Ryan Hampton, a self-proclaimed “fierce bipartisan advocate” who is endorsed by the Nevada Democratic party for Assembly District 4, vows to end toxic politics and seeks to find bipartisan solutions to “make real change for Nevada’s hard-working middle class.” Yet, Hampton’s public record indicates a strong, partisan alignment with Democratic politicians, controversial public statements, and outward support of left-of-center policies that do not align with his campaign’s claims.
Today, I'm announcing I'm a candidate for Nevada Assembly, Dist. 4—& I'm grateful for the endorsement of @nvassemblydems. Together, let's end toxic politics & make real change for Nevada’s hard working middle class. 🧵 (1/3) pic.twitter.com/45w1EOYPs2
— Ryan Hampton (@RyanForRecovery) December 18, 2023
A once-homeless and now-recovering opiod addict, Hampton became a career advocate against drug addiction starting a nonprofit organization advocating for people with addiction and mental health challenges. His nonprofit aligned with the Clinton Global Initiative’s Overdose Response Network. Prior to his opioid addiction, Hampton was a staffer at the Clinton White House in the 1990’s.
Great to see 42 @BillClinton in NYC and map out our work together for the @ClintonGlobal Overdose Response Network. Even greater to have Sean with me and to finally be home to Quincy (even if just for a few short hours today) soon! pic.twitter.com/NYQP87YhKO
— Ryan Hampton (@RyanForRecovery) June 23, 2023
Since its inception, Hampton’s nonprofit has evolved into an organization that trains community organizers, with a focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in order to break down the barriers of systemic racism.
Working to dismantle systemic racism can require both community action and legislative advances. In Oregon, racial justice advocates are working to require racial impact statements from chief sponsors of all legislative bills to analyze potential impacts to black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities. Assessing existing and future state laws for racial impacts and consequences can help communities that historically have been most marginalized and make sure nobody is being left behind when drafting state policy that impacts the recovery community.
His organization highlights legislation in California, Oregon, New York and Maryland as models for legislative and systemic change, including the decriminalization of drugs and removing the box on job applications that asks potential employees about criminal records before an interview.
Ballot Measure 110, an Oregon statute passed three years ago, decriminalized the use and “small” possession of drugs (including heroin and fentanyl) in public spaces and provided voluntary addiction services through diverting cannabis tax revenue to addiction service providers. In two years, the state distributed over $300 million in marijuana tax revenue to 235 addiction services organizations, and reportedly treated 8,400 people. The measure was lauded by Hampton 0n X (formerly Twitter).
Now, Oregon’s business and political leaders are highlighting the consequences and are fighting to have the measure revised, according to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting:
“Ballot Measure 110 didn’t create Oregon’s homeless crisis or its behavioral health crisis or the rampant crime we are experiencing,” Max Williams, a former Republican state lawmaker and former head of the Oregon Department of Corrections, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “But we know it’s making things worse.”
Williams stressed the latest ballot measures would not “repeal” the original, but would prohibit the use of hard drugs in certain spaces and make the use and possession of small amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin illegal again.
The Globe asked Hampton about Ballot Measure 110 and if he would support similar legislation in Nevada.
Hampton replied, “I was not involved in the Measure 110 campaign, as I do not live in Oregon. Specific to Nevada, our healthcare infrastructure needs a lot of improvement. As a principle, I strongly believe we should never criminalize addiction. And people with addiction who have not committed crimes need treatment, not jail.”
In June, 2023, Hampton defended the homelessness crisis in San Francisco in a social media thread, calling the narrative a result of “sensationalist media” and that the city is “not much that different than any other big city you’ll visit in Anytown, USA.” The solution to the crisis, according to Hampton, is to “dismantle the system of social oppression.”
In 2019, Hampton wrote an op-ed for USA Today condemning border security efforts. “In order to save American lives, we don’t need to stop immigrants at our border, we need to stop America’s homegrown big pharma cartel,” Hampton claimed.
Today, the nation’s border crisis reached epic proportions. According to reports, a record-breaking wave of migrants crossed the southern border as 12,600 migrants flooded into Eagle Pass, TX. 4,000 migrants were taken into custody yesterday and border patrol is reporting that they are “overwhelmed,” with border-processing facilities at 260% over capacity.
The Globe reached out to Hampton for clarification/context of his 2019 editorial. Hampton told The Globe:
“Clearly border security is an important topic that should be taken seriously; however, this reference was to show that Big Pharma companies are ravaging communities across our country and tearing apart families, from raising the costs to lifesaving medicines to fueling opioid addiction in America. We must take on these companies and save our communities from the overdose crisis they created. If elected to the State Assembly, I will make sure these companies do not take advantage of Nevadans.
We can address border security and immigration in a responsible manner — and actually tackle the overdose crisis with public health and safety solutions that will save lives — and at the same time hold the pharma billionaire criminals who helped create this crisis responsible.”
Assembly District 4 was formerly represented by Republican Assemblyman Richard McArthur, who is now running for and open state senate seat in District 18.
Latest statistics published by the Nevada Secretary of State show Assembly District 4 as a swing district with a near-equal number of registered Democrats, Republican and Independent voters. Governor Joe Lombardo has endorsed businesswoman Lisa Cole in a crowded Republican primary for the Northwest Las Vegas district.
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