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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., March 13, 1998. Interview C-0328-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

North Carolina law enhances late-term governor's lame duck status

Holshouser remembers feeling "about as lame a duck as you can get" in the waning months of his term, in part because he was approaching the end of his tenure, but also because at the time, North Carolina's governor had no veto power. Without that power, he avoided opposing the Administrative Procedures Act despite his dislike for it.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., March 13, 1998. Interview C-0328-2. 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:
The last question I want to ask you about your relationship with the legislature, maybe is not quite as hypothetical as the one I asked you earlier. But if you had had the veto power in your term as governor would you have used it, and if so what on?
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
Well I haven't given a whole lot of thought about that since I didn't have it. But as I have looked back I would probably have vetoed the Administrative Procedures Act because I had the sense at that time that I couldn't slow that down by lobbying against it and so I didn't fight it. It was the last year of my term and I was about as lame of a duck as you could get. I mean the Democrat primary and the Republican primary for governor had already been held and there it was. I sort of felt like that had the potential to get the whole process involvement with the governor so entangled… [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
We were talking about the Administrative Procedures Act and the fact that some people think that there is merit and I think there is in saying that if you are not happy with the state agency's decision here is how you go about appealing that. But unfortunately it has the overall effect of slowing down the process of implementation of things so badly that I think it serves poorly. It also means that if you decide that you have made a mistake in a regulation, it takes between six and nine months to change it. Just because of the hearings you are required to go through and the things that you have to file and the chance for input from everybody. And if you have screwed up you ought to be able to change it faster than that.
JACK FLEER:
Well that is a very major act, I mean the consequences of that.
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
It was, and I will admit that part of the reason I didn't fight it, if it had been in 1973, I think I would have fought it. I wouldn't have been as much of a lame duck but it would have also effected me a lot more. Because I knew that it was going to effect the next governor a lot more than it did me. I decided I guess that if Jim Hunt could live with it, that I would let him live with it at that point.
JACK FLEER:
And he was in the legislature during that time.
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
He was presiding over the senate as Lt. Governor.