Former Rep. Cresent Hardy says a desire to limit the size of the federal government drew him back to the political arena.
The Republican represented Nevada’s Fourth Congressional District for one term after defeating incumbent Rep. Steven Horsford in 2014. The two square off again in November after incumbent Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen declined to seek re-election following sexual harassment allegations.
Why do you want to return to Congress?
“I think I have some good reasons to run again. Things, like we need to solve our debt and deficit, is a major issue. I believe that needs to happen in Congress. Along with making sure that we support those economic reforms that our president has does a great job of. And look forward to that opportunity.”
Hardy said he wasn’t expecting to run again but after Congressman Kihuen announced he was going to seek re-election he got a lot of pressure to run. However, he wanted a reason to run.
There are a lot of people who say that the tax cuts are just increasing the budget deficit and that even though no more revenues are coming in from the growth in the economy they are not offsetting the drop in tax revenues. What do you think about that?
“I believe that the tax cuts are doing what they were intended to do start to grow the economy again and helping people move forward, giving them a little more opportunity to have a few more dollars to spend which puts money back into our coffers. But we need to do some drastic things with our deficit and make sure that we maybe start cutting 1 percent margins out of each line item somewhere down the line. We need to have the courage in the background to do that."
Do you have any ideas where you might cut?
I kind of like Rand Paul's idea in this last budget go-around of cutting 1 percent out of every line item that discretionary spending.
President Trump had canceled a pay raise for federal employees due to budget concerns. Did you agree with that decision?
I'm not sure whether I agree or disagree with it. I think it's something I would like to see more of. Where things are at. I know that the federal employees have been on a restricted pay raise for quite some time. Once the economy gets to move again, I think there's some opportunities there to look at pay raises for individuals within the government.
Agriculture is pretty big in District 4 which runs from North Las Vegas up to Ely and Tonopah. Are you concerned about Nevada ranchers and farmers and how they might be harmed by some of the administration's aggressive trade policies?
No, I'm not. I actually think we need to make some aggressive policies. And the President's actually said there's going to be some pain in order to get back to where we really need to be with good, fair trade policies. I've talked to a number of people and they think [the agreement with Canada and Mexico is] a good opportunity to get that balance between our North American partners.
Is the tone that's coming out of Washington in regard to immigration leading to fewer people from overseas visiting our state?
“I think we need to make sure that we actually get something done. We've got to stop playing politics with our immigration policies and solve issues that benefit our constituents and our businesses. The visa program is a major issue along with those tourist visas and we need to make sure that we can follow and make sure people don't overstay their visa.
Now when you served in Congress you voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Your campaign website criticizes the ACA but stopped short of advocating a repeal. Is the ACA something that needs fixing or replacing?
“I think the federal government has no place in the healthcare industry. I think that we can help solve issues to make sure that there's balanced opportunities between states. Let states determine how they want their health care issue set up because this one size fits policy the ACA is dysfunction in my opinion and causes nothing but high insurance rates for individuals. I know that for a fact because in my business I had good quality health care for my employees. It was at a low cost and I think we can package those together in the state programs to where state if they want to do certain things and we can work that out.”
He believes a grant system would work best and letting the states determine how they want to tackle the problem.
If you win this seat, you'll have to vote for a new head of the Republican House caucus since Paul Ryan is retiring. How do you think he's done as a speaker and what kind of person would you want to replace him?
“I think Paul Ryan has been a fantastic speaker. I respect the man. He is a true statesman. I've always said that. I know Mr. Ryan. I think he and I will be friends for years to come not just because he was the speaker but I think we've created a good friendship. I hope that the next one is as good a statesman as he has been. Some people might like more anger more direct stuff but coming out of the mouth of the leadership. But I think sometimes you have to do all we can to make sure that we try to involve the other side if they want to be for the majority we still got to move forward with our agenda.”
We keep reading about and hearing about the demise of democracy because there's no compromise and there's such a strong division and that the politicians are working for themselves not for the country or the state as a whole. How do you see yourself?
“I think I'm a proven individual. That I'm a solid in my principles, my morals, my values. I am a constitutional conservative is what I call myself. I believe our founding fathers intended us to work together as individuals. I don't necessarily always agree with the party system. I think we need to elect individuals that are best represent our constituents. I believe in that individual. When I was in the state legislature in my second term it was proven that I could work with the leadership on the other side and we did what was good for the state in Nevada. We tried to leave those issues that divide us out of that session in 2013.”
Hardy said he is willing to stand for issues that are important to him even if he stands alone.
Do you have one example of where you reach across the aisle and worked with Democrats on an issue?
“I think one of the big achievements of Cresent Hardy’s life was the fuel indexing here in this county. That's an issue that typically Republicans would not support or even move forward with. But I was actually the one that carried that piece of legislation through the Assembly and was successful get it to the Assembly and the Senate, which if you look around our city and see all these red cones that are going on right now - even prior to the recovery of the recession - we've had infrastructure going on. And in order to have good quality business environment, you have to have quality infrastructure.”
Hardy pointed to a number of projects that have been funded by the fuel index including the I-11 corridor and the 215 beltway project.
Do you expect to win by finding more votes in the rural parts of the district or from the suburban and urban areas in your district?
“I've got to reach out and work with my constituents in the city. I've had success there. The city is 86 percent of my voting population comes right here out of Las Vegas. I think I’ve proved very well that I represent all the constituents of my district. We had some of the best constituent services right here in this community… As you know my district is one of the most diverse districts in the state, probably one of the most diverse districts across the country and my office actually was a makeup of that district.”
Hardy said when he was in Congress is office was composed of all kinds of people with differing opinions but one focus on helping to solve problems in Nevada.
“That's the obligation of a congressman to represent the people I'm a firm believer in by the people of the people for the peoples.”
The Fourth Congressional District is only eight years old. In each of the elections the people of the district have chosen somebody different. Why do you think that is?
“That's one of the reasons I ran for the first time in 2014. This district is not typically just a solid voting bloc it goes both directions over the years. On presidential years, we know it's a very difficult place for a Republican to win. In nonpresidential years, in the past, it's been one of those where they've reached out and more accepting to the more conservative ideals.
“The thing I like about my district is it's those Blue Dog Democrats that are in my district. I have old North Las Vegas. Just to let you know that my family ancestry is Democrat but I'm a Republican. The party has changed. And so those people that are still looking for representation and want to make sure that we're looking at the individual that are looking for limited efficient government. You know there's a need for government. It's become so bloated and so oversized and so overregulated and taking away the responsibilities of the states.”
Cresent Hardy, congressional candidate
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