Lisa Song Sutton, a business owner and former Miss Nevada United States, has launched a congressional bid as a Republican for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District.
Sutton, who has a law degree from the University of Miami, launched her bid a few weeks ago with a campaign video that she posted to Twitter:
Sutton, whose father is a Vietnam war veteran and whose mother is an immigrant from Korea, is a self-described lifelong Republican who strongly supports small business, cutting regulations, the U.S. military, immigrant enforcement, border security, and the Second Amendment.
In an interview with The Daily Wire, Sutton, 34, revealed why she decided to run, the issues most important to her, how she plans to reach millennial voters, things the Republican Party needs to work on, and how being a successful business owner and former Miss Nevada has helped prepare her for the political world.
1. What inspired you to get into politics?
Politics was never in the plan for me. I have previously been focused on my companies and community work. However, when I opened the second location of my shipping store last year, I saw how much need was in the community. People have no access to basic amenities, like grocery stores. Veterans aren’t being served, and the community is forgotten. This area in the District opened my eyes to a larger problem: communities not being served by career politicians. This, coupled with my own examination of our state representatives, and realizing that we don’t have a voice for business owners, we don’t have a voice for millennials, and we don’t have a voice of someone actually engaged in the community, I knew I had to step up.
2. As the daughter of a Korean immigrant, what do you say to immigrants in the U.S. who listen to organizations like CNN and believe that the president is racist and that enforcing immigration law and securing the border is racist?
Look, no one is against legal immigration. Anyone is welcome to come here, work hard, and achieve their version of the American dream. We can no longer ignore the fact that insecure borders are a threat to national security. I have a cousin who formally served with Border Patrol along the Arizona/Mexico border. I have heard the stories about how our men and women who are boots on the ground there, are completely inundated. We need to provide them with more resources, and that means physical barriers where needed, more manpower, and more technology so that they can do their job.
3. Why should minorities vote Republican, and how should the party reach out to them?
I know many minorities who are Republicans, and it’s because we are a party that values work ethic and personal responsibility. In fact, the majority of minorities I know who are also Republicans are all business owners. We are the party of entrepreneurs and innovation. We don’t cloak ourselves in victimhood and cry, "woe is me" every time things don’t go our way. We pick ourselves up and take control of the situation. We make the choice for the direction we want to go in.
4. Why should younger people vote Republican, and what are you going to do to reach them?
I think the younger generation is realizing more and more that they can’t rely on others to fix their problems. That’s not the way the world works. The young people I meet when I speak at schools are smart, self-sufficient, and capable. They want to be in control of their destiny. The Republican Party supports that. I plan to continue with the work I have already been doing, which is meeting voters where they’re at, listening to them, engaging with them, and helping them. Community work has always been a big part of my life, and I view politics as a platform to be able to reach out and help more people.
5. How does the GOP respond to some of the issues, like healthcare and student debt, that Democrats propose addressing with socialist policies?
Americans want choice; they want freedoms. They don’t want the government overburdening them with red tape and regulations. People are equipped to take personal responsibility for their own actions. I believe in limited government, so I don’t want the government forcing policies upon me when I am equipped to do my own research and make my own decision. Where the government can help is in pushing for transparency from the key players in healthcare and student debt. Why is the cost so high? Who are all of the players involved? Washington D.C. needs to assist in equipping everyone with information so that the states can help implement the best solutions for their populations.
6. With the rise of socialism in the Democratic Party, are you also concerned about the Democrats’ continued push to curtail the freedoms of U.S. citizens?
It’s absolutely concerning. It just seems like we are drifting further and further away from core American values. This is a land of freedoms. We have to protect our rights and not disadvantage our future generations by making detrimental, knee-jerk, emotional choices now. This leftist drift is also perpetuating and encouraging a victimhood mentality. AOC and the squad are constantly reactive. Things are always happening “to” them and there’s never any attempt to be solution-oriented. The mentality that surfaces is one of blaming and complaining. Where does that leave the American people? We must right the ship and get things back on track.
