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Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., June 4, 1998. Interview C-0328-4. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Elected to the governorship of North Carolina in 1972, James E. Holshouser Jr. was the first Republican chief executive of that state since 1896. In this interview, the fourth in a series of four interviews with the former governor, Holshouser looks back on his political career, answers some broad questions about his impressions of his administration's successes and failures, and the operation of state government. Holshouser seems most proud of the "little things" he accomplished, including preventing the damming of the New River—which flows near his hometown in western North Carolina—and the creation of an ombudsman's office. He also reflects, however, on his efforts to build a two-party system in the state—a job that in essence required shoring up the Republican Party, since the Democratic Party had enjoyed decades of dominance. While Holshouser and others managed to make the Republican Party a force in North Carolina even as it struggled through the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, its new strength brought new complications, such as the rise of the religious right and the libertarian wing of the party. Holshouser believes in the Republican Party, but ends this interview wondering about these factions and what they signify for the party's future.
    Excerpts
  • Remembering "the little things" accomplished as governor
  • Thoughts on impropriety, or the appearance thereof, in his administration
  • Failure of Holshouser's Mountain Management Act
  • Intrusion of external forces into political agendas
  • Ethics in the governor's mansion
  • The need for honest staffers who will tell a governor the truth
  • Honest people who do nothing allow unethical behavior to flourish in government
  • Pros and cons of discretionary funds
  • Competent governance as party-building
  • Factionalism and inexperience in the North Carolina Republican Party
  • Growth of the Republican Party in North Carolina
  • Rise of the religious right and libertarian wings of the Republican Party
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.