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Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce Remembered

NSEA President Ruben Murillo, Jr.

Our community has lost a passionate advocate in Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce.  Hers was a strong, resilient, and persistent voice for those she felt were underserved, undervalued, and underrepresented.  Her commitment to education issues and passionate representation of all Nevadans will be missed.
NSEA Executive Director Gary Peck

On Thursday, October 10, we lost a true champion of social justice, someone who fought tirelessly to make our state a better one for all of us.  Longtime Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce passed away after a decade-long battle with the cancer.While she will be dearly missed, her death can not possibly erase her impressive legacy or her fantastic spirit.  Peggy embraced the causes of people of color, working people, children, the poor and middle-class, the LGBT community, religious minorities, women, and countless others whose interests are too often disregarded in our legislature and in corridors of power more generally.

Peggy set a high standard for the rest of us who joined with her in the fights she waged with extraordinary dignity, grace, and tenacity.  It was the same dignity, grace, and tenacity she brought to her fight with the disease that took her from us far too soon.  But Peggy will live on in the heads and hearts of the many people whose lives she touched.  That includes our entire NSEA family, because Peggy was nothing, if not a zealous advocate for educators, students, and Nevada's public schools. 

During the 2013 legislative session, Peggy left no doubt where she stood on the most important issue facing Nevada - the need to fix our broken tax system so that big businesses pay their fair share, so we can adequately invest in education.  At the hearing on The Education Initiative (TEI), Peggy did what she always did, she gave voice to the progressive values that guided her throughout her career as an activist and a lawmaker.  Responding to the business lobbyists who offered the same timeworn arguments they always do whenever any business tax is proposed - that it would drive businesses from Nevada and leave its economy in ruins - Peggy said the following:

"You do not like any taxes that you or anybody you know have to pay...You should be talking to somebody besides yourselves and your little circle of friends.  I am telling you, come election night 2014, you are all going to be sitting there looking like Karl Rove looked last election night, saying 'gee, I didn't know that was going to happen.'  And January 1, 2015, when this (TEI) becomes law, you will have nobody to blame but yourselves because all you ever say is no."

This feistiness in the service of fairness and a decent quality of life for all Nevadans is among the reasons Peggy will remain an inspiration to the entire NSEA family and to everyone who admired her for always speaking truth to power, no matter the powerful interests that might be aligned on the other side.  We will miss Peggy for that feistiness and for her honor, integrity, and empathy.  So will the children and families we serve.         



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