Published Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 | 4:21 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 | 6:15 p.m.
A discussion on criminal justice reform brought House Speaker Paul Ryan to Nevada today, where he joined a GOP House candidate facing a competitive race this midterm election.
Former Rep. Cresent Hardy and Ryan visited nonprofit organization Hope for Prisoners for a private roundtable on reform and programs that help people rejoin communities after serving time for crimes. In remarks before the discussion, Ryan said the House has passed prison and criminal justice reform legislation that is awaiting action in the Senate.
“Cresent Hardy, we worked on these issues in Congress before,” Ryan said. “I’m excited to see you going back so you can continue working on these things.”
The roundtable included local law enforcement, as well as Hope for Prisoners officials and graduates, other nonprofit groups and local and state law enforcement officials.
Ryan and Hardy said they both have ties to Hope for Prisoners going back years and lauded the nonprofit’s successes. Ryan praised the group’s cooperation with local law enforcement.
“We believe that we need to do more to redeem people within our communities and to help people get back on their feet, get back to redemption and to find great lives,” Ryan said. “This gives us hope that there are phenomenal answers already out there in communities that show us how to do this.”
Hardy said the organization’s CEO, Jon Ponder, was one of the most courageous people he’d met. The former congressman also said Ryan was someone he expects to be “good friends with for the rest of our lives.”
“He’s one of the best statesmen I’ve ever met,” Hardy said. “He’s done a wonderful job in a challenging environment at best, and he took on the challenges that really nobody else tried to do.”
Hardy is again running against Democrat Steven Horsford in the 4th Congressional District, which was added after the 2010 Census.
Hardy won the seat from Horsford during a Republican wave in 2014 before losing it in 2016 to Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who decided not to run for reelection after he was accused of harassment.
Horsford’s campaign has been touting a poll by Global Strategy Group, whose clients include major Democratic candidates and groups, that shows him up 10 points against Hardy.
While the district leans blue in active voter registrations, Democrats have to contend with historically strong GOP turnout in midterm elections.
“We are taking nothing for granted, but this is good news for Steven Horsford and ominous for an already out of touch Cresent Hardy,” Horsford campaign manager Matt McKnight said in a statement Tuesday on the new poll.
Early voting for the Nov. 6 election starts Oct. 20. People can register via mail by Oct. 8, in person by Oct. 16 and online by Oct. 18.