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North Carolina Legislator Profile: UPDATED 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. Hardister played a key role in the recent ambush vote to override the Governor’s veto of the 2019 Republican budget. Hardister texted rank-and-file Republicans to “be in your seats” during the floor session in which Rep. David Lewis told Democrats there would be no votes. Hardister’s participation in the deception on September 11, 2019, is just the latest on a long list of times he said one thing but did another.

Hardister was a key supporter and sponsor of the 2019 Republican Medicaid expansion bill, until it actually began to move through the committee hearing process. He also voted twice against protecting health care coverage for people with preexisting conditions and blocked an effort to increase price transparency for prescription medications. Hardister’s flip-flop on health care is nothing new.

Hardister expressed regret for a 2013 budget vote after learning “how hard teachers work.” However, he went on to vote for more Republican budgets that shortchange public education by failing to raise teacher pay to the national average or adequately fund classroom spending.

Hardister likes to harp on redistricting reform as a talking point but repeatedly supports unconstitutional districts that suppress voters’ electoral power. 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.

“As Hardister knows well, North Carolina’s motto is “Esse quam videri”— “To be, rather than to seem.” I’m starting to suspect that he has it the other way around.” -Greensboro News & Record, Opinion, 10/13/19

Photo: Jon Hardister on YouTube
Summary: 

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

  • Hardister flip-flopped on Medicaid expansion, supporting a version with work requirements and then rejecting it once the bill began moving through the committee hearing process.
  • Hardister voted down a measure that would have protected access to affordable health care for North Carolinians with preexisting conditions.
  • At a time when drug prices are skyrocketing, Hardister voted down one method of mitigating costs.
  • Hardister voted for the Senate version of H933 that critics warned would open the door for health insurance to discriminate against those with pre-existing health conditions, offer skimpy benefits, and come with few or no consumer protections.
  • Hardister voted to block Medicaid expansion, preventing 500,000 eligible citizens from receiving health care, 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 supported Republican budgets that shortchange teachers by failing 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 that equated 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 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 here.