Governor James Baxter Hunt, Jr. reflects on how his early impressions of Governor Kerr Scott taught him how understanding and utilizing the political system can improve citizens' lives. Interview on May 29, 2012. (4:00)

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And Kerr Scott came along and was elected in 1948 as governor. 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:09.443
This was a time when 00:00:09.443 - 00:00:15.564
the political 00:00:15.564 - 00:00:19.029
power in North Carolina 00:00:19.029 - 00:00:22.668
lay in the hands of big business, 00:00:22.668 - 00:00:26.207
companies that provided electricity, 00:00:26.207 - 00:00:30.936
banks, the big companies, 00:00:30.936 - 00:00:34.046
which by the way are very important; we have to have them. 00:00:34.046 - 00:00:36.824
But they controlled politics 00:00:36.824 - 00:00:39.510
at that time and the little farmers didn't have much of a voice. 00:00:39.510 - 00:00:44.023
The money for politics came from these big companies. 00:00:44.023 - 00:00:48.556
and their idea was hold down taxes, hold down regulation. 00:00:48.556 - 00:00:53.534
Don't mess with us. We're doing fine but don't you mess with us, government. 00:00:53.534 - 00:00:57.078
Stay out of our hair. 00:00:57.078 - 00:00:59.479
And the situation was that people out in the country didn't have electricity. 00:00:59.479 - 00:01:05.650
They didn't have telephones. 00:01:05.650 - 00:01:08.402
They didn't have paved roads. 00:01:08.402 - 00:01:10.750
They had poor schools and not much healthcare. 00:01:10.750 - 00:01:13.812
And nothing was happening to change it. 00:01:13.812 - 00:01:16.492
So this fellow, Kerr Scott, came along. He first became commissioner of agriculture. 00:01:16.492 - 00:01:22.210
From Haw River in Alamance County. 00:01:22.210 - 00:01:24.892
and he thought those things were wrong and they ought to change. 00:01:24.892 - 00:01:28.453
So he was commissioner of agriculture for a few terms and then in 1948 00:01:28.453 - 00:01:34.899
he ran for governor against the power structure in the state 00:01:34.899 - 00:01:41.571
And he beat them. 00:01:41.571 - 00:01:44.852
And he came into the governorship 00:01:44.852 - 00:01:48.813
and lo and behold he proposed that we 00:01:48.813 - 00:01:52.939
force the electrical companies that were serving the towns to run power lines out into the country, 00:01:52.939 - 00:01:59.047
that we require the telephone companies to put lines out to the country, 00:01:59.047 - 00:02:04.587
that we pass a bond issue 00:02:04.587 - 00:02:09.276
-a three hundred million dollar bond issue, which is nothing today- 00:02:09.276 - 00:02:12.926
so that we could pave roads 00:02:12.926 - 00:02:17.133
and people could get from their farms into town without getting stuck in the mud. 00:02:17.133 - 00:02:21.558
Well, my family had worked hard to elect Kerr Scott. 00:02:21.558 - 00:02:28.676
They thought he was the kind of progressive person that would improve the lives of us average people. 00:02:28.676 - 00:02:35.812
And Kerr Scott won and he went about doing the very things he said he would do. 00:02:35.812 - 00:02:42.501
And one of the things he did, when I was thirteen years old, 00:02:42.501 - 00:02:47.513
was to have our farm road paved. 00:02:47.513 - 00:02:53.005
Now, as I said, most people don't understand how important it is to have a paved road because they all live on them now. 00:02:53.005 - 00:03:00.673
In those days most of them were not paved. 00:03:00.673 - 00:03:03.396
They were dirt, 00:03:03.396 - 00:03:05.564
and as I said, you'd get stuck in the middle of the road in the winter, 00:03:05.564 - 00:03:09.128
And Kerr Scott paved ours when I was thirteen years old. I stood at the mailbox 00:03:09.128 - 00:03:14.962
-my house was about two hundred yards from the mailbox- 00:03:14.962 - 00:03:18.043
and I saw that road paving machine come down our road, 00:03:18.043 - 00:03:24.312
laying down that asphalt, 00:03:24.312 - 00:03:27.905
paving our road, 00:03:27.905 - 00:03:30.102
and I thought to myself, 00:03:30.102 - 00:03:32.896
through politics you can improve your life. 00:03:32.896 - 00:03:37.474
You can get some things down that you deserve to have done and that people need to have done. 00:03:37.474 - 00:03:44.671
That's the first time it really hit me 00:03:44.671 - 00:03:48.506
about how important it is to get involved in the political process. 00:03:48.506 - 00:03:53.113

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