Freshman Assemblyman Brent Jones is fast emerging as the conservative leader in the Nevada legislature. In January 2016, Citizens Outreach released their list of the top 25 conservatives to watch. Recognizing the Assemblyman in the top 10, Jones was listed as number eight. As noted by Chuck Muth, president of the nonprofit group, Jones is filling the leadership gap and becoming the leader for the southern Nevada conservative wing. According to Muth’s publication, Jones is actively working and poised to take conservatives to the next level by helping challengers defeat tax-hiking incumbent Republicans.
The Assemblyman is known for keeping his campaign promises and enjoys a favorable reputation for standing against raising taxes. Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), a well-respected conservative think tank, whose website explains their system of ranking legislators as, “The following report card provides an objective measure of each lawmaker’s voting record on legislation impacting the degree of economic freedom and needed policy reforms.” NPRI awarded Jones an impressive score of 89.75 percent, or number five, in their published report card.
Jones has been a strong proponent of school choice and campaigned heavily on working to give parents the ability to choose how and where to educate their children. He was a strong voice in favor of Senator Scott Hammond’s Education Spending Accounts (ESA) that allow the money to follow the child to the school parents choose. Nevada continues to place last in national rankings in education among the states. Giving parents the ability to move their children from failing schools to the school of their choice has wide appeal with the state’s residents.
The conservative leader has gained popularity for his strong stance against Common Core (CC), especially the data mining of student’s personal information and records. During the 2015 legislative session, Jones put up billboards advertising his goal to repeal CC and introduced legislation to achieve that goal. He brought in experts from around the country to testify before the education committee on the failed standards and worked with local grassroots groups to fill the committee hearing with parents and students who are pushing the repeal of CC.
In the assembly committee hearing, Jones pointed out that many states have repealed the education model due to the abysmal measured results and that Nevada could and should learn from the other states and follow suit. His bill, AB303, failed to make it out of committee in the Assembly. On the Senate side, Education Chair Senator Becky Harris refused to hold a hearing, turning away hundreds of parents and experts who showed up to testify in opposition to implementing the curriculum.
Jones’ spokesperson, Laurel Fee, confirmed, “Jones will definitely continue his effort to repeal Common Core.” Fee acknowledged that the conservative assemblyman is perceived as a leader for the repeal effort in Nevada and that parents not only support him, they are counting on him. Jones also introduced legislation to rid the state of Obamacare/Silver State Exchange. Fee says, “It is hard to believe that with a Republican majority in both the assembly and senate and a Republican governor, they could not repeal the disastrous law. We need to elect Republicans who understand our party platform and respect the will of the people.”
As the presumptive conservative leader and recognized creator of the Contract with Nevada, it appears Jones is working to find principled Republicans. He has secured committed incumbents and new candidates to support the effort. The contract boasts 10 legislative acts that signers say they will attempt to get done in the next legislative session. Jones believes that putting their signature on the contract adds another layer of accountability to keeping their campaign promises. Taking conservatives to the next level begins with electing a majority of conservatives and the assemblyman is not only poised to begin that quest, he is implementing the steps to make it happen. The first act of the contract is to repeal the Commerce Tax implemented in the last session. Nevadans rejected a similar tax on the November 2014 ballot by a wide margin, with 78.74 percent voting against the measure.
Fee says, “It’s easy to understand why the popular assemblyman is perceived as a conservative leader for Republicans. It’s because he keeps his word, he is proactive in Republican principles, and he is filling a void. Rank and file Republicans, particularly the base, are fed up with establishment Republicans who vote like Democrats. They are looking for a leader, someone they can trust, like Mr. Jones.”
By Lucy Lane
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Contract With Nevada: Join The Contract with Nevada
Vote Brent Jones: Brent Jones Assemblyman Nevada Assembly 35
Nevada News & Views: 25 Most Fascinating Nevada Conservatives to Watch in 2016
Spokesperson: Laurel Fee
Image: Courtesy Nevada News & Views