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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., January 31, 1998. Interview C-0328-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Thoughts on polling

In reflecting on polling, Holshouser offers his thoughts on what politicians owe their constituents. In the case of North Carolina, Holshouser believes that the state's residents deserve a working public school system, good roads, fair taxes, and good jobs. He learned this through a "pretty amateurish" polling operation. Despite this wide mandate, Holshouser says he believes in limited government.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., January 31, 1998. Interview C-0328-1. 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

JACK FLEER:
We've got you elected and I wanted to talk about several different roles that a governor plays, if you don't mind that word, as governor. And the first role that I want to talk about with you is your role as a public leader. I have in mind here the idea of a governor's relationship with the general public either directly or through the media. And what I would like to do is asked you to think about those situations where you want to find out what the people of the state want you to do as governor. How do you go about doing that?
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
Well I tell you Jack I have the feeling that most people who run for governor run with their own ideas about what they want to do for the state. I think that is what is going to be what drives them. If all of us are honest, I think we will convince ourselves that if that is not what the public really wants that's, because they just don't know as much as we do. Now you can do polls and as I told you we didn't have much money. We set up a very jerry-rigged kind of polling operation where we had people in each county get a half of a dozen of folks together once a month and either do the required number of calls or the required number of houses of this kind of household or that kind of household and we started that during the campaign and it worked very well and we continued that during the four years of office. So we had the most amateurish and yet at the same time pretty accurate polling operation during the whole time. You would ask questions about issues that were on the front burner. But if you get right down to it I think the public has a right to expect the state government leadership to see that it has a good public school system and that includes higher education as well and the community colleges. That it has good roads to drive on. That it doesn't tax them to death. And that it does as much as it can to help them have good jobs. The last is much more limited than the other two because you are not directly hands on in providing those jobs except in the public sector. Now the public also has a right and they are different, everybody says they want a good environment but when you get down to what people mean by that there are a lot of different views. I think the government has a role to play in seeing that the environment within the state is healthy. I am still basically a believer in the Abraham Lincoln theory that government ought to do for those folks only those things that they can't do as well for themselves. I just know at the time Lincoln said that there were a lot of things that didn't need government at that point that may need government today.