Congressman Mel Watt delivers meals for Meals on Wheels, says if federal position is offered he would consider

  • Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:36 a.m.
    UPDATED: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 1:43 a.m.
Rep. Mel Watt (D), N.C. District 12, visited Salisbury on Tuesday to take part in delivering four meals to recipients of the local Meal on Wheels program.  Watt, along with Meals on Wheels of Rowan Executive Director Rita Sims, center, and Debra Simmons, right , look for their next delivery spot at Yadkin House Apartments.
Rep. Mel Watt (D), N.C. District 12, visited Salisbury on Tuesday to take part in delivering four meals to recipients of the local Meal on Wheels program. Watt, along with Meals on Wheels of Rowan Executive Director Rita Sims, center, and Debra Simmons, right , look for their next delivery spot at Yadkin House Apartments.

U.S. Rep. Mel Watt said Tuesday he would consider leaving Congress to head up the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

But although there’s been plenty of speculation in national media, Watt, who represents the 12th U.S. House District including part of Rowan County, said he hasn’t been asked.


“I try not to anticipate hypothetical situations. If it gets offered, I’ll certainly sit down and consider it. Right now I’m focused entirely on serving constituents in the 12th District as I have been over the years,” he said.

Watt was in Salisbury Tuesday morning literally serving some constituents — serving them lunch. He helped deliver meals to clients of Meals on Wheels of Rowan.

Although Watt has delivered meals through other Meals on Wheels agencies within his district, Tuesday was the first time he’s done it in Rowan County.

Watt said he had hoped to participate in the Mayors and Big Wheels event last week where community leaders were invited to ride with volunteers to make deliveries, but he was unable.

Watt, who is on Easter recess, said he felt this was a good time to participate.

Watt accompanied Meals on Wheels Executive Director Rita Sims and newly elected board President Debra Simmons as they delivered meals to residents at the Yadkin House apartments.

“We are bringing awareness to the plight of our seniors,” Sims said.

This month is March for Meals, an annual campaign designed to raise awareness of senior hunger as well as encourage action at the local level with recruitment and community partnerships.

Sims said the agency is very glad Watt agreed to participate. Watt’s visit shines a light on the agency and perhaps in the process motivates others to participate.

Simmons said this is the first time “someone from Washington” has delivered meals for the agency. The attention has also benefited the agency through increased giving.

“The donations we’ve received have helped in fundraising efforts for Meals on Wheels,” Simmons said.

All of the money raised is used to provide meals for clients who aren’t able to pay the complete cost of the meals.

Gary Rankin, who lives at the Yadkin House, welcomed Watt inside his apartment.

Watt introduced himself to Rankin who joked that it was either Watt in his apartment or a double.

“How long have you lived here?” Watt asked Rankin.

“Since the last election,” Rankin said with a smile.

The visit was short, but left an impression on Rankin who said he was very surprised to meet the congressman. “It was good to see him,” Rankin said.

Watt continued through the building on other deliveries and then was off to Raleigh.

“I can’t wait to see who else comes,” Rankin said.

Meals on Wheels of Rowan is a Rowan United Way partner agency.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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