Hardy’s Disgraceful First Term In Nevada Assembly?

Former U.S. Rep. Cresent Hardy is reviving a 2014 campaign strategy that helped him defeat former Rep. Steven Horsford in their rematch on tap for November.

Hardy congratulates Clivan Bundy 2014

Hardy has kicked off an invitation only four-day “Nevada Tough” tour that stops in seven counties and 10 cities, with the focus on Nevada’s rural areas like Mesquite, Pioche, Alamo, Round Mountain, Tonopah, and Hawthorne.

“At the end of the day, the people who call this district home are extremely tough and resilient,” Hardy campaign manager Ross Hemminger said. “While people like Mr. Horsford look at our state as a temporary destination — a steppingstone to something else — many of us have chosen to lay down roots, raise families and work here.”

Here is what Hardy wants people to forget about his first term in the Nevada Assembly. Hardyfavored smokers, ignored the pleas of educators to stabilize funding, attempted to reduce wages for workers on rural public works projects, voted against prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing based upon gender, joined other Republicans in arguing that people enjoy too many entitlements, and blamed the press for making the community a joke.

Hardy supported legislation (signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval) to allow smokers to drink, eat a snack or a full meal at the same time in some restaurant areas. He took this view even though the Campaign for Smoke Free Kids reports that smoking costs Nevadans $565 million-a-year or about $554 per household and causes a loss of Nevada productivity of an estimated $903 million. These amounts do not include health costs from exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking-caused fires, smokeless tobacco use, or cigar and pipe smoking. Tobacco use also imposes additional costs such as workplace productivity losses and damage to property.

Hardy voted no on a bill to ensure enough funding for K-12 public education for the 2011-2013 biennium. He disagreed with the claim that Nevadans spends less per pupil than other states arguing that Nevada provides somewhere between $9,000 and $14,000 per student thus ranking education in Nevada at 26th in the nation. “I think we have a fair budget for education,” Hardy commented at his June Town Hall meeting.

However, the 2010 annual survey by Education Week magazine ranks Nevada 50th in the nation for the quality of its public K-12 education and gives Nevada an overall report card score of D. The nation earned a C. Nevada’s overall score was dragged down in four main categories: 1) potential for success, 2) K-12 achievement, 3) ratio of teachers to students need and 4) school finance. Nevada ranks 48th in the nation in education spending. On average Nevada, politicians spend one-third the nation’s average and have a higher average teacher to student ratio (19.41 versus 15.38). According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Nevada students in grades 4 and 8 are below average in math, reading, science, and writing.

If one focuses on overall outcome instead of spending input, it’s clear to see why Nevada is ranked so low. To that end, Hardy joined in supporting a bill that required the Board of Regents to increase their focus on auditing. In another piece of legislation, (Assembly Bill 222) he agreed to install a four-tier educator evaluation system. A four-tier system represents a shift from the current binary system that classifies teachers as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. The new categories include highly effective, effective, minimally effective and ineffective.

While in the State Assembly Hardy introduced a bill (AB 312) on a prevailing wage to improve the benefits to contractors and reduce costs on public work projects. The bill died in committee.

Specifically, the bill attempted to reduce overtime expenses for contractors and eliminate collective bargaining on overtime for workers on public works projects. Also, the bill attempted to modify the way the Labor Commissioner sets prevailing wages for public works projects performed in a county. The intent was to build into the Commission’s survey the lower wages paid to workers in rural areas.

Hardy voted against a bill that prohibited discrimination in employment and housing based upon gender. The record doesn’t show why a state legislator would vote against discrimination. Perhaps it’s because discrimination is adequately covered by the federal and constitutional law. Nonetheless, bills such as this are often introduced to tease out a legislators’ biases.

Hardy publicly stated that the state and nation are teetering on a slippery slope because of an attitude of entitlements. Entitlements are a hot topic between Republican and Democrats these days. Nationally, Republicans seem to be after Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Nationally, Democrats have offered up cuts in defense and farm, livestock and dairy subsidies in addition to ending tax breaks for the oil and other industries.

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