LUMBERTON — The Democratic and Republican candidates for the Eighth Congressional District have one thing in common — they both agree that job creation and getting people back to work are the major issues that need to be addressed in their district and nationwide.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat, and Richard Hudson, a Republican who is running for his first public office, addressed a crowd at the Pinecrest Country Club in Lumberton on Wednesday. The forum, sponsored by the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lumberton Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, was attended by about 100 people, many of them community leaders.
“This was a great chance for those in the area to meet and talk issues with the candidates,” said Bo Biggs, legislative chairman for the chamber and longtime observer of Robeson County politics. “I was very pleased that so many business leaders showed up for the forum.”
Both Kissell and Hudson are working hard to get themselves known in Robeson County, which until recent redistricting was part of the Seventh Congressional District represented by U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat from Lumberton. Only a sliver of Robeson County is now part of the new 7th District where McIntyre is facing Republican state Sen. David Rouzer in the November General Election.
Richmond County is part of the Eighth Congressional District.
During his 10-minute presentation, Kissell, 61, of Biscoe, told the audience about his 27 years of work in the textile industry, his short stint as a high school teacher, and about his decision to run for Congress.
“With the economy, Washington had made some bad decisions for our part of the country,” Kissell said. “Jobs were lost and people were out of work.”
Kissell said that he is a strong advocate of keeping jobs in America and manufacturing products in America.
“When American tax dollars are being spent, they should be for American-made products,” he said. ” … We need good trade deals that work for America … We need less regulations on our businesses.”
Kissell, a member of Congress since 2009 who is seeking his third term, said there are some trade deals that need to be repealed. He also said that “uncontrolled spending” needs to be reined in and “jobs need to be brought back.”
Hudson, 40, of Concord, painted himself as the candidate with local ties to Robeson County. He said that his family in Robeson County dates back to the 1700s.
“I want to take Robeson County values, such as don’t spend money you don’t have, and always tell the truth, to Washington,” he said.
Hudson said that he will “work across the aisles,” with both Democrats and Republicans, to get things accomplished. He told the audience that he previously worked as the Eighth Congressional District director for former GOP Rep. Robin Hayes, and has served as a chief of staff in Washington.
According to Hudson, jobs creation and getting people back to work are the only real issues in his race against Kissell.
“People are suffering and hurting,” he said. “Jobs are not out there. Policies are out of whack and creating uncertainty among those who would like to start a business.”
Hudson said that stimulus money that was supposed to create jobs did not work and was money wasted. He also charged that Kissell had voted three times to lift the debt ceiling, a charge that Kissell denies.
Hudson said that if elected, he would continue to stand up for his conservative values, work to bring jobs back to North Carolina, and be a strong advocate for agriculture.
— Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.