Jesse Helms
Overview
Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr. (October 18, 1921 – July 4, 2008) was a five-term Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 United States Senator from North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001. A leading conservative, he helped organize and fund the conservative resurgence in the 1970s, aiding Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's quest for the White House and helping many local and regional candidates.

A journalist by training, Helms was the longest-serving popularly-elected Senator in North Carolina's history, and was widely credited with shifting the one-party state dominated by the Democrats into a competitive two-party state.
Quotations

I've been portrayed as a caveman by some. That's not true. I'm a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they Slants, Beaners, or Niggers.

North Carolina Progressive, February 6, 1985, quoted from the Democratic Alliance

Encyclopedia
Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr. (October 18, 1921 – July 4, 2008) was a five-term Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 United States Senator from North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001. A leading conservative, he helped organize and fund the conservative resurgence in the 1970s, aiding Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's quest for the White House and helping many local and regional candidates.

A journalist by training, Helms was the longest-serving popularly-elected Senator in North Carolina's history, and was widely credited with shifting the one-party state dominated by the Democrats into a competitive two-party state. The Helms-controlled National Congressional Club's state-of-the-art direct mail
Direct mail
Advertising mail, also known as direct mail, junk mail, or admail, is the delivery of advertising material to recipients of postal mail. The delivery of advertising mail forms a large and growing service for many postal services, and direct-mail marketing forms a significant portion of the direct...

 operation raised millions for Helms and other conservative candidates allowing Helms to outspend his opponents in most of his campaigns.

An unreconstructed Southern conservative, he began his political career in the Democratic Party in the days when white Southern politicians championed racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

. He moved to the Republican party in the 1970s. Helms was the most stridently conservative politician of the post 1960 era, especially in opposition to federal intervention into what he considered state affairs (integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

, the Civil Rights Act
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

 and the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

). Helms tried, with a 16-day filibuster
Filibuster
A filibuster is a type of parliamentary procedure. Specifically, it is the right of an individual to extend debate, allowing a lone member to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal...

, to stop the Senate from approving a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...



Helms was credited even by his most vociferous opponents with providing excellent constituent services through his Senate office.

As long-time chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he demanded a staunchly anti-communist foreign policy that would reward America's friends abroad, and punish its enemies. His relations with the State Department were often acrimonious, and he blocked numerous presidential appointees. However, he worked smoothly with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Korbelová Albright is the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0...

.

In domestic affairs, Helms promoted industrial development in the South, seeking low taxes and few labor unions so as to attract northern and international corporations to relocate in North Carolina.

On social issues, Helms was a traditionalist. He was a "master obstructionist" who relished his nickname, "Senator No." He opposed, at various times, civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

, disability rights, feminism
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....

, gay rights, affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

, abortion
Abortion in the United States
Abortion in the United States has been legal in every state since the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, on January 22, 1973...

, and government support for contemporary art with graphic sexuality. Helms brought an "aggressiveness" to his conservatism, as in his rhetoric against homosexuality, and employed racially charged language
Racial politics
Racial politics is a term used to describe politicians exploiting the issue of race for a personal agenda.-Racial politics in Malaysia:Malaysian politician Chang Ko Youn put forward "Malaysia has practised racial politics for 51 years and we know it is divisive as each party only talks on behalf of...

 in his campaigns and editorials. He combined cultural, social and economic conservatism which often helped his legislation win overwhelming support. The Almanac of American Politics once wrote that "no American politician is more controversial, beloved in some quarters and hated in others, than Jesse Helms."

Childhood and education (1921–1940)

Helms was born in Monroe
Monroe, North Carolina
Monroe is a city in Union County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 36,397 as of the 2010 census. It is the seat of government of Union County and is also part of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC Metropolitan area.-Geography:...

, North Carolina, where his father, called 'Big Jesse', served as both chief of police and fire chief; his mother, Ethel Mae Helms, was a homemaker.

Helms briefly attended Wingate Junior College, now Wingate University
Wingate University
Wingate University was founded by Baptists in 1896 as Wingate School, an independent, co-educational institution and became a four-year college in 1977. In 1996, Wingate College became Wingate University....

