We reached out to just about every candidate that we ranked with a questionnaire specific to the office they are running for. Here are the answers Ms. Melissa Hardy provided.
Ms. Melissa Hardy is a Republican. She's running to represent Nevada's 22nd Assembly District.
Tell us about your background. What are your qualifications for this position?
Having been born and raised in Las Vegas, I grew up in a completely different political environment. It was a time where “Independent like Nevada” was actually true. It has been frustrating watching the changes to Nevada over my lifetime, especially Governor Sisolak’s infringement on our Constitutional Rights during the Covid shutdowns.
My husband and I owned and operated a small business in Henderson for over 15 years. My daughters and I attended public schools in Clark County, and it has been discouraging to see how far out of touch with students’ educational needs CCSD has fallen.
I graduated from UNLV, earning a Bachelors in Hospitality Administration and Business Management from UNLV. I worked in both the hospitality industry and the legal field for many years, before opening our family run business.
I was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2018 and have served in two regular sessions and three special sessions, all under Democrat control. Being in the minority has been difficult. I have served as a member of the Commerce and Labor, Education, Government Affairs, and Judiciary committees during the 2019 and 2021 sessions, as well as the Interim Education and Commerce and Labor Committees, Veterans Services Commission, and the Child Support Committee during the interims. Being in a deep minority, most of my efforts have been to stop bills that come from the Democrats’ national agenda, or at least mitigate their bad bills. I am fortunate to have had some success with passing legislation that has saved Nevada families money.
Do you agree or disagree with the measures taken by state officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? What do you think should have been done or done differently?
When the pandemic first hit, the response for the first 2-3 weeks was somewhat understandable. Nobody knew for sure what we were dealing with, what the virus was capable of, how the virus was being passed and what appropriate actions should be taken. Within the first few weeks, we had a lot of those answers, and we should have reevaluated and corrected mistakes that were first made.
As elected officials it is our responsibility to serve our constituents and make decisions in their best interests. Nevada’s system of checks and balances is imperative to that role, and they were not followed for two years. The Governor’s use of the “emergency powers” law for so long was unprecedented and unneeded, giving too much power to one individual.
Nevada lost balance as the actions taken by the Governor required no input, oversight, or consideration from legislators or local governments. We cannot allow this to ever happen again, so we need to change the laws that made this possible. It was maddening to watch how our restrictions followed whatever California decided to do. You can believe in, and listen to, public health officials but still make the decisions that best suit your state and your communities.
I believe that great challenges often bring great opportunities, and in this sense, Nevada should be putting together a pandemic response plan that takes into account everything we learned from this crisis; we have to do things differently, more effectively, and with input from the legislative branch and local elected officials. I believe we should have quarantined the infected as opposed to shutting the state down.
Many voters are unhappy with our public school system. What policies or actions would you prescribe to repair or replace the existing system? Do you support “school choice” policies such as educational savings accounts? Why or why not?
Yes, I absolutely support school choice policies. I prefer to say educational system choice, so it incorporates online and home schooling choice. Not all families want to be in a traditional school type setting. I believe in educational freedom for parents and students.
I believe our education system is fundamentally broken. We have reached a point where we can no longer pretend that it’s a question of dollars and cents, but rather where those dollars and cents are going. I believe that our education system must truly change, if we are ever going to improve. CCSD needs to be broken up into smaller more manageable districts that can focus on the needs of their students. Education dollars must actually reach the classroom, and accountability measures must be put back in place to make sure our tax dollars are being used to really impact our student’s education. Parents make the best decisions for their child; it is our responsibility and our right.
I would also add that we can’t look at education in a silo, that it affects virtually everything else that we do as a state. It’s a huge part of economic development and a big part of the reason why Nevada has struggled when it comes to further diversifying our economy. We need to look at education, workforce development and economic diversity together. These issues can be worked on in parallel and should not be mutually exclusive.
Please briefly describe your political philosophy. What are your guiding principles?
I believe in the smallest government possible, with officials that are honest, have integrity, and understand that their job is to listen and learn from their community and then represent their interests. As a representative, I simply can’t be an expert in every field, so I am loyal to principles and commonsense, not an ideology. I look at every piece of legislation that comes to my desk for a vote and think long and hard about how this is going to impact my constituents and the state.
Many voters are concerned about inflation and its impact. What could be done at the state or national level to address the root causes of inflation or mitigate its impact on the public?
I hate to say this but there are a limited number of things that we can do at the state level. On a national level, the federal government needs to stop printing money that pumps trillions of “fake” dollars into the economy for selected industries that are in line with their agenda. The federal government causes inflation because they deficit-spend and then print money to make up the difference. Every dollar printed while we are in a deficit, dilutes the value of every dollar already in circulation and drives inflation. The obvious long-term solution is to quit spending more money than they take in. We are supposed to have a FREE market economy with government involvement limited to keeping the playing field equal for everyone.
At the state level, I will work to combat rising costs however I can. I will fight for low taxes, especially on the broad-based taxes that affect us all. We can look at reforming gas, property, and other local taxes so that Nevadans can keep more of their paychecks. We can reduce regulations to keep the cost down of doing business. Eliminating or minimizing regulations on small businesses will drive economic growth and reduce costs for business owners, workers, and consumers. These are solutions that we, as state representatives can implement to mitigate increasing costs to your families.
What would be your top priorities in the Nevada state legislature?
My priorities are largely the same as when I was first elected –
- - changing and improving our public education system while also allowing families to opt out of it.
- - public safety and getting a handle on the crime rate that has continued to increase since the last legislative session.
- - strengthening and diversifying our economy to allow for an atmosphere that brings new industries to the state and creates quality, high paying jobs for all Nevadans.
Who or what are the largest political special interests in Nevada, and which of these do you see as having a positive or negative influence?
The largest special interest groups in Nevada are the various Unions and the Hospitality Industry. I think three of our most important industries in Nevada today are gaming, construction, and healthcare. All three are vitally important to the economic and practical functionality of our state.