Meeting Gov. Hunt

Judge Ronald E. Spivey recalls going to an election night watch near campus in 1978 and meeting Governor James. B. Hunt, Jr., for the first time.

Interview on 2014-12-15


00:00:00.000 One of the things about NC State that I love so much is you meet so many people, and I tell this to all the kids that talk to me about coming to NC State.
00:00:09.241 Not only do you get this incredible education but you get this exposure to so many people that you otherwise would never get to meet.
00:00:17.414 I've got a perfect example of that. I was washing my clothes one night and the laundry down in Bagwell was busy, so for some reason I went over to Hillsborough Street to this old laundromat
00:00:29.163 that had a black and white TV that was flipping over because the dryers were going.
00:00:32.970 It was the night of the 1978 general election and a Senate election was the big-ticket item that night.
00:00:41.306 It was John Ingram, the commissioner of insurance, versus Jesse Helms, who was running for reelection.
00:00:46.623 On this television was a broadcast that was being done from the Mission Valley Inn.
00:00:51.221 Well I knew that was not far from Bagwell, right across Western Boulevard, and I saw all these celebrities, in my mind, who were there, celebrities from political circles,
00:01:01.808 and I thought about it and I'm like, wow; that's only like a few blocks away. I'm going to go home to my dorm room and get the only suit I've got and put it on
00:01:11.096 and just go over there and stand outside the door and see if I can see some of these people, not meet them, just see them.
00:01:17.737 I walked over there and found out that this was not an event you had to have a ticket for; you just walked in.
00:01:23.588 So I walked in and there were all these TV lights and all these politicians I had heard about, and I turned around and, lo and behold, I'm standing behind Jim Hunt,
00:01:35.569 who was then the governor of North Carolina and I knew had been student body president at NC State.
00:01:40.329 I wasn't sure what to do and I'm like, "Sir, I'm Ron Spivey and I'm a freshman senator at NC State."
00:01:45.948 It was the first time I'd met the governor,
00:01:49.988 and you flash forward sixteen years later when we had a judge resign to become a federal prosecutor and the governor was charged with the task of finding a replacement judge,
00:02:01.621 and that same guy appointed me in my original seat as a District Court judge.
00:02:06.055 But we, of course, saw each other many, many times over the time that I was in Student Government. That was the first time that I had the chance to meet this guy that was going to be having such an impact in my life over the course of my judicial career.