, near Monroe, before leaving for Wake Forest College. He dropped out after a year to begin a career as a journalist, working for the next 11 years as a newspaper and radio reporter: first as a sportswriter and news reporter for The News & Observer
The News & Observer
The News & Observer is the regional daily newspaper of the Research Triangle area of the U.S. State of North Carolina. The N&O, as it is popularly called, is based in Raleigh and also covers Durham, Cary, and Chapel Hill. The paper also has substantial readership in most of the state east of...

, and also as assistant city editor and city editor for The Raleigh Times. Helms met Dorothy "Dot" Coble, editor of the society page
Society page
In journalism, society reporting or society journalism is the reporting of society news in a newspaper or magazine. In the newsroom it is the province of the society desk.-Beginnings:...

 at The News & Observer, and they married in 1942. Helms first interest in politics came from conversations with his father-in-law, who was a conservative.

Early career (1940–1972)

Helms's first full-time job after college was as a sports reporter
Sports journalism
Sports journalism is a form of journalism that reports on sports topics and events.While the sports department within some newspapers has been mockingly called the toy department, because sports journalists do not concern themselves with the 'serious' topics covered by the news desk, sports...

 with The Raleigh Times. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Helms served stateside as a recruiter in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. In 1945, his first child, Jane, was born. After the war, he pursued his twin interests of journalism and Democratic party politics. Helms became the city news editor of The Raleigh Times, and later became a radio and television newscaster and commentator with a large statewide audience.

Entry into politics

In 1950, Helms played a critical role as campaign publicity director for Willis Smith
Willis Smith
Willis Smith was a Democratic U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina between 1950 and 1953.-Early life and education:Born in Virginia, he moved to North Carolina before age 2...

 in the U.S. Senate campaign against a prominent liberal Frank Porter Graham
Frank Porter Graham
Frank Porter Graham was a president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and, for a brief period, United States Senator.-Early life:...

. Graham, who supported school desegregation, was labelled by Smith (a conservative Democratic lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association
American Bar Association
The American Bar Association , founded August 21, 1878, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. The ABA's most important stated activities are the setting of academic standards for law schools, and the formulation...

) as a "dupe of communists" and a proponent of the "mingling of the races", as a played out on fliers including the phrase "Wake Up, White People" in the virtually all-white Democratic primaries. Smith won and hired Helms to be his administrative assistant in Washington. In 1952, Helms worked on the presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

 of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 Senator Richard Russell
Richard Russell, Jr.
Richard Brevard Russell, Jr. was a Democratic Party politician from the southeastern state of Georgia. He served as state governor from 1931 to 1933 and United States senator from 1933 to 1971....

. After Russell dropped out of the presidential race, Helms returned to working for Smith. When Smith died in 1953, Helms returned to Raleigh and, from 1953 to 1960, was executive director of the North Carolina Bankers Association. He set up a home on Caswell Street in the Hayes Barton Historic District
Hayes Barton Historic District
The Hayes Barton Historic District is a neighborhood located northwest of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Hayes Barton, an upper class neighborhood designed by landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper, contains 457 buildings on . The neighborhood design includes roads fitted to the contours of the...

, where he lived until he died.

In 1957, Helms won his first election for a Raleigh City Council
Raleigh City Council
Raleigh City Council is the governing body for the city of Raleigh, the state capital of North Carolina.Raleigh is governed by council-manager government. It is composed of eight members, including the Mayor of Raleigh. Five of the members are elected from the five districts that cover the city. ...

 seat, and served two terms and earned a reputation as a conservative gadfly who "fought against everything from putting a median strip on Downtown Boulevard to an urban renewal project". In 1960, Helms worked on the unsuccessful primary gubernatorial campaign of I. Beverly Lake, Sr., who ran on a platform of racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

. The U.S Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 had recently handed down the Cooper v. Aaron
Cooper v. Aaron
Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 , was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which held that the states were bound by the Court's decisions, and could not choose to ignore them.-Background of the case:...

decision insisting on the dismantling of segregated school systems, and that, combined with the lunch-counter demonstrations in Greensboro
Greensboro sit-ins
The Greensboro sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests which led to the Woolworth's department store chain reversing its policy of racial segregation in the Southern United States....

