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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

Jon Hardister, the House Majority Whip and close ally of Speaker Tim Moore, was elected to represent Guilford County in 2012.

Since his election to the General Assembly, Hardister supported Republican budgets that shortchange public education by failing to meaningfully raise teacher salaries or fund classrooms. In 2017, the Republican budget gave no raises to beginning teachers and a 0.6 percent raise to experienced teachers— the equivalent of “just a tank of gas.” He has also supported moves to end tenure while asserting that having an advanced degree “does not necessarily make a teacher more effective.” Hardister called the 2017 budget “a commitment to public education.” This “commitment to public education” did not include a stipend to aid teachers with out-of-pocket expenses. After voting to pass the 2013 budget—which similarly failed to adequately fund schools— Hardister said he came to regret his vote after “experiencing firsthand how hard the teachers work.”

Hardister voted to deny affordable insurance to thousands. In 2013, he and the Republicans voted to block a fully-funded Medicaid expansion that covered half a million North Carolinians. Studies said this failure to expand affordable healthcare would cost the state $15 billion in new economic activity and 455 to 1,145 lives per year. Hardister later said it would be “unwise” to expand Medicaid and that we need to be “cautious about expanding the role of government in healthcare.” In 2018, Hardister and House Republicans used a loophole on a non-controversial bill to attempt to dismantle coverage for pre-existing conditions. By adding an amendment to an unrelated school psychologist licensure bill, Republicans tried to pass a statute that would discriminate against those with pre-existing health conditions, offer skimpy benefits, and come with few or no consumer protections.   

Hardister likes to harp on redistricting reform as a talking point but chose to repeatedly support unconstitutional districts that suppress voters’ electoral power. He has sponsored three independent redistricting bills, but they all stalled in committee. To avoid “double-bunking” with incumbent Guilford representative John Faircloth, Hardister moved, even though he says he believes the “seats don’t belong to us, they belong to the people.” After both the 2011 and 2017 legislative maps were struck down by the courts, Hardister said he believed the maps were “in compliance with the law.” He also helped draw the 2016 congressional maps that were later thrown out in court. When Sen. Trudy Wade tried to pass a Greensboro City Council redistricting bill, Hardister said he would oppose the bill. He “caved when it counted,” changing his vote at the last minute.

Read more here.

Photo: Greensboro News & Record

Hardister supported Republican budgets that shortchange teachers by failing to raise teacher salaries to the national average, instead prioritizing tax cuts for corporations 

  • The 2017 Republican budget gave beginning teachers no raise and only a 0.6 percent raise to experienced teachers, equating to “just a tank of gas”
  • Hardister called the 2017 budget a “commitment to public education.”
  • This “commitment to education” did not include a stipend to help teachers with out-of-pocket expenses in the classroom.
  • At a public forum, Hardister said he would love to “double teacher salaries,” but was ridiculed and heckled.
  • After voting to pass the 2013 budget, Hardister saw firsthand how hard the teachers work and said he came to regret his vote.
  • Hardister has supported moves that would end teacher tenure and believes advanced degrees should not factor into a teacher’s salary, saying it makes “more sense to pay and retain teachers based on their overall performance, rather than their education background.”

Hardister supports policies that hurt low and middle-income North Carolinians by failing to provide adequate health insurance.

  • Hardister voted to block Medicaid expansion, preventing 500,000 eligible citizens from receiving healthcare, saying it would be “unwise.”
  • Blocking Medicaid expansion would cost an estimated 455 to 1,145 lives per year and make it more difficult for employers to offer affordable private insurance.
  • Hardister also voted for the Senate version of H933 that critics warned would open the door for health insurance that would discriminate against those with pre-existing health conditions, offer skimpy benefits, and come with few or no consumer protections.
  • North Carolina has the third most expensive health care in the US, according to a 2017 study.

Hardister likes to use redistricting as a talking point, but voted to support unconstitutional federal, state, and county legislative districts and judicial districts that diminish voters’ electoral power.

  • Hardister said the 2011 and 2017 legislative maps that were both partially struck down by the courts were “in compliance with the law.”
  • Hardister helped draw 2016 congressional maps that were also struck down by federal judges
  • Hardister “caved when it counted” on Greensboro City Council districts, supporting them at the last minute after vocalizing opposition for months.
  • Hardister voted for a judicial redistricting bill that redrew Superior Court, District Court, and prosecutorial districts in North Carolina while diminishing voters’ electoral power.

Read more on Hardister here.