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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 >>

Access and power as governor

Holshouser enjoyed the privileges of the governorship, he confesses. He liked his easy access to sporting events and the trips, but also the sense that he could really get things done.

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

JACK FLEER:
What is the most satisfying thing about being Governor?
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
Well I told people that it probably is pulling the car right up in front of Reynolds Coliseum or Kenan Stadium and getting out and walking in. Actually that is not so; although it is pretty satisfying. I think being able to get some things done that I wanted to do as a legislator but couldn't which is the reason I ran to start with. I didn't really run just to be the first Republican governor, given that little clip about I thought they needed me and I think, that part was just really good. Got to do a lot of travelling, saw a lot of the country, going to governors' conferences. The Irish Government invited the governors to the First Church bicentennial. Being part of the bicentennial was also a very special thing that nobody but me got to do as governor. That had a lot of meaning particularly the time in the last year of the administration when you were moving into serious lame duck status. That was something that was energizing in itself and I really enjoyed that. We had the national governor's conference in Hershey a week before the bicentennial and all the governors went down to Washington to see Queen Elizabeth out on her boat that she had pulled over and got back in town to do the things in Raleigh. That was a really good part.
JACK FLEER:
Some perquisites of the position that offset the lack of privacy and the demands of time.
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
Yes. They are because you have got all of these planes and helicopters and patrol cars that you can use to go places. You have got things that people do for you because of the office, not because of you, because of the office that are just always very genuine. I am not talking about the …sort of giving you themselves in a way just makes you feel good. It was satisfying in being able to say let's do this and seeing it happens. Because if you say it to the legislature let's do this you have got to go and persuade at least 61 people in the house and 26 in the Senate to do that and it still may not come out like you want it depending on how it gets implemented.
JACK FLEER:
But you have numerous occasions you are implying where you could say we are going to do it and it happens?
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
That is right.
JACK FLEER:
Policy and governmental.
JAMES E. HOLSHOUSER, JR.:
Well, and little things. I had always thought it was crazy to have new license plates every year and so now you get that little sticker and of course that cuts down on the number of plates that were made by the inmates. The correctional people were saying what are we going to do with all those people all the day and there is always the argument against that. I thought we had a disjointed way of handling the budget in some ways. We have changed some of that. I wanted to do a program budget. We did that one year and the legislators just hated it.