, compelled him to run. Lake lost to Terry Sanford
Terry Sanford
James Terry Sanford was a United States politician and educator from North Carolina. A member of the Democratic Party, Sanford was the 65th Governor of North Carolina , a two-time U.S. Presidential candidate in the 1970s and a U.S. Senator...

, who ran as a racial moderate willing to implement the federal policy of school integration. Helms felt forced busing and forced racial integration caused animosity on both sides and "proved to be unwise".

Capitol Broadcasting Company

In 1960, Helms joined the Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting Company
Capitol Broadcasting Company
Capitol Broadcasting Company is a TV and radio broadcast company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. They also own and operate the minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls.-TV:*WRAL-TV 5...

 (CBC) as the executive vice-president, vice chairman of the board, and assistant chief executive officer. His daily CBC editorials on WRAL-TV
WRAL-TV
WRAL-TV, virtual channel 5 , is a television station in Raleigh, North Carolina. WRAL-TV has been the flagship station of Capitol Broadcasting Company since its inception, and is currently the CBS affiliate for the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Fayetteville area, known collectively as the Triangle...

, given at the end of each night's local news broadcast in Raleigh, made Helms famous as a conservative commentator throughout eastern North Carolina.

Helms's editorials featured folksy anecdotes interwoven with conservative views against, amongst others, "the civil rights movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

, the liberal news media, and anti-war
Opposition to the Vietnam War
The movement against US involvment in the in Vietnam War began in the United States with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The US became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam, and those who wanted peace. Peace movements consisted largely of...

 churches". He referred to The News and Observer, his former employer, as the "Nuisance and Disturber" for its promotion of liberal views and support for civil rights activity. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

, which had a reputation for liberalism, was also a frequent target of Helms's criticism. He referred to the university as "The University of Negroes
Negro
The word Negro is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not...

 and Communists", and suggested a wall be erected around the campus to prevent the university's liberal views from "infecting" the rest of the state. Helms said the civil rights movement was infested by communists and "moral degenerates", and described Medicaid as a "step over into the swampy field of socialized medicine
Socialized medicine
Socialized medicine is a term used to describe a system for providing medical and hospital care for all at a nominal cost by means of government regulation of health services and subsidies derived from taxation. It is used primarily and usually pejoratively in United States political debates...

".

On the 1963 civil rights protests, Helms stated, "The negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights." He later wrote, "Crime rates and irresponsibility among negroes are a fact of life which must be faced".

Although his editorials created controversy, they also made him popular with conservative voters, helping him to win re-election to the Raleigh City Council. He served for four years. He was at Capitol Broadcasting Company until he was elected to the Senate in 1972.

Senate campaign of 1972

Helms announced his candidacy for a seat in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 in 1972. His Republican primary campaign was managed by Thomas F. Ellis
Thomas F. Ellis
Thomas F. Ellis is an American lawyer and political activist involved in numerous conservative causes. His network of interests were described as "a multimillion dollar political empire of corporations, foundations, political action committees and ad hoc groups" active in the 1980s and developed by...

, who would later be instrumental in Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's 1976 campaign and also become the chair of the National Congressional Club. Helms took the Republican primary, winning 92,496 votes, or 60.1%, in a three-candidate field. Meanwhile, Democrats retired the ailing Senator B. Everett Jordan
B. Everett Jordan
Benjamin Everett Jordan was a Democratic U.S. Senator from the state of North Carolina from 1958 until 1973. He lived most of his life in Alamance County, North Carolina....

, who lost his primary to Congressman Nick Galifianakis
Nick Galifianakis
Nick Galifianakis was a Democratic U.S. Congressman from North Carolina between 1967 and 1973.-Life and career:Galifianakis was born in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Greek immigrants Sophia and Mike Galifianakis. Galifianakis attended local public schools and then Duke University, earning a...

