The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

March 29, 2013

Congressman kicks off lecture series

By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
CNHI News Service

Friday, March 29, 2013 — One thing’s true about U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson: He’s not afraid to show his face in Stanly County.

Hudson made another trip to Albemarle Tuesday to kick off the Stanly Community College Foundation Lecture Series. It’s the start of the second year of lectures provided by the school as a way to introduce the students of the college and the community to a wide variety of interesting and informative individuals.

“I always love coming back to Stanly County and back here to this campus because there’s such a can-do attitude here,” Hudson said.

“They asked me to focus on what makes me tick and what values I have, where they came from, my world view. I got to talk about my family and my faith, kind of the things that shaped my thinking and the leader I am.”

Hudson’s appearance gave the audience a chance to hear the voice of a first-term Republican politician who, as he put it, took an unconventional way to getting into politics and eventually to Congress.

“He’s a feet-on-the-ground kind of congressman. He’s really approachable,” said Janet Sistare, SCC Foundation director.

“He was really involved in his SGA (Student Government Association) through his college journey (at UNC Charlotte). That’s what he wants to speak about, his leadership style and what he learned through SGA.”

Dr. Brenda Kays, president of SCC, introduced Hudson, who spent about half his time at Dennis Auditorium talking about his upbringing. He joked about working with his dad and putting tar on a roof and how that made him realize a college degree was what he wanted most.

But Hudson also spent a lot of time talking about his influences. He spoke about how his grandfather, who leans more to the left politically, was a big influence and how he got him to vote for Pat McCrory as governor. He also mentioned something his grandfather told him a long time ago: “Tell the truth so you don’t have to remember what you’ve told everybody.”

Hudson also talked about how Ronald Reagan, Robin Hayes and Jesse Helms influenced him in different ways politically. He’s used that influence in part to make 34 public meetings to the 8th District since January, visiting farmers, businesses and Chambers of Commerce.

Congress is off this week for Easter, but Hudson’s been busy in this area and will actually be back at SCC next week for another function.

“It was really a great advantage for all of us to start our lecture series with the congressman. He is genuine, he reminded us that there is someone who is fighting for the needs of all citizens, regardless of party,” Kays said.

“He talked about reaching across the aisle. It also reminded us that our federal elected officers are supposed to be the individuals who work for us and support us. He really believes that. Just a great experience.”

The second half of his lecture was devoted to questions from the audience. Hudson was asked questions more about politics and what’s going on in Washington, from immigration to the deficit and the sequester.

In the end, he stressed to members of the student body to enjoy a career and their families and that they could always run for public office later. He said that while what he does is a noble thing, it’s not something you should make a top priority unless that’s what you aspire to be first.

“A big part of it is being a servant leader and being a listener and being present so people can look me in the eye, ask me questions and hear my answers,” Hudson said.

“What I promised them was you may not always agree with me, but you’ll know where I stand. I’m always open to a better argument.”