Issues

Here is a list of legislative accomplishments along with policy ideas for North Carolina. This information should help to outline where I stand on issues that are important to our citizens.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

It is important for the General Assembly to enact policies that will promote job creation and strengthen our economy. In order to do this, we need to keep taxes low and prevent government from over-regulating the private sector. Our goal must be to create more job opportunities for all of our citizens.

Accomplishments:

  • Reformed and simplified North Carolina’s tax code. The tax burden has been reduced on citizens and businesses. According to the Tax Foundation, North Carolina now has one of the best tax climates in the nation.
  • Reduced regulations that were having a negative impact on small businesses. Numerous bills have been passed in recent years that reformed or eliminated a variety of unnecessary regulations.
  • Promoted job-specific education and worked to strengthen our transportation system. It is important to have an education work force and a transportation system that facilitates commerce.

Further Solutions:

  • Ensure that our tax rates remain competitive with other states.
  • Continue working to update and streamline regulations that affect the private sector.
  • Increase job-specific training in high schools, community colleges and universities.

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY

It is important to ensure that state government operates in way that is efficient and cost-effective. This includes being responsible with tax dollars, balancing the budget responsibly, and keeping our state debt low. We must invest wisely in the core services of government.

Accomplishments:

  • The budget has been balanced responsibly in recent years while spending on the core services of government (education, transportation, public safety, etc) have increased. This has been done while also reducing the tax burden on our citizens.
  • Increased our state reserves account to approximately $1.6 billion. This is funding that would be used in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or an economic recession.
  • Maintained a AAA credit rating from all three agencies (we are one of only a few states in this position) while keeping our debt burden low. We have also paid over $2.5 billion in debt to the federal government.

Further Solutions:

  • Continue to focus on balancing the budget responsibly while allocating tax dollars to core services.
  • Maintain a healthy reserve account in case of an emergency.
  • Keep our debt low and maintain a strong credit rating.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

We need to have a strong education in order to make sure that we are producing a workforce that is ready for success. All levels of education must be supported and operated efficiently. Not only do we have a moral obligation to make sure that children are learning, it is necessary in order to ensure that North Carolina  is ready to compete in a 21st century economy.

Accomplishments:

  • Enhanced eduction funding by nearly $2 billion since 2011. Education funding comprises over 50 percent of the state budget.
  • Increased teacher pay by an average of 13 percent since 2013. Teacher pay steps have been restored and average teacher pay will soon exceed $50,000 per year.
  • Provided parents with more control over their child’s education. Low-income families and students with disabilities now have more options for education.

Further Solutions:

  • Establish rigorous education standards, but refrain from over-testing students.
  • Empower teachers to have more freedom to teach in the classroom.
  • Utilize advances in technology in order to promote digital learning.
  • Work with businesses to promote job-specific education.

HEALTH CARE

There is no question that health care is a complex topic, and we need to take steps to allow more access to quality health care for our citizens. But allowing the government expand bureaucracy and take control of our health care system is not the answer. Much of the health care debate is based on federal policy, but there are some policy measures that can taken at the state level.

Accomplishments:

  • Reformed our Medicaid system by increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  • Opted-out of expanding Medicaid, which would have increased bureaucracy and put our taxpayers at risk of financial burdens.
  • Chose not to establish a state health care exchange (in complicance with Obamacare), which would have put our taxpayers on the hook for potential pitfalls in the system.

Note: There have clearly been serious problems related to Obamacare. Health care cost continue to rise for working-class families, and health care companies are learning the exchange markets. It is clear that Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with a system that promotes more options and better access to health care.

Further Solutions:

  • Increase funding for mental health treatment, which affects thousands of families in North Carolina.
  • Provide support for those who are truly vulnerable, such as those who have a developmental disability.
  • Encourage the federal government to reform federal health care regulations.

TRANSPORTATION

We must have a sound transportation system in order to facility commerce and increase our quality of life. Businesses often consider the quality of our roads and bridges before they locate in our State. We also need to make sure that our roads are safe to travel.

Accomplishments:

  • Ended the transfer of the Highway Fund to the General Fund. This ensures that highway funding is spent on projects related to transportation.
  • Mandated that transportation project be driven by data rather than politics.
  • Modernized DMV operations and allowed people to renew their license online.

Further Solutions:

  • Continue to make sure that gas tax revenue is allocated to transportation projects.
  • Utilize public service campaigns to promote road traffic safety.
  • Maintain funding for driver’s education in our public schools.

