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Political notebook: Indivisible group schedules town hall for 8th District

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

With in-person town hall meetings absent from Rep. Richard Hudson’s schedule, several chapters of an activist group have organized their own.

Today, four chapters of the activist group Indivisible will have a town hall meeting in Pinehurst. The meeting will involve discussion about pending health care legislation, talk about what it’s like to run for office and an introduction to people considering a run against Hudson, a Republican who represents the 8th Congressional District.

The meeting will be at Pinehurst’s Village Hall, 395 Magnolia Road, from 3 to 5 p.m. It will be followed by a rally called March for Truth.

A news release says 8th District voters began contacting Hudson’s office in February to request an in-person town hall meeting.

“Indivisible members within the region have all received the same form letter indicating he cannot hold a town hall due to the ‘geographic size of our district,’” the news release says. “To solve that problem for Rep. Hudson, Indivisible chapters from Rowan, Cabarrus, Moore and Cumberland counties collaborated to schedule a town hall in Moore County, located in the middle of the district.”

Asked this week about Hudson’s plans to host a town hall in the future, spokeswoman Tatum Gibson noted ways other than in-person town halls that Hudson has connected with constituents.

Gibson said Hudson has held meetings with “hundreds of constituents,” three open houses and telephone town halls with “tens of thousands of constituents.” Hudson has responded to more than 12,000 emails, calls and letters, Gibson said.

He will continue to listen to constituents’ concerns and priorities, be accessible and work hard to represent our community,” she said.

She added that “liberal activists” recently brought a tombstone and coffin with Hudson’s face on it to his home. Those activists were members of Indivisible Concord, who posted pictures on Facebook of a “political funeral” for Hudson. Indivisible Concord clarified that the event occurred in front of Hudson’s office rather than at his house. The group originally planned to have the demonstration in front of his house in Concord, but a city ordinance prevented it.

Gibson did not specifically answer questions about whether Hudson plans to have an in-person town hall meeting at any point in the future.

This week was a recess for Congress. On his Twitter and Facebook accounts, Hudson posted about attending events at Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville.

Doshia James, a member of Indivisible Concord, said Hudson should host a town hall, in part to talk to constituents about what’s going on in Washington and to explain his votes.

“We don’t feel like we’re getting that dialogue,” James said. “We don’t feel like we’re even being listened to.”

Ford says Rowan occupancy tax legislation will move forward

It’s either all or nothing, and state Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, is hedging his bets on the former.

Ford says a bill to set a uniform occupancy tax rate for Rowan County may finally begin moving through the N.C. General Assembly.

A few months ago, Rowan County’s tourism agency asked state legislators to increase the county’s occupancy tax from 3 percent to 6 percent. The change would mean all lodging businesses in Rowan County, including hotels in Salisbury, would charge the same occupancy tax. Currently, those in Salisbury charge a higher rate than locations outside the city limits.

After months languishing in committees, Ford says he believes the Rowan County tax legislation will begin moving.

“Either all of these tax bills will get a hearing and go forward, or there’s a possibility that none of them will be heard,” Ford said. “I think they’re all going to go forward. Ours is a lot easier than the other counties’. We’re just asking for a level playing field, but others are asking for a booming increase.”

Ford introduced the occupancy tax bill in March. It was initially referred to a state and local government committee. Now, it sits in the finance committee.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify where Indivisible Concord held a mock funeral for Rep. Richard Hudson.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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