, who represented the "new politics" of the young, the African-Americans, and the anti-establishment, based around the urban Research Triangle and Piedmont Triad
Piedmont Triad
The Piedmont Triad, or Triad, is a north-central region of the U.S. state of North Carolina that consists of the area within and surrounding the three major cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. This close group or "triad" of cities lies in the Piedmont geographical region of the...

. Although Galifianakis was a "liberal" by North Carolina standards, he opposed busing.

Polls put Galifianakis well ahead until late in the campaign, but Helms, facing all but certain defeat, hired a professional campaign manager, F. Clifton White, giving him dictatorial control over campaign strategy. While Galifianakis avoided mention of his party's presidential candidate, the liberal George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

, Helms employed the slogans "McGovernGalifianakis – one and the same," "Vote for Jesse. Nixon Needs Him" and "Jesse: He's One of Us," an implicit play on his opponent's Greek heritage. arguing that price support programs should be maintained, as they did not constitute a subsidy but insurance. Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 once said, "I'll trade Jesse Helms his tobacco vote for my wheat support any day." Tobacco companies such as R. J. Reynolds and Philip Morris
Altria Group
Altria Group, Inc. is based in Henrico County, Virginia, and is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, John Middleton, Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, Inc., Philip Morris Capital Corporation, and Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. It is one of the world's largest tobacco corporations...

 had supported him, both directly and through donations to the Jesse Helms Center.

Foreign affairs

From the start, he marked himself out as a prominent anti-communist. He proposed an act in 1974 that authorized the President to grant honorary citizenship
Honorary Citizen of the United States
A person of exceptional merit, generally a non-United States citizen, may be declared an Honorary Citizen of the United States by an Act of Congress, or by a proclamation issued by the President of the United States, pursuant to authorization granted by Congress.Seven people have been so honored,...

 to Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

. He remained close to Solzhenitsyn's cause, and linked his fight to that of freedom throughout the world. In 1975, as North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

ese forces approached Saigon
Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975...

, he was foremost amongst those urging an evacuation of all Vietnamese demanding evacuation, which he believed could be "two million or more within seven days". When the Senate Armed Services Committee
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nation's military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy , benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and...

 voted to suppress a report critical of the U.S.'s strategic position in the arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

, Helms read the entire report out, requiring it to be published in the Congressional Record
Congressional Record
The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published by the United States Government Printing Office, and is issued daily when the United States Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks...

.

Helms was not originally a supporter of Israel, proposing in 1973 a resolution demanding Israel return the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 to Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, and, in 1975, demanding that the Palestinian Arabs receive a "just settlement of their grievances". In 1977, Helms was the sole senator to vote against prohibiting American companies from joining the Arab League boycott of Israel
Arab League boycott of Israel
The Arab League boycott of Israel is a systematic effort by Arab League member states to isolate Israel economically to prevent Arab states and discourage non-Arabs from providing support to Israel and adding to Israel's economic and military strength...

, although this was primarily because the bill also relaxed discrimination against communist countries. In 1982, Helms even called for the U.S. to break diplomatic relations with Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

. He favored prohibiting foreign aid to countries that had recently detonated nuclear weapons: aimed squarely at India, but also affecting Israel should it conduct a nuclear test. He then worked to support the supply of arms to the United States' Arab allies under Carter and Reagan, until his views on Israel shifted significantly in 1984.

1976 presidential election

Helms supported Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 for the presidential nomination in 1976
Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1976
The 1976 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1976 U.S. presidential election...

, even before Reagan had announced his candidacy, and his contribution was crucial in the North Carolina primary victory that paved the way for Reagan's presidential election in 1980. The support of Helms, alongside Raleigh-based campaign operative Tom Ellis
Thomas F. Ellis
Thomas F. Ellis is an American lawyer and political activist involved in numerous conservative causes. His network of interests were described as "a multimillion dollar political empire of corporations, foundations, political action committees and ad hoc groups" active in the 1980s and developed by...

