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James Holshouser

American politician

Died when: 78 years 252 days (944 months)
Star Sign: Libra


James Holshouser

James Eubert Holshouser Jr. (October 8, 1934 – June 17, 2013) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 68th Governor of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977.

He was the first Republican candidate to be elected as governor of the state since 1896.Born in Boone, North Carolina, Holshouser initially sought to become a sports journalist before deciding to pursue a law degree.

While in law school he developed an interest in politics and in 1962 he was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives where he focused on restructuring government and higher education institutions, and drug abuse legislation.

Made chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party in March 1966, he established the organization's first permanent staff and gained prominence by opposing a cigarette tax.

Holshouser ran for the office of Governor of North Carolina in 1972, winning the Republican nomination and narrowly defeating his Democratic opponent in the general election.

Inaugurated in January 1973, he fired many incumbent state employees to accommodate the awarding of patronage to hundreds of Republicans who had been unable to work in the state administration under Democratic control, appointed the first woman in a cabinet-level position in the state's history, and enacted hundreds of cost-cutting measures.

Though not empowered with veto power and facing a Democrat-dominated legislature, he cultivated a working relationship with Lieutenant Governor Jim Hunt.

Together, they backed the expansion of the state's kindergarten program and environmental legislation and unsuccessfully pursued the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Holshouser governed as a pragmatic centrist, and his control over the state Republican organization was undermined by conservative supporters of U.S.

Senator Jesse Helms.Leaving office in January 1977, he practiced law in Southern Pines and served on the UNC Board of Governors before dying in 2013.

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