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The Nevada State Assembly District 19 is somewhat new after redestricting efforts carved new territory into it in 2011. It now includes a large part of North Las Vegas and the rural areas of Mesquite, Overton, and Logandale. Cresent Hardy (R) is campaigning to return to the State Legislature, representing District 19, after serving his freshman term in 2011.
He recently discussed his campaign in an interview with Mesquite Citizen Journal as did his opponent Felipe Rodriguez (D) whose interview will be available Friday, Oct. 12 on the MCJ.
One of the best things Hardy thinks happened to him in the 2011 Legislature was "to be a part of leadership and responsibilities. I had an opportunity to work in the Ways and Means Committee. Most generally, that's for people who've been there a lot longer than I have," he remarked.
He explained that it's unusual for a freshman representative to hold a position on that committee. "I was told by upper leadership that I had the personality and strength to be able to deal with some of the issues. They felt that my business background would benefit the committee and also the Commerce and Labor (committee)."
When asked what he thought his disappointments were in the 2011 Legislature, Hardy said, "it's been well-publicized and that's prevailing wage." Currently, any construction job funded by governments must pay a higher, union-based wage than those funded by private companies. The prevailing wage law stems from the Davis-Bacon Act in 1931. "At the time it was put in place to discriminate against blacks." Now, he says it benefits mostly unions.
Hardy says the law was set up incorrectly years ago and "needs major reform. I don't have a problem with the wage going into the employees' pocket. My issue is that I shouldn't be paying into unions."
Hardy's construction businesses are considered "open shops" and not "union shops." He says that 85 percent of the businesses in the State of Nevada are open shops.
"My big issue is that I pay my employee health benefits and it costs me from $1.40 to $1.80 an hour for them. It's as good as anything out there. Why do the trades who are self-insured cost between $6 and $12 an hour for the same benefits package? Every year since 2009, we've had about a nine percent increase in prevailing wage in this down economy."
"We know in the rural communities that it doesn't cost that kind of money. Union wages in Nevada are anywhere from $45 to $70 an hour with the benefit package. My people live good lives. To tell me it's a money issue and puts more money in people's pockets, I disagree with that."
Hardy contends that if the prevailing wage was lowered on government contracting jobs, then governments could build more projects. During the previous Legislature, Hardy worked on a bill that would exempt schools from having to pay prevailing wages on their construction projects.
"Do we care about students? Do we care about children? We talk about how schools are falling down around us. We spent $4.7 billion dollars in the State for schools." He says other states have proven they can construct schools for 15 percent less when prevailing wage laws aren't applied. "I'm convinced we could build 25 percent more schools if we weren't paying prevailing wage."
That segued the discussion into overall school funding in the State. He's been criticized by those who say he did not support increased taxes for schools. "I am not against education. I'm against the same old system. You can't keep throwing money against the things that have proven they haven't worked."
"People talk about education being underfunded in the State of Nevada. That's a blatant lie. Yes, the State only pays $5,200 per student. But people don't understand that education in the State gets money from other things that other states don't have, mining and other places. It's closer to $11,000, $12,000 or $13,000 per student, per year."
After lauding good teachers, Hardy continued by saying, "we can't continue to have bad teachers and bad administrators. I want to have an incentive type pay (system). We tried to do that in the last session. We were told we accomplished a lot. I didn't feel like it was anywhere close to what we wanted."
He discussed the merits of school vouchers and commented that "unions hate that. The private sector has proven they can do a better job that the public sector."
He refused to offer an opinion
on the upcoming property tax bond issue that's on the November ballot and would provide school construction funds in Clark County. "That's the choice of the people. It comes out of their pocket. Let them decide that."
He discussed a wide variety of government oversight issues, repeating his opt-used phrase that "government closest to the people is the best government."
Another criticism Hardy receives is that the reason he is running for the State Assembly is to benefit his private business interests. "I want someone to show me where I've ever benefited any where from being in any public office. It has cost my company and the people in my company money every time I've been involved. They talk about me in the papers but no one has ever come to me to find out the truth."
As a life-long resident of the Virgin Valley, Hardy has strong feelings against designating Gold Butte as a conservation-type area. "Look around and see what's happening in every other monument areas. Ask yourself why they do it. It closes things off. Once it goes under (the designation) it becomes an administrative deal. Once Congress acts, you have no authority to go back to Congress. Now as it stands, if the BLM wants to close a road they have to involve (local citizens). We do a better job of taking care of it. "There is nothing in Gold Butte that meets Wilderness designation."
