U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson talked about his influences, his legislative priorities, and his thoughts on the future of conservatism at the annual Scotland County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Banquet.
Some 60 members and supporters of the Party attended Thursday’s dinenr to hear Hudson, who took office as the District 8 representative in January. The dinner was held at the clubhouse of Deercroft Golf Club in Wagram.
Hudson spoke of his influences, including his family and his faith as well as Ronald Reagan, former Sen. Jesse Helms and former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes. He named his grandfather as his single greatest influence.
“I always said that if I could be half the man he is, I’d be successful,” Hudson said. “He’s the one that told me a long time ago always to tell the truth, because then you don’t have to remember what you told somebody. Of all the advice I’ve ever gotten, that’s probably the most valuable to me today because I’m so tired I can’t possibly remember what I’ve told everybody. I find myself at the third third meeting at the third different a community college in a day thinking man, have I told that joke yet?”
The GOP function was Hudson’s second appearance in Scotland County this week, having kicked off his tour of area community colleges on Monday with Richmond Community College campuses in Hamlet and Laurinburg.
Hudson also credited his parents with instilling in him a strong work ethic and the belief that hard work yields positive results.
“We’ve got to hold on to that American dream when we look at these issues, when we look at things like the debt crisis we’re heading towards,” said Hudson. “We are absolutely heading for fiscal ruin in this country.”
Hudson cautioned that federal spending may drive the U.S. to resemble Europe’s less stable economies, citing spending trends veering toward 200 percent of GDP in the next 20 years and comparing that figure with the collapse of Greece at a deficit of 180 percent of GDP.
“It’s just unsustainable,” he said. “We’re not talking about higher taxes, we’re not talking about having to make cuts, we’re talking about collapse of our system if we keep on this current path.”
As a Republican, Hudson said that he is directing his efforts toward small changes that can attract support from both parties, such as individual provisions of the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank Act. He termed as common sense the elimination of a requirement for those employing over 200 people to automatically enroll all employees for company health care.
“If you’re a restaurant or a retail chain like a Walmart or a Lowe’s, a lot of your employees are young, a lot of them are there for a short time, so it’s a paperwork nightmare for them,” said Hudson. “It’s also bad for employees because a lot of them are young and on their parents’ insurance or spouse’s insurance and don’t want it, so this is something that’s common sense.”
Hudson also attributed Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election to a general misunderstanding of conservative values.
“President Obama did a great job portraying him as this rich guy who doesn’t understand what we go through every day,” said Hudson, who encouraged present and future conservative leaders to emphasize their platform’s concern with the public good.
“They talk in moral terms and we talk in charts and graphs and figures and numbers. We think the numbers should speak for themselves, but they don’t. We have to do what Ronald Reagan did and connect with people where they are and talk about why what we stand for as conservatives matters to them.”