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Education voters want to know a gubernatorial candidate’s position on the issues. However, they are also curious about a candidate’s personality and what they’re like off the campaign trail. Nevada gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani, who refers to herself as Chris G, is a former special education teacher with 20 years experience who was part of a successful lawsuit against the state’s voucher program. Chris G gave Education Votes a glimpse into the person behind the campaign.
Q. Who was the most influential educator in your life?
A. Lee Shank — I team taught with her my first two years. She was president of my local education union, got me involved and made me a better teacher.
Q. What did you enjoy most about being in the classroom?
A. Making my students laugh and feel good about themselves.
Q. What subjects did you enjoy most as a student?
A. Reading and English.
Q. What subject did you find most challenging?
Q. What made you decide to become an educator?
Q. What do you miss about being a special education educator?
A. The hugs, saying hello, greeting my students, asking how their night had been, laughter and the excitement that comes with learning something new.
Q. What would you say was your biggest accomplishment as a state legislator on behalf of Nevada’s students?
A. Passing mandatory pre-K, followed by class size reduction, the bond rollover to build schools, money for teacher salaries and protecting PERS [Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System].
Q. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A. Volunteering in schools as a mentor, traveling and working with students in other countries.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?
A. Getting a massage, eating a brownie with vanilla ice cream.
Q. What is your favorite book?
A. To Kill a Mockingbird. Poisonwood Bible.
Q. What’s your favorite stress reliever?
A. Gardening, mowing the lawn, trimming trees.
Q. Who are your heroes?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, and my husband Gary Gray.
Q. What was your first job?
A. At age 15 1/2, I was a stock person at Country Cupboard. I became a cashier within one month.
Q. You’re the oldest of six children. How did that shape your leadership style?
A. I’m very responsible. I multi-task. I like kids so they weren’t afraid of me — we played, read and did chores.
Q. What brings you the greatest joy?
A. Since I lost my husband, joy is harder to come by, but when I go into a classroom or senior center, I love touching, talking and laughing with people. I want people to be happy.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to a student graduating from college, what would it be?
A. It’s okay to ask, but have fun while doing it.
Q. What skills did you learn as a classroom teacher that have helped you as an elected official?
A. Using laughter, being organized, and doing my homework. I can juggle personalities and build relationships. I am a good listener and problem solver.
Q. What’s one thing you’ve learned during your campaign?
A. To trust. Also, money doesn’t buy an election. It helps, but hard work, being an honest person and a good team make a difference.