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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., May 9, 1998. Interview C-0328-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Personal pressures of the governorship

Holshouser's governorship made him and his family "look at life in a different way," he says. From his efforts to convince a reporter that his family vacations were not being funded by a supporter, to his wife's efforts to deal with the demands of her role, Holshouser reveals the governorship as a personally challenging position.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., May 9, 1998. Interview C-0328-3. 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

Did you take any special efforts to, let's say for example, guarantee vacation time or things of that type?
Yes, we always left North Carolina the day after Christmas and went to Ft Lauderdale and spent from Christmas to New Years as a family. We took two weeks off in the summertime and went to the western residence. When we went to Florida, we didn't have any security people, no staff or anything, just the three of us got on the airplane and went. When I say the airplane, commercial flight, probably could have got away with the other, just didn't. And Ned Cline of the Greensboro paper one time got on to a rumor that some business man was setting us up at his private abode down in Florida, thought we were on the take about something and snooped around and snooped around. I finally said, Ned I am not going to tell you where I go because I don't want any phone calls ever down there. But I can tell you this, we flew commercial, we stayed in a commercial motel, we have paid for ourselves, paid for the plane flight, paid for the meals and there is just nothing to it. He had traveled enough with me during the campaign that he knew if I had told him that it was so.
Is it the lack of privacy that you think is the most serious "negative," if there is a negative, or is it something else?
Well, for the wife there is going to be about as many demands on her. Plus, she has always got the governor's staff calling over saying you need to do this and you need to do that and most of the time…
Public functions she should perform?
Yes, or something that she ought to do. She probably knows as well as they know whether she should do it or not. And when she gets criticized and she got criticized a few times, three or four times in the four years about something. Really upset her and it upset me too. Those were just passing things. You just said. "It's a bad editorial," go on to tomorrow. If you think you did the right thing don't second guess yourself. I think the overall experience for all three of us though is that we look at life a different way. Now she has still got the same core of interests that she had before I ever got involved with politics, before we ever got engaged, this nursing. And while she focused in on Hospice over the last decade or so, that has always been her first love in a sense. While there was a lot about politics she enjoyed and we both made a lot of friends, I think she has been glad to get back to that.