, was instrumental in Reagan winning the North Carolina primary and later presenting a major challenge to incumbent President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 at the 1976 Republican National Convention
1976 Republican National Convention
The 1976 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States met at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 16 to August 19, 1976. The convention nominated incumbent Gerald Ford for President, but only after narrowly defeating a strong challenge from former California...

. According to author Craig Shirley
Craig Shirley
Craig Shirley is President and CEO of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, the public relations, marketing, and government affairs firm he originally founded in 1984.- Biography :...

, the two men deserve credit "for breathing life into the dying Reagan campaign". Going into the primary, Reagan had lost all the primaries, including in New Hampshire, where he had been favored, and was two million dollars in debt, with a growing number of Republican leaders calling for his exit. The Ford campaign was predicting a victory in North Carolina, but assessed Reagan's strength in the state simply: Helms's support. Whilst Ford had the backing of Governor James Holshouser
James Holshouser
James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. was the 68th Governor of the state of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977. He was born in Boone, North Carolina....

, the grassroots movement formed in North Carolina by Ellis and backed by Helms delivered an upset victory by 53% to 47%. The momentum generated in North Carolina carried Ronald Reagan to landslide primary wins in Texas, California, and other critical states, evening the contest between Reagan and Ford, and thus forcing undeclared delegates to choose at the 1976 convention.

Later, Helms was not pleased by the announcement that Reagan would ask the 1976 Republican National Convention to, if nominated, make moderate Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 Senator Richard Schweiker
Richard Schweiker
Richard Schultz Schweiker is a former U.S. Congressman and Senator representing the state of Pennsylvania. He later was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Cabinet of President Ronald Reagan.-Early life:...

 his running mate for the general election, but kept his objections to himself at the time. According to Helms, after being told by Ronald Reagan of the decision, he noted the hour because, "I wanted to record for posterity the exact time I received the shock of my life." Helms and Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond was an American politician who served as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes...

 tried to make Reagan drop Schweiker for a conservative, perhaps either James Buckley or his brother William F. Buckley
William F. Buckley, Jr.
William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for...

, and rumors surfaced that Helms might run for Vice-President himself, but Schweiker remained. In the end, Reagan lost narrowly to Ford, whilst Helms received only token support at the Convention for the Vice-Presidential nomination, albeit enough to place him second, far behind Ford's choice of Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

. Nonetheless, the platform adopted was a broadly conservative one, and the conservative faction came out acting like the winners; except Jesse Helms.

Helms vowed to campaign actively for Ford across the South, regarding the conservative platform adopted at the Convention to be a 'mandate' on which Ford was pledging to run. However, he did target Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, demanding that he embrace the platform or resign immediately, after Kissinger issued a statement calling Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn a "threat to world peace". Helms continued to back Reagan, and the two remained close friends and political allies, although not uncritical ones, throughout Reagan's political career. Despite Reagan's defeat at the convention, the intervention of Helms and Ellis arguably led to the most important conservative primary victory in the history of the Republican Party. This victory enabled Reagan to contest the 1976 Republican Presidential nomination, and later to win the next nomination at the 1980 Republican National Convention
1980 Republican National Convention
The 1980 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, from July 14 to July 17, 1980. The 32nd Republican National Convention nominated former Governor Ronald W. Reagan of California for President of the United States and former...

 and ultimately the Presidency of the United States.

According to Craig Shirley,
Had Reagan lost North Carolina, despite his public pronouncements, his revolutionary challenge to Ford, along with his political career, would have ended unceremoniously. He would have made a gracious exit speech, cut a deal with the Ford forces to eliminate his campaign debt, made a minor speech at the Kansas City Convention later that year, and returned to his ranch in Santa Barbara. He would probably have only reemerged to make speeches and cut radio commercials to supplement his income. And Reagan would have faded into political oblivion.

