I am yielding my space this week to Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. It is refreshing when a North Carolina politician stands up and boldly speaks out in defense of our fundamental American freedoms. It makes no difference that Hudson is a Republican. He is asking the questions all North Carolinians and Fayettevillians need to be asking — regardless of their political affiliation. We need to know things like when will life get back to normal? When will the country open up again? How long will it take for us to recover?

 These questions transcend political affiliation, and it’s disappointing more people are not speaking out and objecting to the curtailment of their rights, lives and livelihoods.

 Where is the outrage?

 Personally, I’m proud of Hudson for standing up for what he believes in and not being afraid to make his positions known to the public. That’s bold and fearless leadership that deserves, if not support, at least our respect. There are far too few people in our community with such conviction willing to speak “truth to power.” Tisha Waddell, Matt Richardson, Troy Williams, Margaret Dickson, Karl Merritt and Pitt Dickey. Like I said, too few.

  In conclusion, I hope that more citizens, regardless of race, political affiliation or creed, will come forth and use their First Amendment rights to express how they feel about their freedoms and liberties before the harsh reality sets in that freedom isn’t really free.

Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

                 — Bill Bowman, publisher 

When will life get back to normal? When will the country open up again? How long will it take for us to recover? These are the questions I hear every day from folks at home and, the truth is, nobody can say for certain. Just like you, I’m eager to get back to the way things were so we can restart our economy and go on with our lives.

By now we are all familiar with terms like quarantine and social distancing. For the most part, it is encouraging to see that these strategies are having an impact. However, I believe that now is the time for us to begin to look to open the country through a safe and deliberate process, especially for communities or people that are not at high risk.

Many business owners I have met with over the phone or video conference say they have gone to great lengths to make sure that their employees and customers they serve are in a safe environment. Because of these efforts, it has become clear that more businesses are able to safely open, and as I said during a town hall last week, I believe this is the path we need to be headed down while maintaining proper safety precautions.

As part of this effort, last week I partnered with Lowe’s to secure 100,000 face masks for our communities. Together, we delivered 50,000 masks to Cabarrus Health Alliance in Kannapolis and 50,000 masks to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, I have worked every day to get workers and health care providers the resources they need. I’m proud to work with Lowe’s to make 100,000 masks available for our region, which will help meet the needs of health care workers and patients on the frontlines. This is one small, but important step in advocating for more resources for our community so that we may reopen the country.

With this in mind, I believe one group of people that should return to work immediately is the United States Congress. I have joined many of my colleagues in repeatedly calling for Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to bring us back into session so that we can negotiate a bipartisan response to the coronavirus crisis. However, instead of bringing us back to work together on behalf of our country, this week we were in session one day to vote on a partisan, 1,800-page Democratic wish list written in secret in Pelosi’s office.

Not only did this $3 trillion bill — the largest spending bill in American history — fail to address real needs of the country, but it also included a laundry list of items not even related to coronavirus. These included direct payments to illegal immigrants, a blanket release of federal prisoners, a taxpayer-funded bailout of union pensions and an overhaul of our election laws. That is no way to serve the American people.

It’s beyond time for the House of Representatives to come back to work. Folks are hurting and expect us to work together on the problems facing our country. Thankfully, this bill has zero chance of ever becoming law. But the time for politics is long over. I’ll continue to work every day to help our community and get our country back to work.

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