Occupation: Senior implementation specialist
Political party: Democrat
Vaccaro served in the United States Peace Corps from 2005-2007 and mentored young women and girls in eight counties with the Girl Scouts. She believes in grassroots activism, she said. Issues she would like to tackle in the Legislature are expansion of wind energy and reduction of gun violence.
What would be your top three legislative priorities?
1) Clean energy initiatives with an initial focus on wind.
2) A balanced measure to hold adults criminally accountable when they leave loaded firearms accessible to children who then are injured or cause injury.
3) Extending equal opportunity employment protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, removing redundant regulation that hurts startups and small businesses and building infrastructure that promotes new jobs and growth.
Would you support a health care reform plan that accesses available federal Medicaid dollars to extend coverage to the working poor and other needy Nebraskans? Why or why not?
Yes. It’s unconscionable that Nebraskans are going without health care when funds are available. There is no excuse for playing politics with people’s health. Medical providers must be fairly compensated for services provided and there should be transparency associated with costs of services. Further, we are facing a hospital and provider crisis in rural Nebraska. Medicaid expansion could help keep health care accessible.
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Do you believe the death penalty should be restored in Nebraska, yes or no? Explain.
When I was in high school, I really struggled with this question. As I’ve grown into adulthood, I’ve come to understand that the state should not ask good people to darken their souls by killing another as part of their job. I cannot reconcile inequality in the justice system with capital punishment. I’m opposed to death penalty.
Do you believe substantial income tax cuts are possible without sacrificing state services? If so, list specific inefficiencies or other expenses you would eliminate from the state budget to fund income tax cuts.
Nebraskans are known for our fiscal conservatism. If we want substantial income tax breaks, we must generate tax revenue elsewhere, like through wind development. The opportunity is there and backed by years of research. It’s time we invest in Nebraska’s wind power.
One in five children in the state – in both rural and urban districts – lives in poverty. What would be your public policy priority in helping more families out of poverty?
Nebraska must expand Medicaid. Families in poverty shouldn’t find their situation complicated by outrageous medical fees for basic health care. I’d like to see every high school student take the ACT for free. Parents need employment protections to keep their jobs when children are sick.
How do you best identify yourself on social issues and fiscal issues: conservative, libertarian, moderate, progressive?
I am a progressive. I want to see the government put the people first.
What are your priorities for addressing transportation challenges in the state?
The highest priority must be ensuring that bridges are safe across the state. Nebraska is in the top 10 for structurally deficient bridges in rural areas. That’s a top 10 nobody wants to be in.
Are additional protections needed to ensure rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Nebraskans? How should such laws be written to protect the practice of religion?
Yes, additional protections are needed. Companies and employees are looking to thrive in inclusive and welcoming communities. No one ought to have the right to discriminate against those who do not follow their religion in places of public accommodation.