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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 16 and 18, 1986. Interview C-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Legislative priorities for the upcoming Senate session

Sanford lists some of the policies he would like to see the Democratic Party push for, including aid to Central America, a reciprocal free trade bill, a revised farm subsidy policy, streamlining of the federal government, and changing the welfare system. Is Sanford looking forward to joining the Senate? "Hell yeah." He hopes that his positions will not exclude him from close connections with other southerners.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 16 and 18, 1986. Interview C-0038. 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

BRENT GLASS:
You mentioned at the beginning when we started talking about why run for the Senate, the ability to get involved with the national agenda. Can you talk a little bit about what issues at this point are most important to you, that you forsee yourself working on?
TERRY SANFORD:
I laid those out in summary fashion in "Time to Set Sail" when I was sworn in which you may or may not have seen. You ought to pick it up. It's about a two page statement of the national agenda as I see it for the Democrats. You can pick that up and incorporate it. I'll be working on those pieces of legislation and then things that I suggest in there that are simply attitudes and positions. They'll be things that I'm supporting or enhancing that are already in place. There are about five or six things that I would either initiate or join now others who are also intent on initiating them. One, of course, was the Marshall Plan approach to Central America. One was the reciprocal free trade bill which a lot of people will be working on. One was a new farm support approach which I probably, at the moment, am the only one who has this particular approach to—but there will be others joining me if it's got any validity. I'm probably the only one talking about a concrete proposal to streamline the federal government, instead of just generally that we need to save. I'm not the only one talking about welfare reform but I've got a concept that the others are probably not dealing with that will be a good addition probably. I'd put those five things on the immediate agenda for us to have working over the next couple of months. Oh, you'll be successful in some. Some you'll hit some obstacles that'll slow them down but we'll just see. At least I know what I want to be working on. Then I've got another twenty items that I want to be absolutely concerned with. We've got important banking matters. We've got important conservation matters. We've got important foreign affairs matters beyond Central America that I'm interested in. So I've got about thirty things that I'm pretty well focused on. Not to say that the other few dozen would not have my interest but you can't do everything. I'm attempting campaign reform which I'll be involved in, not as one of the things I'm initiating as much as I'm joining Boren and others. So I know pretty well what I'm going to do. I'm not going up there to spend my time answering the roll and voting according to whatever comes up. I hope I can do better than that.
BRENT GLASS:
You're looking forward to it?
TERRY SANFORD:
Oh yeah. Yeah. Oh hell, yeah. I don't know why [laughter]. But it's an interesting and exciting thing. The real test is whether in the structure of the Senate any one person can make very much difference. I don't know.
BRENT GLASS:
It's a lot different from being the chief executive officer.
TERRY SANFORD:
It's much more difficult to position yourself in that main stream and have something to do with it.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you see yourself being pretty well in the so called southern club fairly early, as opposed to a typical freshman senator?
TERRY SANFORD:
Well, I've got some considerable advantages over them. Whether or not they'll let you in the club, I don't know. They might keep you out of the club. I never could get in the North Carolina senate club. In fact, there were two or three times when they ostracized me because of some position I took. I expect to know how to play that. I don't expect to be playing a loner's role and don't want to. I would much rather be influential in a number of fields and attempting to add something in a constructive way. I didn't expect to stay in the North Carolina Senate but one session because at that time we had what was called a rotation agreement. Cumberland County could have a senator only once every other time. That would mean that every four years you would be back up there for one session. At that time you could be there one season in four years since we didn't meet but every other year. I didn't expect to spend the rest of my life there, so when it was necessary for me to take issue with Governor Umstead or with the leadership that didn't want the appropriations bill discussed, a few things like that, I always stood up and fought them. It turned out all right because they ultimately all were back to stand up and join with what I wanted. I've got a different view here. I'm looking at a much longer term of service.