LUMBERTON — Robeson County’s economic developer saluted U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson on Wednesday for his work to improve the lives of U.S. military veterans, and also praised the congressman’s stand against any legislation that will reduce sanctions against Iran and make it easier for Iran to become a nuclear threat to the Middle East and other countries around the world.
“As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I appreciate everything he is doing for our veterans,” Greg Cummings said. “I also appreciate him taking the stand of not supporting Iran.”
Cummings was among about 100 community leaders who gathered at Pinecrest Country Club on Wednesday to hear a brief update from Hudson on national issues that affect Robeson County and the surrounding region. The luncheon was sponsored by the Lumberton Kiwanis Club, the Lumberton Rotary Club, and the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I think that the deal negotiated (by the Obama administration) is horrendous,” Hudson said of the proposed nuclear accord currently being hotly debated in Congress. “If that deal passes, we will see a nuclear arms race in the Middle East … . We will be in a Cold War situation again.”
Hudson said that he is encouraging members of both the House and Senate to come up with a strong bi-partisan agreement opposing the accord. President Obama is threatening a veto of any opposing legislation, claiming his administration has negotiated the best deal possible to slow down Iran’s nuclear efforts. Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.
Hudson also referred to problems within the Veterans Administration of providing speedy and efficient medical care to veterans as “horrible.”
“We’ve got a lot of great people working for our veterans, many of them veterans themselves, but the VA is massed in bureaucracy,” Hudson said. “I’m pushing for more flexibility within the system. The only real solution is to allow veterans to seek medical care with private doctors if they choose. That way, there will not be such a long wait for those who choose to use our veterans hospitals for their medical care.”
Hudson, a Republican from Concord whose 8th District encompasses counties stretching from Robeson to Mecklenburgc counties, said serving as a House member is the “most frustrating job” he has ever held. He is currently serving his second two-year term.
According to Hudson, it’s hard to get things done in Washington because of the extent of the bureaucracy and a “lack of relationship building” among congressmen.
“By reaching across the aisle and building relationships with members of both parties, I’ve found some success,” Hudson said. “Relationship-building helped us pass a farm bill that’s so necessary to this area, as well as help ensuring that funds be available to our community colleges for workforce development training.
“I always try to be the voice of common sense. It’s a frustrating job, but I won’t give up. It’s my duty to do my best.”
Hudson, who has strong family roots in Robeson County, currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a position he said he pursued because 80 percent of the issues that come before the House must pass through this committee. In addition to veterans and the Iran debate, Hudson during his comments touched on issues that affect business and education.
Concerning economic growth, including job creation, Hudson said less-stringent regulations on businesses need to be implemented. He added that jobs is his top priority and when he looks at any proposed legislation, he looks for the effect it will have on current and future jobs.
“The best thing Washington could do to encourage economic growth and business development is to get out of the way of businesses and unleash the private sector,” he said.
Hudson emphasized his opposition to the federal education program “No Child Left Behind,” as well as federal regulations requiring all states to provide a designated core curriculum to receive federal money to operate their schools.
“I would cut all strings and let local schools decide what they should teach,” he said. “I trust you more than bureaucrats to know what is best for your students.”
Staff writer Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.