Mr. Hudson Goes to Washington?
by: Rick Moore
UDPATE: Congressman Richard Hudson has been sworn in and is the Representative for the 8th Congressional District of North Carolina. Click here for his Congressional Website.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At the time of publishing, Brother Hudson had just placed first in the primary and is engaged in a run-off battle for his party’s nomination this summer!
Kappa Alpha Order has a long history of members becoming involved in public service. Lately, there seems a rise in success for our brothers. Our past list of public servants is noble and long. Current Congressmen Richard Aderhold, Charles Boustany, and Steve Womack, along with U.S. Senator Roy Blunt are examples of men who decided to take the public service values a step further, devoting their time and energies to our country. Another brother now aspires to add his name to the long list of gentlemen who have enjoyed careers in public service.
Richard Hudson (Epsilon Xi – North Carolina-Charlotte ’90), of Concord, North Carolina, is running for the Congressional seat of the 8th Congressional District. Hudson said that, even though he’s been involved in politics for years, he hadn’t necessarily envisioned himself running for office until recently.
“When I was a younger man I thought I might run for office someday, but I never planned to run for Congress,” said Hudson, who has served as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC) and Congressman Mike Conaway (TX). “But I’ve got real concerns about where our country is headed, so that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. Working for members of Congress, I’ve found that I’ve been able to be a problem solver. I’ve been really be engaged in the work of trying to improve the country by helping others. I just began to feel like I could be doing more and decided to run for office myself.”
“I’m one of those guys who got into Ronald Reagan as a boy,” Hudson continued, “and I’ve always been real conservative and real interested in politics. I was inspired by the conservative values of my grandfather, who’s actually a Democrat, and Reagan. I got out of college and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do so I got involved in a campaign for (former Charlotte mayor) Richard Vinroot, who was running for governor, and I really enjoyed it. I learned that campaigning is about building relationships, about meeting people and talking to them about the state and about the things you want to do.”
During his years as a student at UNC-Charlotte, and as a member at Epsilon Xi chapter, Hudson said he began to find his true calling in life. “I was very active in the chapter,” Hudson recalled. “I was new member educator my sophomore year and then was elected Number I; I was actually Number I both my sophomore year and again my fifth year. Being in KA absolutely shaped my life by giving me my first opportunities to assume a leadership role. Being a chapter president was the first time I had been in a position like that and it taught me a great deal about leadership. I was also student body president at UNC-Charlotte in 93-94.” Hudson graduated with a double major in history and political science.
In the end, the skills Hudson developed as a KA leader have served him in good stead in political life. “Again, it’s about relationships, and I learned that in KA,” he said. “What you learn in KA are the same skills you use when you’re campaigning and seeking voters. So the experiences I had as an undergraduate in KA were invaluable to me.”
Shawn Kocher (Epsilon Xi – North Carolina-Charlotte ’90) is Hudson’s campaign treasurer and longtime friend, and was also an Epsilon Xi Number I. Kocher was also the treasurer of Epsilon Xi when Hudson was Number I, and today is a CPA.
“In 2008 Richard called me to work on the Pat McCrory gubernatorial campaign, which he was managing,” Kocher said, “and it made me pay more attention than I ever had before to the issues and become more passionate about the political process. So when he called me a few months ago and said he was going to run for Congress and asked if I would be the treasurer, I said yes. I knew what kind of leader he had been in school and knew that I wanted to be part of what he’s trying to do.”
Hudson said that his connection with KA didn’t stop when he left college, and that, besides Kocher, a number of fraternity brothers have been involved in his campaign. “There’s a handful of us who have stayed in touch from school who are involved, and two or three current members of the chapter are even involved in the campaign,” he said. “And we’ve actually had a lot more men than that come out to support us when we’ve had events like parades. So it’s been great to reconnect with some guys and get them excited about the campaign and what we’re trying to do.”
“One thing about KA is that we really respect our history and it means a great deal to all of us,” Hudson said. “Once you’re a KA you’re a KA for life, so a 19 or 20 year old active member and I are brothers forever.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tell us which brothers we should keep an eye on; share with us our future leaders. Head over to www.kappaalphaorder.org/excellence and submit the names and stories today.