PUBLIC SAFETY

It goes with our saying that public safety is an important role of state government. We must ensure that law enforcement have the tools necessary to keep us safe while also operating our judicial system efficiently. People have a right to feel safe and protected in our society.

Accomplishments:

  • Increased pay for State Troopers and provided more funding for law enforcement.
  • Provided funding to modernize our state court system.
  • Enhanced penalties for sex crimes, including human trafficking and crimes against students.

Further Solutions:

  • Continue to ensure that law enforcement have the tools necessary to protect our safety.
  • Remove, as much as possible, politics from law enforcement activity.
  • Increase the usage of technology in forensic services and court procedures.

OTHER ISSUES

Supporting Veterans

The state legislature has taken action to support veterans in North Carolina. These steps include the creation of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; providing in-state tuition for veterans at North Carolina community colleges and universities; allowing military experience to convert to college credit and professional licensing; and creating Veteran Treatment Courts.

Economic Growth

North Carolina has had one of the fastest growing economies in the nation over the past few years. Our state GDP is strong and the private sector has created over 300,000 net new jobs since 2013. Job creation in our State has comfortably exceeded the national average in recent years. North Carolina ranks #2 in Forbes Magazine for economic environment. We also have a strong ranking from CNBC, Site Selection, Ernst & Young.

Upholding Our Constitution

One of the primary responsibilities that I have as a legislator is protecting and defending both the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina Constitution. For example, I have supported our 2nd Amendment rights, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. I have also supported the rights of people to “enjoy the fruits of their labor,” which is guaranteed in North Carolina’s constitution.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments on issues related to public policy. I am always open for discussion and new ideas. Your input and feedback are important to me.

Rep. Jon Hardister

P.O. Box 4113
Greensboro, NC 27404
jonhardister@gmail.com


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PRESS RELEASE: Rep. Jon Hardister Releases Statement on Judicial Redistricting

September 19, 2017

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford, Majority Whip), who serves on the House Select Committee on Judicial Redistricting, released the following statement regarding judicial redistricting efforts in the North Carolina General Assembly:

In reviewing the judicial districts in North Carolina, it is clear that we need to update and streamline the system. My focus is on the judicial system in Guilford County, which desperately needs to be updated.

There are five Superior Court districts in Guilford County. These districts have not been updated since 2001. As a result, the populations of these districts are very disproportionate.

The population of Guilford County's five Superior Court districts are as follows:

18 A: 62,406
18 B: 108,936
18 C: 128,853
18 D: 85,509
18 E: 102,702

These districts have extreme disparities in their populations, which is unacceptable. It is not fair to the voters and it is not fair to the judicial candidates. The variance in population in two of these districts is two-to-one.

This needs to be updated so the districts are balanced in population, which will result in more equity for voters and judicial candidates. These districts need to be balanced in population.

As for the Guilford County District Courts, we currently have 14 judges who are elected countywide. This also needs to be updated.

It is very difficult for candidates to run countywide for District Court. Guilford County is currently over 500,000 in population and it is growing. It is expensive and rigorous for judicial candidates to run a countywide race.

If you are a voter in Guilford County, it is difficult to keep up with 14 District Court judges to vote for across the county. Voters are often confused by the large number of district court judges to choose from. This needs to be simplified.

It would be better to elect District Court judges from within the Superior Court districts. We can do this by adding an extra seat to the Guilford County District Court, brining the total number of judges to 15. We would then elect three District Court judges from within each Superior Court district.

(Note: The Guilford County District Court has requested more resources in order to meet their workload. Adding an extra judge would help to achieve this goal.)

This would be a much more balanced, streamlined approach to operating our District Court system. It would be easier for voters to track candidates, which may result in higher participation in judicial races. It would also be more reasonable for District Court candidates to run in a district rather than countywide.

It is worth noting that Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution requires the General Assembly to divide judicial districts from "time to time" in order to establish a "convenient" number of districts. This applies to both the Superior Courts and the District Courts. Given the fact that Guilford County's judicial districts have not been updated in 16 years, it is time to proceed with this action.

Over the next few weeks I will be in touch with members of the District Court and Superior Court to keep them updated on our efforts and to receive their feedback. This effort needs to be collaborative and comprehensive.

I look forward to working my colleagues in the General Assembly to put these changes into action. This is not a matter of partisan politics. It is a matter of updating and enhancing the efficiency of our judicial system.

Contact:

Rep. Jon Hardister
NC House Majority Whip
JonHardister@gmail.com
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