7. How should Republicans respond to the Democrats becoming the party of identity politics?
I am not a fan of identity politics. I think voters should make their decision on merit. What items in that candidate’s life have helped equip that person to do a good job representing us? Republican candidates have to show that we are the party of limited government and personal responsibility. I’m very proud to represent women and Asian women, but I don’t want people to vote for me “just because” I’m a woman, or “just because” I’m a minority. I want people to vote for me because they believe that based on my background, my experience, my community work, I’m someone who will provide them with the representation they deserve.
8. What do you view as the greatest threat to the United States both from a foreign and a domestic standpoint?
From a foreign standpoint, a major threat that isn’t talked about enough is China’s theft of U.S. companies’ intellectual property (IP). Our patents that are issued from the USPTO are not protected internationally by the U.S. governing body. Each country, and the EU, have their own regulatory agencies for recognizing intellectual property. Some of the greatest innovations and products in modern times have been developed by U.S. entrepreneurs (Apple, Tesla, etc.), and not much is being done or advocated for when it comes to protecting these American-born products and technologies.
From a domestic standpoint, and I don’t think this is paid attention to enough, our spending and the national debt is out of control. We must get back to a balanced budget. I follow Rep. Chip Roy from Texas on Twitter, and he’s one of the very few consistent voices I see about this issue. We can’t keep mortgaging our future generations. We must curtail spending and get back to a balanced budget.
9. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish with respect to policy?
A very important policy issue for me is making sure our veterans are taken care of. The military and their families are near and dear to my heart, coming from a military family myself. My father is a Vietnam veteran and a 20-year Air Force vet. The veterans in my District lack resources and are not receiving the treatment or care they deserve. I want to work with other members of Congress to create policy that advocates for our veterans through Veteran Affairs Offices and community initiatives.
10. The Democratic Party, with the help of the media, have really taken control of the narrative surrounding climate change. How does the Republican Party start to win over people who are concerned about the climate?
I think the first step is to show the American people what we stand for. The Republican Party is one of solutions. Let’s be solution-oriented when it comes to climate. We should assist in providing education, facts, truly substantive data around consumption and what effect we have on the environment. And then let’s provide real, tangible solutions, weighing all the factors, including cost and feasibility of implementation.
11. A lot of the narrative surrounding the climate has come from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her proposed “Green New Deal,” which her former chief-of-staff even admitted was about implementing socialism. The “Green New Deal” is a socialist vision that the Democratic Party is trying to sell to America. How do you counter that? What is your vision for America?
As a country, we are stronger when we are united. We must get past the noise, the distractions, the hate, and focus on engaging with the communities that we each live and work in. AOC sells divisiveness and victimhood. It gets media mentions and Twitter followers while doing absolutely nothing for the people in her District, for the people she’s supposed to be representing. My vision of America is the one I try to experience every day. I’m proud to be an American and live in a country where we have freedoms, ambitions, and the knowledge that with a bit of hard work, good things can happen.
12. What are your thoughts on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and the rise of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party?
There is absolutely no place for anti-Semitism, especially in our government from our own elected officials. We must stand strong against divisiveness and not allow this constant barrage of blaming and finger-pointing to cloud our judgment and initiatives.
13. In what areas do you think your opponent Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) is weak and has he let your district down?
The community has told us they’re tired of career politicians who have "gone DC" on them. People want to know their representative cares about them and is actively engaged. Rep. Horsford moved his entire immediate family to Virginia. His kids no longer go to school in Las Vegas; they go to school in Virginia. I understand the move is "in the best interest of his family," but then don’t be an elected official for NV04. A move out of state is not in the best interest of the people he’s supposed to be representing.
14. What issues matter to you that you think the Republican Party needs to do a better job of addressing, and how should they address them?
We are supposed to the party of fiscal responsibility and I’m very concerned with our national debt. It’s not something that’s brought up enough and we must get the budget under control. We need to examine where funds are going, where we can reduce costs, and how to best implement this quickly and efficiently.
