Senator from North Carolina, elected '72, not on Nixon's coattails (for he had none), but on a wave of support from Jessecrats. On one hand, he quietly does charitable works. On the other, he's a slumlord. And maybe a racist. And a champion xenophobe; he'll be a Cold Warrior unto death, and will spit on Fidel Castro's grave ASAP. Did I mention he's a racist? The poster boy of the Bible-believin' God-fearin' Old South. A nice man, and a gifted parliamentarian. For a racist.

Although I personally find the views and politics of this man repugnant I believe that, in order for us to represent him as a node there should be more here than subjective write-ups showing disapproval of him - he’s a misguided and hateful person (in my opinion) but he has been successful in his career. The information below comes from the senate website under his biography and a few other sites. I have made an attempt to prune some of the obvious flattery this original biography contained and I’m including further information dealing with his actions and words.

Basic history:

Born in Monroe, North Carolina on October 18, 1921. He attended the Monroe public schools, Wingate (NC) Junior College and Wake Forest College.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 through 1945.

After WWII, he became the city editor of The Raleigh Times, and later, Director of News and Programs for the Tobacco Radio Network and Radio Station WRAL, in Raleigh.

He served as Administrative Assistant to United States Senator Willis Smith from 1951 to 1953 and United States Senator Alton Lennon in 1953.

In 1952, Mr. Helms directed the radio-television division of the presidential campaign of Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia, who was seeking the Democratic Party nomination.

From 1953 through 1960, Mr. Helms was Executive Director of the North Carolina Bankers Association, and served as editor of the Tarheel Banker.

He served two two-year terms on the Raleigh City Council. During the four years, 1957 to 1961, he served as Chairman of the Council's Law and Finance Committee.

From 1960 until his election to the Senate, he was Executive Vice President, Vice Chairman of the Board and assistant Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Broadcasting Company, Raleigh, North Carolina.

From 1960 until he filed for the Senate in 1972, he wrote and presented daily editorials on WRAL-TV and the Tobacco Radio Network.

He began his first term in the Senate in January 1973; was reelected to a second term on November 7, 1978; to a third term on November 6, 1984; a fourth term on November 6, 1990; and a fifth term on November 7, 1996. He is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations , a member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and a member of the Rules And Administration Committee.


Other Fun facts:

He has served as the Director of the North Carolina Cerebral Palsy Hospital in Durham, the Director of the United Cerebral Palsy of North Carolina, and the Director of the Wake County Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Center in Raleigh.
He is a Baptist (Big surprise), and prior to his election to the Senate served as a deacon and a Sunday School teacher at Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh.
He was one of the founders and serves as a director of Camp Willow Run, a Youth Camp for Christ at Littleton, North Carolina.
He has served on the Board of Trustees of Meredith College, John F. Kennedy College, Campbell University and Wingate College.
His name was placed in nomination for Vice President of the United States at the GOP convention in Kansas City in 1976. Although he asked the convention to withdraw his name, he nevertheless received 99 delegate votes.
He is married to the former Dorothy Jane Coble of Raleigh. He is the father of three children: Jane (Mrs. Charles R. Knox), Nancy (Mrs. John Stuart) of Raleigh and Charles of Winston-Salem, and has seven grandchildren.
He holds honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina and Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania and he has received Honorary Degrees from Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina, and Wingate University, Wingate, North Carolina.
He is past president of the Raleigh Rotary Club, and the Raleigh Executives Club. He is a 33rd degree Mason, Grand Lodge of Masons of North Carolina (Grand Orator, 1965, 1982, and 1991) and is a member of the Shrine.

