On July 20, 2023, nearly sixty audience members gathered in Hinman Forum for the launch of the Rockefeller Center's 2024 Presidential Primary Speaker Series. Moderated by Justin Anderson, Dartmouth's Vice President for Communications, the forum featured candidate and former Representative Will Hurd, who grew up in San Antonio, Texas, served as an undercover officer in the CIA, and later pursued a successful career in consulting and cybersecurity. After an accomplished tenure in Congress notable for Rep. Hurd's emphasis on bipartisanship, technology, and security, he returned to the private sector, only to announce his campaign for the presidency on June 22, 2023. Representative Hurd's vision for America? A "common sense vision" that prioritizes policy over politics and harnesses the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) responsibly.
The Q&A session provided valuable insights into the presidential hopeful's vision and approach. Justin Anderson, kicking off the Q&A, asked, "Why do you want to be president?" Representative Hurd acknowledged the significant challenges facing the nation, such as China's rise as a global superpower, the impact of AI, and the low test scores plaguing our education system. He emphasized the lack of sufficient conversations on how to address these issues and expressed his commitment to working within the Republican Party to "rebrand" it, choosing to take an intersectional and inclusive approach to these many issues.
Turning to New Hampshire, Anderson asked how granite state voters, who are "historically critical and demanding," are responding to Representative Hurd, one of this primary's "dark horse candidates." Rep. Hurd commended the people of New Hampshire for taking their role as the first-in-the-nation primary seriously and appreciating their engagement with the political process. "Folks in NH are really nice! ... Granite staters take their job as the first-in-the-nation primary very seriously… I appreciate that," the representative remarked.
Next, Justin Anderson asked, "What should NH voters know about the border security crisis?" Representative Hurd traced the origins of the border security problem and highlighted the need for a thoughtful approach to asylum seekers, drawing attention to the financial implications of the issue. Illuminating the relevancy of the border issue to Northerners, "if we can't figure this problem out at the southern border, it's going to become a problem at the northern border," Rep. Hurd added.
The Rockefeller Center's inaugural event for the 2024 Presidential Primary Series provided an insightful glimpse into the vision and policy priorities of a presidential hopeful. The discussion centered around harnessing the power of AI responsibly, addressing pressing national challenges, and engaging with voters on crucial issues such as border security and the role of executive orders. Representative Hurd concluded the event inspiringly, saying, "We are an exceptional nation not because of what we have taken, but what we have given." As the campaign progresses, it remains to be seen how these ideas will resonate with voters across the nation, and whether this candidate's "common sense vision for America" will capture the hearts and minds of the American people.