Nowhere are jobs and the economy more important than they are in Scotland County.
So said U.S. Representative Richard Hudson who, six days into his tenure as a member of Congress, visited the area to meet with his constituents. Hudson, a Republican, in November defeated U.S. Rep Larry Kissell, a Democrat.
"When it comes to recruiting industry in Scotland County, I’m a partner, and I’ll do whatever it takes," Hudson told the standing room only crowd at the Richmond Community College Diane Honeycutt Center
Hudson said politics at the federal level is getting in the way of job growth. "I’m concerned about the tax rate and health care costs and business owners," he said. "The uncertainty out there is crushing job growth."
Hudson said he ran for office because he was frustrtated with Democrats and Republicans who stalled when it came to tough decisions.
"I intend to reach out to the Democrats and be a person of my word," Hudson said. "If (former Senators) Jessie Helms and Ted Kennedy could work together, anybody can work together."
Hudosn said he has already met with other freshmen House members of both parties. "We discovered there are issues we agree on and can work on. I’m going to look for the incremental things that can be done."
"We aren’t going to do sweeping things but we can work together to make things better," Hudson explained. "My most sacred responsibility is to take care of my constituents no matter what the party. It’s important to me that you’re relevant."
Touching on national issues, Hudson said he would not vote to raise the debt ceiling without a dollar for dollar spending cut. "Bear with me, it will get pretty ugly in February and March."
Hudson said cutting the federal workforce through attrition, funding cuts to the United Nations and initiating efficiencies at the TSA are just several ways "pockets of money" could be saved.
Hudson added that in education, cutting the overhead at the federal and state level and sending dollars directly to communities to fund education also could result in savings.
The GOP House freshman said he would work to preserve Medicare and Social Security for people at or near retirement. "Knowing these programs are going to go broke, we have to make tough decisions. Changes could be made for people my age and younger."
He said, "The President, Senate and House have to come together to address these programs. You might not always agree with how I vote, but you’ll always know where I stand."