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Jesse Helms

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Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr.
United States Senator
from North Carolina
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by B. Everett Jordan
Succeeded by Elizabeth Dole
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Claiborne Pell
Succeeded by Joe Biden
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Herman Talmadge
Succeeded by Patrick Leahy
Personal details
Born October 18, 1921(1921-10-18)
Monroe, North Carolina, U.S.
Died July 4, 2008(2008-07-04) (aged 86)
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Resting place Historic Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic (1942-1970)[1] Republican (1970-2008)
Spouse(s) Dorothy "Dot" Helms
Children 2 daughters, 1 son
Occupation Journalist
Religion Baptist
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1942 – 1945

Jesse Helms (October 18, 1921 - July 4, 2008) was a Senator from North Carolina. He was also the longest serving senator from that state, serving five terms. He opposed school integration, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, interracial marriage, civil rights, feminism, gay rights, affirmative action, tax increases, abortion, foreign aid, communism, and giving government money to art that had nudity in it.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] This gave him the nickname 'Senator No'.[3][5][9] He and Strom Thurmond were leaders of the extreme conservatives (people who believe very strongly in right-wing beliefs). Before being a Senator, he was a writer.


He had many problems with his health, including prostate cancer and Paget's disease.[10] He remained in poor health after retirement. He began to have failing memory and confusion. At last, he was moved to a nursing home near his home in Raleigh, North Carolina[11] On July 4, 2008, Helms died of vascular dementia at the age of 86.[12] He is buried in Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina.


  1. Pinsky, Mark I. (21 March 1981). "Helms Exhorts Tobacco Bloc to Fight Budget Cuts". The New York Times. p. 1.
  2. Barnes, Bart (5 July 2008). "JESSE HELMS: 1921-2008: 'Senator No' served 5 terms, hailed as saint of New Right". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Margasak, Larry (5 July 2008). "Jesse Helms: Polarizer, not a compromiser". Associated press reprinted in Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle and others). Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  4. Calabresi, Massimo; Karen Tumulty (4 July 2008). "Jesse Helms: Stubborn on the Right". Time magazine.,8599,1820357,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Jesse Helms: The Far-right Senator Who Refused To Compromise". The Week. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  6. Taranto, James (8 July 2008). "The Department of Racial Development". Wall Street journal. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  7. McEwan, Melissa (7 July 2008). "Republican Dinosaur: Although he Fought Every Progressive Cause, Jesse Helms Aimed Special Enmity Towards Black People". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  8. "Jesse Helms: Senator for North Carolina who Took an Uncompromisingly Conservative View of Race, AIDS and Communism". Telegraph News. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  9. Williams, Juan (12 July 2008). "Jesse Helms was no hero". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  11. Christensen, Ron (April 2, 2006). "Age takes toll on Helms". The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC).
  12. "Former Sen. Jesse Helms dies at 86: Republican known as 'Senator No' served 30 years before retiring in 2003". The Associated Press. July 4, 2008.