Gov. Sisolak addresses pandemic, economy, education in State of the State

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 7:00 PM PST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 7:22 PM PST
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Governor Steve Sisolak delivered his second State of the State address in a pre-recorded format Tuesday, laying out his priorities and plans moving forward, as well as acknowledging the challenges the coronavirus pandemic has had on all Nevadans.

“This disease has touched as all. And the truth is, we still have a ways to go,” the governor said. “But I know this: Nevadans are battle born. We face our challenges head on. We will get through this difficult time together. Because the state of our state is determined, resilient and strong.”

Winning the battle against COVID-19 and getting Nevadans vaccinated topped Governor Sisolak’s priority list, as well as getting children back in class, and getting people back to work.

The governor expressed gratitude for the statewide efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and encouraged Nevadans to continue to wear masks and maintain social distance.

The governor also discussed the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. He said so far, the state has administered more than 100,000 initial and secondary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. He also said they are ramping up distribution efforts “to get more shots in the arms of Nevadans,” including expanding the vaccination workforce to include EMS providers, medical assistants, dentists, veterinarians, and more.

The governor discussed the pandemic’s impact on small business and announced an additional $50 million in his budget for his small business assistance program he said is vital for small businesses to keep their doors open. He said Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall is also working on creating a small business advocacy center to have businesses take advantage of resources and “cut through the red tape.”

The governor unveiled five initiatives of his Economic Action Plan:

New Energy Economy: Gov. Sisolak said he plans to pass an energy bill, establishing Nevada’s commitment to increase transmission, storage, and distribution of all forms of clean energy.

Creation of Innovation Zones: An initiative aimed at bringing new tech companies to Nevada to develop their industries.

Preparing Workforce for New Nevada Economy: Job training and retraining our displaced workforce and connecting workers with remote working opportunities. The governor said he will be calling on Nevada’s leading companies to fund, design and implement training programs to qualify workers for these jobs.

Building Our Infrastructure: The governor said his budget includes $75 million for future capital improvement projects that will be used to launch the state’s infrastructure bank to leverage outside capital to fund important infrastructure projects.

Making Government Work Better: Governor Sisolak referenced the problems with the state’s unemployment insurance system during the pandemic. He said the backlog has since been reduced by 90 percent. The governor said he will work with the legislature to modernize and utilize private sector expertise to help Nevadans in need. The governor said his goal is to increase Nevada’s share of federal grants by $100 million over the next two years and by $500 million annually by 2026.

The governor released his budget Monday evening. He said it reflects the emergency the state of Nevada is currently in, and said his office worked hard to balance protecting public health while keeping the economy afloat. To see the budget, click here.

Gov. Steve Sisolak discussed his budget bullet points during his State of the State address...
Gov. Steve Sisolak discussed his budget bullet points during his State of the State address Tuesday evening.(KOLO)

“While this budget makes tough reductions, it also contains smart investments in essential priorities,” the governor said, “Including restoring nearly 40 million in funding for preschool, and $415 million dedicated for construction, maintenance, planning and economic development.” The governor is also proposing $25 million to complete the UNLV Medical School Building in order to address the doctor shortage.

The governor spoke about education and the toll the pandemic has taken on Nevada students. “We will not recover as a state if we leave our children behind,” he said. “I will do whatever it takes to get our students back in the classroom.” The governor said his office has provided PPE (personal protective equipment) to schools, made rapid COVID testing available to school districts, and prioritized educators for vaccines to help return students to in-person learning.

The governor concluded his address with a plea to Nevadans to help end the division and polarization gripping our country. “It has to end,” the governor said. “This is America, this is Nevada, and we need to pull together.”

Watch the State of the State in its entirety in the video above.

Assembly Republican Leader Dr. Robin Titus delivered the Republican response to Gov. Sisolak’s State of the State virtual address.

Watch the full response below:

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