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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, September 18, 1986. Interview C-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Connections ease the path to the governorship

Scott had two foundations to build on when he began his career in public service: the base his father, Kerr Scott, built as governor and the connections he made as a member of the North Carolina State Grange. Scott shares his belief that his connection with rural voters and his father's network helped him into the governor's mansion.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, September 18, 1986. Interview C-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

KARL CAMPELL:
It's interesting too how the Democratic party worked in kind of choosing candidates. It sounds the way you're describing it as though there were, like, not organizations, but groupings…
BOB SCOTT:
It's sort of a consensus type thing among the people of like ideology and like philosophy and so forth.
KARL CAMPELL:
People coming and just sharing ideas around, like out at the dove hunt? I imagine that when you decided to go for lieutenant governor one of the first things you had to do was to get back in touch with Sanford and your father's old group to get them behind you? Was there another group?
BOB SCOTT:
Yeah, sort of piggybacked on it because you know they were interested in the governor's race. As long as I wasn't a threat to them in the governor's race, and why not? Because after all, I was sort of one of them. Here's a new generation coming along, and I fitted in. I came from that wing of the party. So, yeah, why not? But they weren't going to break their neck for me. They had their own race to run but they didn't have any objection to me sort of piggybacking on. Yes, that was a big help. But another was, and I think this is where I caught a lot of people by surprise, they didn't know——during my years shortly after I finished college, and I was working with the farm organizations, the Grange——I had traveled all over the state in just inumerable rural communities. So I had that base to operate from. I had been in little community meetings on rural development issues, rural economy, rural growth, and farm family issues in just about every community in Sampson County, for instance. Heaven only knows how many suppers I've eaten in community buildings and Baptist churches and those kinds of things, you know. I knew a lot of these people, together with the base that my Dad had. See, a lot of his people were still living although they were beginning to get some age on them. But a lot of them were still around. I had those two bases from which to operate, and the name was still there. Fortunately for me, my father went out of office with a good reputation——known as the good roads governor, paved a lot of roads. Somebody said he literally paved my way to the governor's office, and in some ways I guess he did.