N.C. Policy Watch is chatting with some of the newest members of the N.C. General Assembly to offer a bit more insight on who they are and what they plan on doing this session in Raleigh. This will be an ongoing feature, with the goal of profiling all the new members. Haven’t been contacted for your profile yet? New legislators can contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: state Rep. Jon Hardister
Occupation: works in marketing for First Carolina Mortgage, as well as real estate investments
Lives in: Greensboro
Hobbies: enjoys working out, playing guitar and listening to music
Previous elected offices, if any: No.
Why’d you run for office? “I kind of fell into it. I’ve had an interest in politics for a long time. I was concerned about the direction of our state and with the economy and unemployment being so high.” Thought he was too young at first, but ran in 2010 when he was 27, and lost. Won in 2012 elections, didn’t have an opponent in the general election. He’s now 30.
What are the major challenges this year?
“The major challenge I think is going to be keeping up with all the information. There are a lot of topics, and issues we’re going to be facing. You don’t want to vote on something unless you know what you’re going to vote on. Every night I look at bills, do research, and then you have lobbyists coming at you with more information. It’s the sheer volume of information you need to keep up with.”
Any one issue stand out?
“I’m mostly concerned about the economy. Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation. I’m a fiscal conservative and I think we need to reform our tax code and work to create a business-friendly climate. Government doesn’t create jobs, but it creates an environment for jobs.” Wants to lessen tax burden on citizens and keep money in the private sector.
How do you feel about:
- Voter ID? In favor. “Requiring a photo ID (to vote) is reasonable as long as we do it the right way. We need to work to protect the integrity of our elections. There was to be a way to ensure that those people who don’t have ID can be provided one”
- Medicaid expansion? Not in favor. “This is another one of those topics that’s very tough. People have legitimate concerns on each side. Ultimately, I decided to vote against the expansion because the federal government would pay for the expansion for the first three years but our federal government is in debt. If we take money from the federal government, we’re contributing to that debt. There would be increased bureaucracy. We need to work on improving our current system and this out to be a bipartisan effort. It’s not a good idea to expand a system that needs to be addressed and analyzed.”
- Funding of North Carolina’s public schools “Obviously we need to make sure that the public schools have funding to carry out the education for our students. This is the largest part of our budget. But when you look at it, you look at where the funding is going and teachers, unfortunately, don’t make enough money. Teachers ought to be able to make a lot of money. There may be too much money going to the bureaucracy of education and not enough going to the classroom teacher.” In favor of charter schools, and more school choice.
- Eliminating the corporate and/or personal income tax? “Tax reform is extremely important to make our state competitive. At this point in time, there’s been a few ideas out there floating around and I’d like to see what lands on the table and determine what is the best option.”
What historical or other figures have influenced your politics?
Presidents Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
If you had to give your brand of politics a label, what would it be?
Says he’s not a fan of party politics, but considers himself a conservative Libertarian, and moderate on social issues.
Something about you most people don’t know:
He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, but really enjoys singing. He sings karaoke when he has a chance and occasionally sings with bands.