Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 | 5:45 p.m.
Republican Assemblyman Cresent Hardy wants voters in the northern Las Vegas Valley and much of rural Nevada to pick him as their congressman this November.
The 56-year-old businessman from Mesquite formally launched his campaign Tuesday to oust first-term Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat who represents Nevada’s 4th Congressional District.
Hardy is running on a platform of creating a better business environment, which he says will reduce Nevada’s 8.8 percent unemployment rate.
“The greatest amount of prosperity occurs when there’s a free, open market society and there’s minimal government regulation, so with that the first thing I want to try to do is promote the opportunity for job creation or expansion,” he said. “That helps pay for the things that we want to do to take care of the nation’s most needy.”
In his two terms as an assemblyman, Hardy said he’s learned to work with Democrats on issues that are important to him.
He said he’s been frustrated with Horsford’s votes, which he says too often align with Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama.
Here are some of Hardy's positions:
• Congressional increases in the borrowing limit must come with reductions in the federal budget.
“We should have a balanced budget amendment just like the states do,” he said. “Every state has to balance their budget. Why does the federal government not have to? It shouldn’t be like an open checkbook.”
• Hardy supports a “flat tax” that applies equally to all taxpayers.
“The more you purchase, the more you’re going to pay in taxes, and those people, when they buy something, they’re paying their fair share,” he said. “Those who can’t afford as much only pay their portion.”
• Hardy opposes same-sex marriage, and says it should be a state decision.
“I will always vote against same sex marriage because of my religious beliefs, the way I was raised,” said Hardy, who is Mormon. “For me to vote for it would be to deny the same God that I believe in.”
• Hardy also would oppose the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a federal measure that would make it a crime for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity, adding that language to a list of federally protected classes. In 2011, Hardy voted against a similar law in Nevada; Horsford supported it.
“When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow,” he said. “By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws.”
• He supports allowing immigrants in the country illegally to gain legal status if they pay a penalty. He also supports citizenship for children of immigrants illegally brought to the country by their parents.
He said he’d like to see Congress act on this type of legislation now.
Hardy looks to have a tough race against Horsford.
In 2012, Obama won 54.4 percent of the vote in the 4th Congressional District and Horsford won by 20,000 votes. Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 37,000 active voters, according to the state data for January.
“Yes, it will be a challenge with the demographics of it, but that’s how you get out there and reach out and get people to know you,” Hardy said. “My personality and my issues, the policies that I’m working toward, I firmly believe resonate with the majority of the voters throughout the district.”
Hardy also faces a primary challenge from Niger Innis, a Republican who declared in January that he’s running for office in the 4th Congressional District.
Hardy has the backing of Nevada Republicans such as Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei.
CORRECTION: This story originally listed Rep. Joe Heck as having endorsed Hardy. | (February 19, 2014)