NC Leaders React To Former Gov. Holshouser Death

The Associated Press gathered reaction from North Carolina election officials and politicians about Monday's death of former Gov. Jim Holshouser at age 78:

"James Holshouser was more than a friend and mentor, he was a genuine leader ... his passing is not only a loss for the state of North Carolina, but for the countless number of people who were personally touched by his guidance and kindness. (First lady Ann McCrory) and I will have the Holshouser family in our prayers." - Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

"I treasure the many times we spent together discussing his passion - the education of young North Carolinians. Gov. Holshouser was an expert at building relationships with people of all backgrounds and political persuasions. His success was directly linked to his kind and decent demeanor, and the manner in which he defined statesmanship. Even as his health failed him in later years, his service to North Carolina never stopped. Today our state lost one of its greatest sons, but Gov. James Holshouser will be remembered and respected for generations to come." - House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.

"Gov. Holshouser made an indelible mark on our state's history. He dedicated his life to serving others, and his legacy of strengthening our state's public schools and universities continues to ensure bright futures for our students. Gov. Holshouser was a dear friend and trusted adviser, and I will miss him greatly." - Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.

"Gov. Holshouser was a statesman in every sense of the word. Even after his term as governor ended, he continued to contribute to North Carolina and he will be sorely missed." - Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

"Jim served during a time of great change in our nation. As our state and our country worked to fulfill our ideals as a land of opportunity for all, he appointed African Americans to key positions and named the first woman to a cabinet-level position. Jim leaves behind many contributions to North Carolina, and my thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family during this difficult time." - U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

"Gov. Holshouser was one of the kindest and most sincere people to ever become involved in North Carolina politics. Staying true to his mountain roots, Jim would always shoot you straight and stay true to his word ... to those of us who knew him personally, Jim was a trusted counselor, leader, and, most importantly, a great friend. Today, all North Carolinians have lost one of the true statesmen of our time." - U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

"Gov. Holshouser served our State with great distinction, bringing strong accountability to Raleigh. His common-sense reforms and restructuring helped control the growth of state government and rein in excessive spending, providing a model that should be replicated today." - U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C.

"He often worked across the aisle to get results, and where he disagreed he was never disagreeable_in short, he was a statesman and a pragmatic leader who cared deeply about North Carolina and her people, and we will miss him." - U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

"A trailblazer, Gov. Holshouser was instrumental in expanding the Republican Party throughout North Carolina and set the foundation for the majorities we see today. But above all, Gov. Holshouser was a dedicated public servant and true Southern gentleman who believed freedom, responsible government, and education were the keys to charting our future and fostering growth." - U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.

Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Holshouser has died.

Holshouser's personal secretary of 35 years, Leslie Watts, says he died Monday morning. He was 78.

A native of Boone, Holshouser was the first Republican elected governor in the state in the 20th century when he won during President Richard Nixon's landslide victory in 1972.

Holshouser created a University of North Carolina Board of Governors to oversee the state's newly consolidated system of public universities and established health clinics in rural areas. He expanded public school kindergartens and added to the state parks system.

After leaving office in 1977, Holshouser moved to Southern Pines and returned to practicing law. He also served 16 years on the UNC-system board.

Watts said Holshouser's family will issue a statement Monday afternoon.