At his last stop as a private citizen, newly elected Congressman Crescent Hardy held a town hall meeting in Mesquite on December 31.  The meeting was the last of several town hall sessions Hardy has held throughout the sprawling fourth district.MLN-Hardy2jan8-15

In opening remarks Hardy introduced his staff and promised to keep in close touch with residents.  “Mesquite is my home and you will see a lot of me around here,” Hardy said.  The meeting was well attended with over 40 residents in the City Council Chambers.

Hardy also announced that he will share an apartment with Congressman Mark Amodei, who represents Nevada’s second district.  Hardy stressed that the arrangement will make him more effective and that Amodei will “provide me with great advice.”

Hardy took questions for almost two hours, but emphasized that he wanted to “hear solutions” as well as comments.  Not surprisingly, the first questions and comments concerned the economy in Mesquite and the lack of jobs outside of tourism and gambling.

“My goal will be to try and improve the economy both here and in the nation,” Hardy told the crowd.  “I am a Reagan three-legged stool guy; I believe that what makes a strong nation is a strong defense, strong families and a strong economy.”  Hardy emphasized that he believes that government needs to “get out of the way” of business as much as possible in order to improve the economy.

Other issues raised included federal protection for Gold Butte and other natural areas.  Hardy said he opposed wilderness designation for Gold Butte because the best way to manage areas such as Gold Butte is to do it with local and state governments that are closer to the land and the issues.  “The best government is the one closest to the people,” said Hardy.

In response to problems raised about veteran’s services and social security issues, Hardy said his staff would keep regular office hours twice a month in Mesquite to allow residents to have their problems addressed.  Hardy promised that “If we need to be here every week we will be,” if there was a demand for additional help.

Hardy also took on federal environmental regulations noting that time and money is wasted on many projects.  “I consider myself an environmentalist,” Hardy told the group, but noted that many environmental efforts are misplaced.  Hardy used the example of government biologists being paid to walk I-15 to look for desert tortoises as an example of waste.  “The highway is already built,” Hardy noted, and “has been for years.”

Several residents asked about the chances of Nevada getting federal lands returned to the State.  Hardy said he supports moving federal lands that can be productive to the state, and gave a quick history of federal lands in Nevada, and how Nevada was not treated as other states.  Hardy emphasized, however, that he favored using the law and Congress to make changes, “We are a nation of laws,” he said.