Name: state Rep. Howard Hunter III (Democrat)
Occupation: owner of Hunter’s Funeral Homes
District: Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Pasquotank counties
Lives in: Ahoskie (Hertford County)
Family: wife Wanda Hunter (a school counselor); four children, two in college and two in elementary school
Campaign website: http://www.hunter4house.org/
Hobbies: Fishing, playing softball as well as refereeing middle-school and high-school football and basketball games
Previous elected offices, if any: Served on Hertford County Commission from 2004-2014.
Why did you run for office? “It was time.” Hunter comes from a politically-active family, including his father who served 20 years in the state legislature.
Hunter said when he introduces himself, people frequently tell him, ‘Oh I knew your daddy.’ Now, when Hunter introduces himself at the state legislature, he says, “I’m Howard Hunter and you probably knew my daddy.”
What do you think will be the biggest issue at the legislature this year? Unsure. “We haven’t really started yet, I don’t know. Voter ID may come up, the budget may be tough.”
What’s one specific campaign promise that you’d like to deliver on? Wants to see widening of roads in northeastern North Carolina. U.S. 158, in particular, has stretches that are two-lanes, and other sections that are four-lanes. Hunter would like it expanded to four lanes to help the local economy.
“We could land a lot more industry if we could have a four-lane highway,” he said.
How do you feel about the state’s minimum wage ($7.25 an hour)? Should it be raised? Thinks it should be increased. “I’ve raised my employees up to $10 an hour, once the President said something about minimum wage. It helps folks, it helps the economy grow.”
Is the state’s funding for public education enough? No, he thinks the N.C. Education Lottery should also direct more of its revenue to education. Hunter would like to see 40 percent of state lottery proceeds go to education (it is currently less than 30 percent).
“The state is balancing the budget off of the lottery. As far as funding education, I think we need to fund the teachers. We need to take better care of our teachers, especially our seasoned teachers.”
What leader do you look up to the most? Why? “My uncle [Mike Espy] was Secretary of Agriculture under Bill Clinton. Any questions I have, I ask him. He said strive to do the best, I’ve done that.”
Hunter also said he routinely seeks out mentors, and he is looking to Democratic state. Reps. Mickey Michaux and Larry Hall to help orient him to the state legislature. “I don’t get one mentor, I get two. That’s who I’m looking up to right now.”
Name your pet peeve: “If someone tells me they’re going to do something, if they change their mind and don’t tell me.”
Contact information: (919) 733-5780 or Howard.Hunter@ncleg.net