Howard’s Highway

Published 5:09 pm Friday, September 12, 2008

MURFREESBORO – The family of the late Rep. Howard Hunter Jr. gathered near here Thursday afternoon to commemorate the unveiling of the stretch of highway named in his honor.

A nine-mile swath of US 158 between Murfreesboro and Winton is now officially dubbed the “Rep. Howard Hunter, Jr. Highway.”

Present at the dedication were his son, Howard Hunter III, daughter-in-law Wanda Hunter, and grandchildren Kayla and Zaria Hunter, along with North Carolina Department of Transportation Board Member Stan White.

Rep. Hunter was born December 16, 1946 and passed away on January 7, 2007. Howard Hunter III has followed in his father’s political footsteps by currently serving as chairman of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners.

The elder Hunter began his public service career in 1978 as a Hertford County Commissioner, serving on that board until 1988 when he was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives.

He was re-elected nine times over a total of 18 years to the 5th District House seat until his death in 2007. His district covered Hertford, Northampton, Gates, Bertie and Perquimans counties.

Hunter was an active participant in his community and in civic and fraternal organizations.

During his long tenure of public service, Hunter was a proponent of good roads within his district. He had long pushed for improvements to US 158, an effort that did not go unnoticed in Raleigh as the state Department of Transportation now has a four-lane project in the works for that road from I-95 to Winton.

Hunter is still remembered today as a person who dedicated his life to working for the people of Hertford County and northeastern North Carolina.

“My father started with his service for one county and then to four, and from serving people here to serving the people of North Carolina,” Hunter III said. “He never lost his love for the people of this district.”

Hunter’s committee assignments in state government included chairing the Children, Youth and Families committee as well as a spot on the body overseeing Appropriations, Commerce, Federal Relations and Health. He also led the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus for a number of years.