and as small business owner, author and social purpose entrepreneur, Chang will bring her passions and advocacy to the speak to the needs of rural Nevada communities within the urban-dominated Nevada Legislature.
Nevada State Assembly District 15: Howard Watts
A devoted public servant, Howard Watts has dedicated his career to fighting for policies that preserve the environment, protect consumers, increase access to the ballot box and ensure dignity for historically marginalized communities. First elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2018, he introduced and passed laws to improve water conservation, support electric vehicles and improve voter access for Native Americans. In addition, he joined his colleagues in supporting measures that increased the minimum wage, guaranteed paid leave, advanced sweeping criminal justice and voting rights reforms, and made health care more affordable. Watts is a native Nevadan and a UNLV graduate.
Nevada State Assembly District 17: Clara (Claire) Thomas
A lifelong progressive and first-time public-office candidate, Clara (Claire) Thomas is a 20-year honorably retired United States Air Force military veteran, mother and grandmother who currently works in the District Attorney’s Office as a District/Justice Court Clerk. An ardent advocate for workers’ rights, Thomas is a member of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1107; is a Union Steward, and a member of SEIU 1107’s Trustee and Political Action Committee. Politically active throughout her 36 years in Southern Nevada, she has held numerous political party positions including being elected to the Nevada State Democratic Party E-Board. A dedicated community volunteer and activist for quality education and diversity, she has worked in support of such organizations as SafeNest and the Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada. If elected, Thomas will be a champion for all Nevadans, and especially the state’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Washoe County Commission District 1: Alexis Hill
Passionate about public service and bringing diverse voices to public discourse, Hill, if elected Washoe County Commissioner, has pledged to advocate for sustainability and conservation, government accountability and regional leadership for Washoe County in the areas of smart growth and social services. A native Nevadan, Hill has spent her career in municipal service with the cities of Reno and Sparks. She currently works as the arts, culture and events manager for the City of Reno and has served as Sparks’ city planner. She has a master’s degree in public administration and public policy from the University of Nevada Reno.
Names in bold indicate an openly LGBTQ+ candidate.
Vote YES on Question Two
In addition to endorsing a slate of candidates, Silver State Equality has joined with other state-wide civil rights organizations in support of Vote YES on Question 2. On the ballot this November, the Question 2 initiative proposes to repeal a same-sex marriage ban within the Nevada constitution. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage during the June 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case, 30 states, including Nevada, still have gay marriage bans in their state constitutions. A “yes” vote on Question 2 supports a constitutional amendment to recognize marriage as between couples regardless of gender.
As Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, Silver State Equality brings the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in Nevada and throughout the U.S. Silver State Equality strives to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. Silver State Equality is a Nevada-based program affiliated with and supported by Equality California and Equality California Institute, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. More information at SilverStateEquality.org.