ASHEBORO — Five-term U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson was making the rounds in both his official and political capacities on Friday, March 11, with a pair of stops in Randolph and Chatham counties as he gears up to run for a sixth term in Congress. Following the redrawing of the state’s political lines, Hudson’s new district starts in Randolph County and covers a nine-county region to the south and east, including all of Moore County and ending at Fort Bragg.
The Russian war in Ukraine has sent thousands of U.S. troops to eastern Europe, including many from the Army base’s 82nd Airborne. Hudson, who has called being Fort Bragg’s Congressman “the honor of my life,” says morale among the troops is high.
“I actually was supposed to be in Ukraine the weekend before the invasion, and the State Department at the last minute told me they didn’t want me to go in,” Hudson told North State Journal in Asheboro. “I was able to visit with some of our troops from Fort Bragg and some of our armored battalions on the Russian border. And their morale is very high. They understand that standing up to Russia matters, and I’m very proud of them and the job they’re doing.”
Around the table, the residents who came to see Hudson complimented his tenure representing the state in Congress. Hudson said he would need Randolph and Moore counties to help offset the Democrats in Cumberland County. He also noted that the new district puts him in the “tightest district in the state” for a Republican incumbent.
He said his home was actually drawn into a district with U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09) and that he preferred having Fort Bragg than a safe seat. He pitched much of his time spent in Congress as a search for friends on the right issues.
Hudson noted that he has seen many bills he’s co-sponsored written into law by both Republican and Democratic presidents and told the group he looked at the late U.S. Rep. Howard Coble as a mentor. Hudson said Coble told him if he had someone opposed to him 70% of the time, they were a friend 30% of the time, and it was up to him to figure out which 30% they could work together.
When asked about what his constituents should know about what’s happening in Ukraine, Hudson said it was heartbreaking.
“I had a general recently telling me this is our first ‘TikTok war’ and what that means is that every day Americans are seeing images that we normally wouldn’t see from a conflict like this. Just seeing the savagery and atrocities that are being committed by the Russians. But as far as our response, number one, I don’t believe we should put any American troops in Ukraine fighting Russia. I’m opposed to that. I do support sending U.S. troops to our NATO allies because my goal is to avoid a war with Russia, the best way to do that is to show strength,” said Hudson.
He also said that he thinks it’s time to rethink the American strategy in Europe and how NATO defends itself. One example, said Hudson, was putting more troops in places like Poland and Lithuania.
“I do think this underscores what President Trump was saying all along, which is NATO needs to take their own defense more seriously. They can’t just rely on the United States to protect Europe. Europe has to defend Europe.”
He also said he thinks we need to do two things going forward.
“We need to crush the economy of Russia. We need to make them pay financially for this, this atrocity they’ve committed, and that means sanctions. That means cutting them off from banking. It means stop buying anything from Russia. I’ve been very vocal and have criticized President Biden for not moving faster,” said Hudson. “The second thing we need to do is we need to continue to arm Ukraine and get them defensive weapons. I think it was a mistake not to consider sending them the MiG fighters from Poland, for example, because what they were asking is that we replaced those MiGs with F-16s. It’s in our interest for Poland to fly U.S. aircraft. It helps with our coordination on defense. It means they’re going to buy parts from America for those jets instead of from Russia or other places,” he added.