"There's no damage out there. I defy anyone to see the damage. We hear about the vandalism at the petroglyphs. It's sad. But we still have major vandalism at Red Rocks (National Conservation Area). We spend tens of millions of dollars every year at Red Rocks. Does it do any better job than we do ourselves?"
"The government has shown itself to be a poor steward of the land. Wildlife, everything, functions better when it's in local hands with local people understanding how things work."
"Harry Reid is on a stance to turn this whole state into wilderness. The Federal government should not be in the business of owning land," Hardy declared. He added that 86 percent of the land in Nevada is owned by the government even though their job is to sell it off and allow local and state governments to reap the benefit of the property taxes from the private owners. He also said that if he's re-elected to the Assembly, he will push for that to happen. "We can't afford not to."
He says the needs of his constituents in urban and rural areas are easily balanced. "Once I'm voted in, I also represent the State. What is best for the State overall is best for my constituents too."
He likes the idea of the solar power plant China is proposing to build near Laughlin but not at the expense of coal-fired power plants. "Folks have the choice. I believe that coal is fine. It's a clean burning source. It creates jobs (at the Reid-Gardner coal-fired power plant near Moapa) and everywhere else. It's proven that they are 99.9 percent clean."
He doesn't agree with government subsidies for 'green' energy sources. "Let the free market takes its place and use those dollars for where they are supposed to go."
He agrees with nixing the Virgin River Habitat Conservation Recovery Plan (VRHCRP) and going with Clark County's plan that would cover habitat mitigation along the Virgin River. "I agree with one fee, one plan. I think our money should be spent right here locally with the money that comes out of this area. For years, there's been a ton of money that's come out of here for the Clark County Plan and no one really knows where it goes."
He added that even though the Mesquite and Bunkerville would be part of the Clark County Plan, the Virgin Valley could use the money to manage the habitat locally.
"I think the C-Tax needs to be revisited," Hardy said about the State's Consolidated Tax formula that collects local taxes, sends them to the State, and then re-distributes them under a formula based on population counts.
He believes that all the communities that benefit from the C-tax are "on board" to revise the formula and create more fair distribution amounts.
If he's elected to the Assembly, he wants to work with Governor Sandoval to revise State and government regulations for private businesses. "I think we're going to find out that we have a real financial challenge ahead of us. There may be more cuts. There may be issues about raising more taxes. Entitlements may have to be reduced to save the budget."
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 Interesting article but all stuff he has said before. What he didn't say is what specifically will he do in the next session? He probably won't answer because he hasn't got his marching orders from the party leaders. By: Smart Voter
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 If you want to elect one of the good old boys and have everything stay like it was benefiting only special interests, this is your man. By: Vic M
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 Look at his record. Look at his record. He introduced only bills that do nothing for Mesquite. One to prevent people from voting, one to limit pay for his construction workers and one to help the good old boys out in Bunkerville. Absolutely nothing in these tough economic times but following orders from his puppet masters. Hardy might be a nice guy but he is a lousy politician. By: Paul
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 I can't believe mr. hardy supports coal. This is not the industrial revolution mr. Hardy. I have emphezema and coal kills tens of thousands. Do you want to be responsible for that? Yes, please give us a choice. In Mesquite we want more solar and less Overton Power Company. Thats my choice what are you going to do about that? Coal is for the middle ages. By: Gloria
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 Cresent went bankrupt with his businesses and hides his name from any offical business filing. I don't want this the kind of guy in charge of my money. He is a back room closed door wheeler and dealer for his buddies. By: Mike
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 Cresents world view is to keep everything as it was in pioneer days on only do business that profits his closed special group. We will never get anywhere with guys like Cresent. By: Larry
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 I see Hardy is not complaining about his good old boy buddies at Overton power making $70, 80, $100 an hour that we all have to pay for. Cutting the prevailing wage means Hardy makes more money while workers make less. Not raising holy hell about Overton Power proves he is firmly on the side of the good old boys. He can have it both ways. By: Stan
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 When I vote for someone, I expect them to work for me and my communitys issues. Cresent Hardy has shown by his last term that he could care less about Mesquite. By: Kathy
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 If thats all Cresent Hardy did while in the government, it doesn't make any sense to vote for him. By: Vicky
Posted Date: 10/11/2012 I saw Cresent Hardy hanging with all the good old boys at the town hall meeting about the power company, laughing and joking with the very guys that caused the problems for us. He has never spoken out against the good old boys that ripped us off on the library land deal, the VVWD board members that ripped them off for a million, the power company that is grossly mismanaged. Our assemblyman needs to be for all the people not just his buddies. Our assemblyman needs to speak up when things are wrong. Hardy has shown me he won't do that. By: Eddie