Hunter is rising star

Published 12:20 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

I think sometimes we don’t know the relevance of something because we’re not familiar with it.

That’s likely the case with the story we ran in Thursday’s edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in which it was announced that Hertford County Commissioner Howard J. Hunter III has been elected Second Vice President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

It’s noteworthy for Hunter to have won the post, but to have run with no opposition for a job that will give him the highest-ranking position among county commissioners in a few years is pretty amazing.

If you go to the Association’s website ( , scrolling across the top of the page is the elected officers for the coming year. Listed along with each officer is the county from which he or she hails. The listing includes Wake County, Cumberland County, Jackson County and now, Hertford County.

To have Hertford County and indeed northeastern North Carolina among the leaders of such an organization is important. It gives the citizens of our region a voice in what is going on nationally.

In all honesty, it shouldn’t be surprising that Hunter has gained the support of his counterparts across North Carolina.

Hunter has long been considered a rising star in the political ranks. He is young, energetic and has the political connections and name notoriety to be a force on the state and national level for eastern North Carolina.

He is already in his second term as a Hertford County Commissioner despite barely reaching his 40th birthday. Hunter has already served as chairman of the Hertford County Commission and currently heads the board of the Hertford County Public Health Authority.

Now, he will be in a position to help lead the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners for the next five years. He will serve on the executive board of that able body which will allow him to help set the legislative agenda of that group.

As many know, two great men have been influential in Hunter’s life. His father, Howard J. Hunter Jr., served in the North Carolina House of Representatives for nearly 20 years. He was a man who loved the people of his district and worked hard for them.

Also, longtime Hertford County Commissioner DuPont L. Davis, took Hunter under his wing when he was elected to that body and helped him make contacts in the ranks of county commissioner.

Hunter has lost both of those men as each has passed away in the last several years.

Both, however, would have been extremely proud of what he did last week when he was chosen to become Second Vice President of the NCACC and begin his three-year journey to the presidency of that organization. Davis himself actually served in that capacity during his tenure on the board.

Hunter has all the tools to be a man of the people the same way his father was and has gained some knowledge from his father’s experience that will aide him in his career.

I think he has done a great job in his short political career of using what he has learned and keeping in mind that the people he represents always should come first. He learned that lesson well.

What the future holds for Hunter is still unknown – state legislator? U.S. congressman? Governor? – who knows. Whatever it holds, you can rest assured the people of Hertford County and the region will always come first. It is those people who should be most proud of what he has accomplished in the past week.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.