A belief in the power of representative democracy and working for the future of the United States drove 15 years of work in public office, U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th District said this week.

“We have a profound blessing, but also a responsibility,” Hurt, who is retiring from his Congressional seat, said.

Hurt also opened up on the process of deciding whether to seek re-election this year. He said it was a discussion he and his wife, Kathryn, have before every election season. They had been discussing his options for a few months prior to the announcement, and he thought he needed to make the change from public office while he was still relatively young. Hurt is 46 and has three children — Charles, Clement and John.

In his announcement, Hurt said he never considered making politics a permanent career, but thought of it as a personal responsibility to his country.

Growing up in Chatham, Hurt became interested in politics watching and working with people he admired on the Chatham Town Council.

From there, it was a natural progress to running for the House of Delegates with Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, in 2001. He then succeeded former state Sen. Charles Hawkins.

Along each step of his political journey, Hurt was inspired by a sense of responsibility to the people of the region.

“I felt compelled to run because I thought we needed a different voice in Washington representing us,” he said.

During his three terms in Congress, Hurt said he was proudest of being a part of making former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts permanent, eliminating earmarks and reducing spending in Washington.

“Those are real savings, and the next generation will benefit from that,” he said.

Hurt said it has been a pleasure working with his dedicated staff, both in Washington and around the district.

“My family will always treasure those relationships,” Hurt said.

After retirement, Hurt plans to practice law in Chatham and will decide what else to do when he’s closer to leaving office. Hurt said he is excited to represent the district in Washington for another year.

“I have loved every bit of it,” he said.

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