Letters: Fond memories of Sen. Jesse Helms
Fond memories of Sen. Jesse Helms
In 1973, it became my distinct pleasure and high honor to become Senator Helms’ campaign manager in Greene County, the first Republican campaign manager in that county since Reconstruction. The following story grew out of that relationship.
Our small family business had been making a patent medicine for the treatment of mange on dogs and horses since 1946. In 1974, a Washington bureaucrat issued a stop sale for lack of clinical evidence the product was safe and effective. While preparing to meet with Helms to discuss this problem, I penned an editorial the gist of which was, “What if the regulators had been around when the Wright Brothers tried to get their plane off the ground?”
The editorial was sent to the Raleigh News & Observer and the Washington Post. The editorial policy of the News & Observer was as studiedly liberal as Helms’ firebrand TV commentary was conservative. In a few days, the N&O returned the editorial as “not being newsworthy.” Shortly afterwards, a staff member from the senator’s office sent me a copy of the editorial which had been published in the Washington Post. When Helms learned the N&O had rejected the editorial, he had it read into the Congressional Record.
Over the next 20 years, we would meet often when the regulators and the re-regulators became overzealous. It didn’t seem to matter that I never contributed more than $100 to any of his re-election campaigns.ó Joe Exum