RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Rep. Richard Hudson said Monday he’s focused on making sure North Carolinians have access to COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.
“The hope is we’ll have the vaccine distributed to the states so they can get it to the frontline folks and the people they deem need the first doses before the end of the year,” said Hudson. “And very quickly in the new year, we’ll have widely available vaccines for the general public.”
Hudson, who represents North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, was recently elected as House Republican Conference Secretary for the 117th Congress.
In that role, Hudson said he will prioritize member development, keep Republicans on offense, and coordinate Republican communication strategies.
Into his next term Hudson also wants to improve preparedness for the next potential pandemic.
“We’ve had vulnerabilities exposed during this COVID experience and so we’re going to take a long comprehensive look at this and I’m hopeful that we can have a thorough bi-partisan process to really upgrade our preparedness for pandemics in the future,” he said.
Fellow Republicans have been quick to lay blame on the Obama Administration for the shortfalls during the pandemic response.
But, Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, told CBS 17 last October that advice left to the Trump administration was ignored.
“And we prepared a handbook to give to the Trump administration and a tabletop exercise during the transition so that they would have the benefit of all of our knowledge, look we learned a lot [about] Ebola, H1N1, Zika,” Jarrett said.
Meanwhile, Hudson is concerned about the economic devastation felt in his home state, saying he’s open to working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) to pass a relief package.
“You know I was very critical of when we left town before the election without a deal. I was critical of both Republicans and Democrats. I’m open to some of the spending Pelosi is asking for when it comes to spending for state and local governments. I’m open to that, let’s have that discussion,” Hudson said.
The congressman said he would rather see that money be passed directly down to states and municipalities.
“There may be some need to make sure we get these vaccines distributed. Those are all things we can come to an agreement on pretty quickly,” said Hudson.
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