15. What do you hope to inspire in other elected officials and future leaders to help make America a better place?
I hope other elected officials and future leaders recognize the responsibility we all have as Americans. We are so blessed to live in a country of freedoms. We all have a shared responsibility as Americans to help make our country and communities better. And realizing that, as leaders in the community, we become role models to future generations. Words matter. Actions matter. Character and content matters. My father always reminded me growing up, “Don’t outsmart your common sense.” We must unite to facilitate a common-sense solution for our neighbors and for our families.
16. What can you take from your experience as a successful business owner and apply to politics?
As a business owner, I have learned that as long as everyone shares a common objective, you can work through difficult challenges and with difficult personalities to achieve goals. I have also learned first-hand that if you do what you say, say what you do, and always be focused on providing value, you’ll succeed. For example, when I opened the second location of my shipping store in District 4, my friends who work at the police department half-jokingly told me they give it 60 days before I shut down the store. The location is crime-riden; it’s an area that police call “the triangle.” It has the longest lead times, the most amount of calls, and they told me, “it’s not a matter of IF, but when you get robbed.” We persevered and made sure we equipped ourselves and the store with every safety precaution necessary, and we opened up for business. Our very first customers the day we opened were these two incredibly sweet, older ladies from the apartments across the street. And they were so excited. They needed two things: a place to buy stamps, and a secure place to drop off their outbound mail because they pay their utility bills with a check, envelope, and a stamp. Fast forward nearly 18 months later – we have not been robbed, we have not had our windows busted out, we not been vandalized (unlike others in the area), and it’s because the community knows we are here to help. We are there to provide value. I will take these same principles and apply them to this endeavor. The community knows me not as a politician, but as someone who is there to provide value. I have done that through business, and I’ll do so as a representative in Congress.
17. What can you take from your experience competing in and winning the Miss Nevada pageant?
Pageantry taught me a ton of lessons, but the three main ones are: 1) community matters, 2) if you’re in the public eye, you have a responsibility to be a role model for your community, and 3) if I want to succeed, I have to double down on my strengths. For example, there are four areas of competition in the Miss United States pageant: interview, swimsuit, evening gown, and onstage question. They are all weighted evenly, 25% each. Listen to that again and really break it down…50% of your score is talking! Most people don’t realize this, you just think about the swimsuit and the gown. And while those are important components, I knew that at the state level, everyone is going to look great. So how do I differentiate myself? I doubled down on my strength, worked extensively with an interview coach, and outworked my competition. I focused on my community work, reading in schools, volunteering in hospitals, and promoting my public service platform. I did a ton of community work with my local title, as Miss Las Vegas. So that way, by the time I got to the state pageant, I had already conducted nearly 100 community appearances in a three-month span. I had the chance to sit in the interview portion with each of the judges and tell them about the work I had already done, and how I would continue to do it. The judges knew I was ready to outwork my competition. I won and went on to complete a total of nearly 500 appearances in 18 months. I made it my number one goal and promise to give back and positively impact the community as much as I could. I kept that promise and will continue to give back through an elected official position. The community deserves to have a voice that cares, that listens, and is engaged.
18. What issues are the most important to you, and what do you plan to do with respect to those issues if elected?
Immigration is completely broken. We need to provide more resources to secure our borders and strengthen our national security. We need to help relieve our inundated immigration court system and also develop a comprehensive, work-related plan for efficient and expedited legal immigration.
Veteran Affairs is very important to me, and I want to implement Veteran Affairs Offices, specifically in my District. I have two large Air Force bases in my District. Veterans are the fastest growing population in Clark County. They have sacrificed so much, and we must do right by them.
Gun reform is a serious issue that won’t be fixed with one type of ban or one type of reporting. It’s complex and requires an analytical deep-dive into what laws are currently on the books. Do they actually work? Are they being enforced? As is, could they have prevented these awful mass shootings that have occurred more frequently in recent times? If not, what needs to change? We can’t institute knee-jerk, emotional laws. We must obtain empirical data to better understand how we can prevent evil people from using firearms to hurt others while preserving the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
19. When you are not working, what do you do for fun?
I have two Welsh Corgis and they love to hike. Our favorite spot is Red Rock Canyon. It’s approximately ten minutes away from my house. There are a ton of great trails, and it’s usually about ten degrees cooler than in the city of Las Vegas.