LUMBERTON — The new congressman for almost all of Robeson County on Wednesday assured key members of the business community and public officials that he will push for legislation easing banking and business regulations that stifle job creation.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who plans to meet with members of the business community this week in nine of the 12 counties in the 8th District, met with Fairmont Mayor Charles Kemp and his Job Opportunities and Business Support Team Wednesday morning and with members of the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce and Lumberton officials in the afternoon. At both sessions, the congressman heard the same complaint: Federal regulations are preventing economic and business growth in North Carolina and across the country.
Hudson agreed with those who told him that those who would expand or establish new businesses, resulting in job creation, are not moving forward because of “uncertainty” of how changes in the tax structure, banking regulations and health care policies will affect their businesses.
“Current regulations do make for uncertainty and need to be changed,” Hudson said. “I can’t promise to turn things around overnight, but I’ll work on it.”
Lumberton businessman Kenneth Rust, who owns several McDonald’s franchises, said that “uncertainty” is the “killer” of entrepreneurs wanting to begin or expand a business. He said that he is concerned whether his employees will be able to afford government-mandated health .
“Health insurance I offer will be by definition affordable, but something needs to be done to help those who can’t afford that,” he said.
Hudson, who on Wednesday marked his sixth day as a member of Congress, said that his No. 1 priority is job creation.
“The best way for job creation is through expanding existing businesses and encouraging entrepreneurs to create new businesses,” he said. “…We have to make sure our existing employers can grow, our entrepreneurs can create new jobs and our farmers can stay in business.”
Hudson, a conservative Republican from Concord who served as the District 8 director for former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, said that it is going to take bi-partisan support in Washington, D.C. to get anything accomplished. Hudson said that his first days in the capital have included working to develop relationships with Democrats — especially freshmen Democrats — who he said will be needed to make changes in government that will move the nation forward.
Hudson also told those at both gatherings, which totaled about 40 people, that he plans to work closely with Rep. Mike McIntyre, the District 7 representative since 1996. A Lumberton Democrat, McIntyre lost almost all of Robeson County to redistricting.
Hudson said Robeson County should benefit from having representation by members of both parties.
“Mike and I will be working together. I look forward to working with him,” Hudson said. “There are a lot of things that we agree on.”
Hudson emphasized that the federal government must bring its spending under control.
“We absolutely are spending our children’s future into the ground,” he said.
According to Hudson, Democrats and Republicans need to address the issues of Social Security and Medicare immediately.
“Everyone knows that Social Security will go broke in 2036 and Medicare will go broke in 2023, and maybe earlier. But the problem is not being addressed,” he said. “We’ve got to preserve these programs. Democrats and Republicans need to work together.”
Hudson said his committee assignments include Agriculture, Educational Workforce and Homeland Security.