Lots of pinback buttons came out of Jim Hunt’s four successful runs for governor — as well as his failed attempt to unseat Sen. Jesse Helms — but campaigns for lieutenant governor are relatively understated. Hunt served just one term, 1973 to 1977, as a tune-up for moving up to “governor for life.”
When President Obama singled out Kathy Proctor, the furniture worker turned Forsyth Tech biotechnology student, it marked the fifth time North Carolina has been mentioned [search here] in a State of the Union address.
In the very first such address, in 1790, George Washington waited only one sentence before listing “the recent accession of the important state of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received)” among those “circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity.”
But more than two centuries would pass before North Carolina received another presidential nod. (A long time between drinks, some might say.) Bill Clinton put in a plug for Jim Hunt’s educational advances in 1997 and again in 1999. Then Obama in 2010 cited the jobs created by Celgard, a Charlotte battery manufacturer.
Still, despite this recent rush of attention, no State of the Unionist but Washington has ever gone so far as to call North Carolina “important.”