Meet Our 2018 Labor Candidates: Sarah Peters, Assembly District 24

Fast Facts:

 In college Sarah worked as a lab grunt, teaching herself plastic welding and feeding wastewater sludge to bioreactors.
 Sarah believes that issues like conservation, development, and union labor might seem in opposition on the surface, but they actually have important things in common.
 Sarah was the previous vice chairperson and secretary of the Reno chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration

Forty-two seats make up the Nevada Assembly, the lower chamber of the Nevada State Legislature. The Assembly is tasked with no light responsibility—working closely with the incumbent governor to create new laws, modify existing laws, pass bills, and establish Nevada’s master budget. All 42 seats are up for election in 2018 for a two-year term. This changing of the guard has the potential to substantially impact state policies.

Democrat Sarah Peters, an environmental engineer by trade and an advocate for education, healthcare, working families, and the environment, is ready to represent the more than 64,000 residents in Nevada State Assembly District 24. 

We asked Sarah: Why the State Assembly, and why now?

You’re passionate about many of the issues facing Nevada right now. What makes the State Assembly the right channel for your priorities? 

I’ve been working as a policy consultant for six years, and I’ve witnessed scenarios in which the State didn’t have a accurate understanding of environmental issues. The legislature just didn’t have the background. 

I also feel that local governments should have more authority and autonomy to develop environmental policy that’s important to Nevada’s specific and unique regions, and that reflect the priorities of local constituents. Right now the State doesn’t allow localities that kind of authority. It’s time to change that.

What are your first priorities for Assembly District 24, should you be elected?

I’d like to work with the legislature to move progressive issues important to our area forward, like raising the minimum wage and improving our healthcare infrastructure. I want to incentivize more high-quality care providers to come practice in Northern Nevada. And I want to add another voice of support to the progress being made in education in our state. 

Many of the issues you’re interested in might seem at first glance to be divergent groups, like labor unions and conservation advocacy. Where do you feel the common ground is between those?

To me, these are all just quality-of-life issues. Labor and wages, the environment, education—these are all just the resources with which we build and sustain a region that people want to live and work and raise their families in. No matter who you are or where you come from, we all build this community together. 

I’m pro-growth as long as that growth includes smart natural resource use and development options.  Environmental concerns and development don’t have to be opposed. I used to work in mining, I grew up hunting and fishing, and now I’m in environmental engineering. I don’t see those as different interests, they all come from the same place. At the core, everyone just wants to conserve something (jobs, opportunities, our natural resources) that’s critical to our prosperity and that of our next generation.

That makes good sense, because when you have a strong and busy workforce, fair wages, stewardship for a clean and healthy environment, quality affordable housing, good healthcare and smart development and growth—you have all the ingredients for a great quality of life for everyone. Those are common goals. 

Yes, exactly! I’m interested in re-knitting the social fabric to bring everyone back together on these things. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from or what their background is, everything we do is interconnected. 

As it relates to labor, I want our community to address skilled trades and training in the same way we address university education. Really, all post-secondary education. They’re equally valuable, they should be held to equal standard. Right now there’s this unnecessary chasm. But we need everybody. I like having a specific job I’m good at, and I like when everyone else has a specific job they’re good at, too. 

We can’t be singular or insular anymore, it doesn’t work. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Learn more about Sarah Peters at her campaign website, votesarahpeters.com.