U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, sworn in Jan. 3, began a farm tour across North Carolina’s 8th District on Monday. The congressman began the tour at the Union County/Anson County Ag Tour Stop, where he spoke to local farm bureaus to provide a legislative update on the Farm Bill, the most important issues facing the agriculture community, and his goals.
An estimated 45 or more people gathered as the congressman updated them on his various projects and hopes before opening the floor for questions. He discussed several issues, including agriculture and illegal immigration.
On a possible bi-partisan immigration reform plan in Washington, Hudson said that the system definitely needs changed. “It’s a lot easier to come over here illegally than it is to come here legally because our system’s absolutely broken,” he said. “We don’t have the infrastructure to track people.” Additionally, he stated that visas should be given based on the needs of the employers rather than the lottery system.
Hudson also discussed the national debt and the debt ceiling deal made in Washington a couple of weeks ago. “I think it’s tactically a great move because the problem is, from my perspective, we House Republicans, we can’t get the Senate and president to agree to cut spending,” he said, adding that the president said there is no spending problem, “which makes me wonder what planet he’s from.”
Although Hudson believes it was a good move, he didn’t vote for it. “I couldn’t vote for it because I promised you when I campaigned that I wouldn’t raise the debt ceiling without getting dollar-for-dollar cuts,” he said. “So I voted against it because I’ve got to keep my word to you.”
After updating the farm bureau on those issues, Hudson opened the floor for questions, which focused on national spending issues, ensuring that organizations such as USDA has tools to work with and are updated, wetland farming, Second Amendment issues, and tax reform.
“Farmers are some of the most patriotic people I’ll ever meet,” Hudson said, promising one concerned attendee that he would defend Southern agriculture. “I’ve been told over and over, ‘I’m willing to take a cut as long as it’s going everywhere and you’re cutting spending so long as it’s going somewhere, you’re not cutting it just to spend it somewhere else.’”
In response to a question about the Second Amendment, Hudson gave his thoughts on the possibility of a gun ban. “I was really honored to see a clip of me on CNN talking about the Second Amendment was taken by Jon Stewart and put on the Daily Show and he made fun of me for three minutes,” Hudson joked. “It was the highlight of my career so far. This liberal politician disagreed with me publicly, played a clip of me about my right to bear arms.”
He took this as a sign of success for his vocalness on the issue and said that he was encouraged by the president’s remarks to have a national dialogue to make sure a tragedy like that of Newtown, Conn. doesn’t happen again.
A part of the solution is better mental health care, Hudson said, not gun bans, adding that Connecticut has the third most stringent gun control laws in the country and that schools are gun-free zones already. Other factors will include identifying and reaching out to those at-risk, investigating to see if a link between behavioral drugs and shootings exist, and to cease glorifying violence in the media. Those issues, and not guns, were the real problem, Hudson said. “The weapons they’re talking about banning are ones we use for hunting and home protection,” Hudson said. “I’m absolutely not going to support it.”
Hudson also addressed one attendee’s concern on tax reform, saying that he didn’t know where it was going. “The Senate is saying we need more taxes, and in the House we’re saying let’s close the loopholes and reduce the tax rate,” he said. “It’s two very different approaches. You know the president wants to raise more so he can spend more. I don’t know where it’s going.” Hudson said he stands for lower rates but it will be difficult with a split Congress.
A common theme in all of Hudson’s hopes and plans is bi-partisan unity. He repeatedly states the need for the Republicans and Democrats to socialize and work together, citing the model of former senators Jesse Helms (R) and Ted Kennedy (D). “If Jesse Helms and Ted Kennedy could work together anybody can work together,” Hudson said. “It worked because they trusted each other, and they spend time getting to know each other.”
In addition to working with Democrats, Hudson repeatedly stated his desire to work with the citizens in his district, encouraging them to contact him with questions or concerns, including in venues such as his current tour. “I can’t represent you in Congress unless I’m communicating with you and seeing you regularly.”
Hudson will finish his farm tour on Wednesday in Asheboro. To contact his office or to learn more information about Hudson’s schedule and politics visit: http://hudson.house.gov/.