Congressman Hudson visits Chatham on campaign trail

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PITTSBORO — U.S. Representative Richard Hudson Jr. came to Pittsboro last Wednesday while campaigning to be reelected for his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hudson — a registered Republican representing the 8th district — is seeking North Carolina’s 9th congressional district seat after the 2020 census required the state to redraw its electoral districts and maps. Four of the counties Hudson represents moved into the 9th district, which now includes Chatham.

Hudson said he and his family are planning to move to Moore County because his home in Concord is outside of the 9th district.

“We don’t legally have to live in a district, but I think it’s important to be in the communities you’re in,” he said.

Hudson has spent almost 10 years in Washington and in that time has co-authored over 60 bills, most of which were bipartisan efforts.

“I identify a problem I want to solve back home and then I go find a Democrat that will work with me on the front end,” he said. “Even last year, as partisan as things were in Washington, I’ve gotten 11 bills out of the House (of Representatives), and President Biden signed four of them.”

Bipartisanship is crucial to passing laws, he said. He cited an example of this collaboration when he worked with Congressman Bobby Rush, the chairperson of the energy subcommittee for Hudson’s Energy and Commerce committee.

Hudson said he and Rush come from very different backgrounds; Rush co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party in the 1960s, and Hudson hails from a military family in North Carolina.

Despite their disagreements on certain policy issues, Hudson said he and Rush are working together to help answer questions regarding the future of energy and commerce in the United States.

“He and I could not be more different in philosophy and background … but he and I care about each other, respect each other,” Hudson said. “We’ve been working on a workforce development bill for three Congresses now trying to look at what are the job skills we’re going to need in the 21st century in the energy sector … so that’s an issue where I may disagree with (him on) everything else, but we agree on that.”

Hudson’s priorities for a sixth term are lowering the inflation rate, curtailing gas prices and being a voice for Ft. Bragg’s military personnel.

He also wants to tackle a new problem: pandemic preparedness. Hudson says he’s working to reauthorize the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, also known as the PAHPA Act.

“I am the lead Republican on this issue of national stockpile and pandemic preparedness,” he said. “It’s the perfect time for us Republicans and Democrats to come together and look at what did we get right this last pandemic, what did we get wrong, and what do we need to improve going forward to prepare for the next pandemic.”

Water quality has also become an important issue for some Chatham voters, and Hudson said he was approached at a campaign event at the Pittsboro Rotary Club regarding 1,4-Dioxane contamination in the Haw River. Hudson said he has a record of voting to support the communities affected by contaminated water as one of four Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote in favor of a bill establishing regulations on PFAS, also known as “forever” chemicals.

“I started working on it because we have an issue in Cumberland County on the Cape Fear River,” he said. “I’ve not been afraid to fight for clean water for people, so I’m going to look into this same issue, and you can count on me to lead the fight.”

Hudson said to create change and pass laws, congressional representatives must be willing to compromise and work “across the aisle” to accomplish what voters want.

He said he wants to be Chatham’s congressional champion, and he said he would make sure to talk to voters from all walks of life, regardless of political affiliation.

“When I decide how to vote, I vote based on my principles and the information in front of me and what I think is in the best interest of people in my district, and I believe I need to be transparent about that,” he said. “I’m also willing to compromise my preferences and work across the aisle and get things done for people in my community. I’ve got a record of doing that now for nine years, and I’d be honored to have the opportunity to do that for Chatham County.”

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com.

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