2015 Rewind: January

Published 11:03 am Thursday, December 31, 2015

From RCNH Archives

RALEIGH – As a rookie state legislator, there were plenty of special, first-time moments here in mid-January for Howard Hunter III.

However, it was a simple note written for a Hertford County Early College High School senior that served as Hunter’s first “official” order of business as the newly elected State House District 5 Representative.

Upon retuning to his office (#1307 in the Legislative Building on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh) after being sworn in, Hunter found a personalized notepad on his desk. On it he jotted a note to the school’s principal: “Please excuse Addison Hoggard from class on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 as he was attending the swearing in ceremony for State House Representative Howard Hunter III.”

Hoggard, the grandson of Hunter’s long-time confidant and Hertford County Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer, joined his grandparents and dozens of other county citizens in witnessing Hunter’s special day.

“It meant so much to me to have them all here,” Hunter said of the Farmer family as well as a bus load of Hertford County citizens who braved the icy roads to see their native son take his oath of office. “For them to come to Raleigh in this bad weather to be a part of my special day really and truly touched my heart. I got kind’a teary-eyed when I saw that bus roll into the Legislative Building parking lot.”

Hunter met with his fellow Democrats at 8 a.m. Ninety minutes later he stood with his wife, Dr. Wanda Hunter, and daughters (Zaria and Kayla) as he raised his right hand and took the oath of office.

“Was I nervous….nope, not a bit,” Hunter remarked. “I kind’a felt at home, being in a place where my daddy (the late Howard Hunter Jr.) served for the better part of 20 years. Most of those there remembered my daddy.”

The Bible used in Hunter’s swearing-in was the same one used by his father to accept the oath back in 2003.

“There was an envelope inside that Bible, one given to daddy at the start of the 2003 legislative session; it contained his (House Chambers) seat number and was signed by Denise Weeks, the Principal Clerk for the House,” Hunter said. “Denise remains as the Clerk and I showed her that envelope on Wednesday morning. She almost broke down and cried.”

After the House recessed until Jan. 28, Hunter used his time to meet with the Democratic Black Caucus and then attended a reception he staged in honor of the Hertford County contingent attending the swearing in.

“I’m excited and ready to go to work when we reconvene on Jan. 28,” Hunter said. “From the other legislators I’ve spoken with, we’re all ready to roll up our sleeves and get down to the business of making North Carolina the best state in the nation. My experience all those years as a Hertford County Commissioner has prepared me well and I feel I have a lot to offer.”