In addition to the biographical information, here are a few more interesting tidbits:

People he admires: Thomas Jefferson (for famous Americans), Billy Graham (for famous North Carolinian)
Books he likes: Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe
More info. He hosted a luncheon for discussing third world debt and invited (of all people) Bono from U2. Bono’s quote from this was "It's an extraordinary thing, I will admit, to have Jesse Helms to throw a lunch for you," said Bono. "You know it's bad for both of our images."
He’s sponsored several bills and resolutions in the 107th and 106th congress. This is a bit of a cut and paste. I’ve not included the specific bill and resolution numbers but these are a few that I thought were interesting:



  • a bill that could potentially strip a school district of federal funds if they banned the Boy Scouts due to discrimination against Homosexuals. In his words to the senate: “Specifically, the pending amendment stipulates that if a public elementary school, or a public secondary school, discriminates against the Boy Scouts of America - or any other youth group similar to the Boy Scouts - in providing equal access to school facilities, then that school will be in jeopardy of losing its federal funds.”
  • A resolution commending the Blue Devils of Duke University for winning the 2001 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship
  • A bill to prohibit the provision of Federal funds to any State or local educational agency that denies or prevents participation in constitutional prayer in schools
  • A bill to protect the lives of unborn human beings
  • A bill to make it a violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States to perform an abortion with the knowledge that the abortion is being performed solely because of the gender of the fetus.
  • A bill to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make preferential treatment an unlawful employment practice, and for other purposes.
  • A bill to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States Government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not a party.
  • A bill to bar access to United States capital markets to enterprises owned or controlled by the People's Republic of China, and for other purposes.


  • A concurrent resolution commemorating the 60th anniversary of the execution of Polish captives by Soviet authorities in April and May 1940.
  • A resolution expressing the appreciation of the Senate for the service of United States Army personnel who lost their lives in service of their country in an anti-drug mission in Colombia and expressing sympathy to the families and loved ones of such personnel
  • A resolution condemning the violence in Chechnya.
  • A resolution urging the decommissioning of arms and explosives in Northern Ireland.
  • A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate with respect to Mother's Day that the United States Senate should reject the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as it demeans motherhood and undermines the traditional family
  • A bill to protect the lives of unborn human beings.
  • A bill to amend title X of the Public Health Service Act to permit family planning projects to offer adoption services.
  • A bill to prohibit the provision of Federal funds to any State or local educational agency that denies or prevents participation in constitutional prayer in schools.
  • A bill to prohibit the executive branch of the Federal Government from establishing an additional class of individuals that is protected against discrimination in Federal employment, and for other purposes - this was in response to a Clinton Executive Order banning Federal discrimination against Homosexuals.
  • A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 114 Ridge Street in Lenoir, North Carolina, as the "James T. Broyhill Post Office Building".
  • An original bill to authorize additional assistance to countries with large populations having HIV/AIDS, to authorize assistance for tuberculosis prevention, treatment, control, and elimination, and for other purposes.
  • To appropriate, with a rescission, funds for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
  • To require the President certify to Congress that the People's Republic of China has taken certain actions with respect to ensuring human rights protection.

More you ask?

  • Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Helms praised the dictatorial rule of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, even as Pinochet's military government crushed its civilian opposition with dirty war tactics. 
  • In the early 1980s, Helms played top Washington apologist for Roberto D'Aubuisson, the archconservative former military officer who ran several Salvadoran death squads. Confronted with evidence that D'Aubuisson directed death squads to murder civilians, Helms made it clear that some things are more important than human life. "All I know," he replied, "is that D'Aubuisson is a free enterprise man and deeply religious."
  • One of his tactics since being elected is to force votes on bills he knows will not pass just to get a recorded vote on an issue.
  • He opposed a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But still claims not to be a racist. During the civil rights movement railed against King, "Negro hoodlums," the media, "sex perverts," and anyone on welfare. He explained in one of his nightly broadcasts, "A lot of human beings have been born bums."
  • He worked as a researcher for Willis Smith's Senate run in 1950. In the Primary election run, his opponent did not garner 50% of the vote, Smith then ran a vicious, racially divisive campaign: "White People Wake Up", painting Frank Porter Graham as a communist. He won the primary in a run-off election. During this campaign Smith ran an add featuring doctored photos of the wife of his opponent, dancing with a black man. Helms denied involvement, but a newspaper advertising manager later told Helms biographer, Ernest Furgurson, that Helms personally cut the photos.

    Ok, last fact: In high school he was voted Most Obnoxious.

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