Torrijos–Carter Treaties

Helms was a long-time opponent of transferring possession of the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 to Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, calling its construction an "historic American achievement", and warned that it would fall into the hands of Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

's "communist friends". It had appeared as an issue in the 1976 presidential race, wherein then-President Ford suspended negotiations over the transfer of sovereignty to assuage conservative opposition. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 reopened negotiations, appointing Sol Linowitz
Sol Linowitz
Sol Myron Linowitz was an American diplomat, lawyer, and businessman born in Trenton, NJ.Linowitz helped negotiate the return of the Panama Canal to Panama under the direction of President Jimmy Carter...

 as co-negotiator without Senate confirmation, and Helms and Strom Thurmond led the opposition to it. Helms claimed that Linowitz's involvement with Marine Midland constituted a conflict of interests, arguing that it constituted a bailout of American banking interests, and brought two federal suits, demanding prior congressional approval of any treaty and then consent by both houses of Congress. Helms also rallied Reagan, telling him that negotiation over Panama would be a "second Schweiker" as far as his conservative base was concerned.

When Carter announced, on August 10, 1977, the conclusion of the treaties
Torrijos-Carter Treaties
The Torrijos–Carter Treaties are two treaties signed by the United States and Panama in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1977, which abrogated the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty of 1903...

, Helms declared it a constitutional crisis
Constitutional crisis
A constitutional crisis is a situation that the legal system's constitution or other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government...

, cited the need for the support of America's allies in Latin America, accused the U.S. of submitting to Panamanian blackmail, and complained that it threatened national security in the event of war in Europe. Helms threatened to obstruct Senate business, proposing two hundred amendments to the revision of the United States criminal code, knowing that most Americans opposed the treaties and would punish congressmen that voted for them if the ratification vote came in the run-up to the election. Helms announced the results of an opinion poll showing 78% public opposition, but Helms and Thurmond's leadership of the cause made it politically easier for Carter, causing them to be replaced by the soft-spoken Paul Laxalt
Paul Laxalt
Paul Dominique Laxalt of Nevada was a former Republican District Attorney, Lieutenant Governor, Governor and U.S. Senator. In the media, the words "son of a Basque sheepherder" often accompanied his name. He was one of Ronald Reagan's closest friends in politics...

.

1978 re-election campaign

Helms began campaigning for re-election in February 1977, allowing him to campaign actively for fifteen months by the time of the primaries. Whilst Helms faced no primary opponent, the Democrats nominated Commissioner of Insurance
North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance
The North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance regulates the insurance industry in North Carolina, licenses insurance professionals in the state, educates consumers about different types of insurance, and handles consumer complaints...

 John Ingram
John Ingram (politician)
John Randolph Ingram is a retired American Democratic politician, attorney, and insurance commissioner. He served as North Carolina's Commissioner of Insurance from 1973 until 1985, and ran repeatedly for other state-wide offices in his later career.Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ingram...

, who came from behind in the first round of the primary to win in the run-off. Ingram was known as an eccentric populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 and employed low-budget campaigning, just as he had to win in the primary, when he campaigned almost exclusively on the issue of insurance rates and against "fat cats and special interests", in which he included his main primary opponent. Helms was one of three senators given a 100% rating by the conservative Americans for Constitutional Action for 1977, and was ranked fourth-most conservative by others. The Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

 targeted Helms, as did President Carter, who visited North Carolina twice on Ingram's behalf.

Over the long campaign, Helms raised $7.5m, over twice as much as the second most-expensive nation-wide (John Tower
John Tower
John Goodwin Tower was the first Republican United States senator from Texas since Reconstruction. He served from 1961 until his retirement in January 1985, after which time he was the chairman of the Reagan-appointed Tower Commission that investigated the Iran-Contra Affair. He was George H. W...

's in Texas), thanks to Richard Viguerie
Richard Viguerie
Richard Art Viguerie is a conservative figure, pioneer of political direct mail and writer on American politics...

 and Alex Castellanos
Alex Castellanos
Alejandro "Alex" Castellanos is a U.S. Republican Party political media consultant who specializes in television advertising, and was a top media adviser to Bush Cheney '04 as well as Mitt Romney's presidential campaign....

's pioneering direct mail
Direct mail
Advertising mail, also known as direct mail, junk mail, or admail, is the delivery of advertising material to recipients of postal mail. The delivery of advertising mail forms a large and growing service for many postal services, and direct-mail marketing forms a significant portion of the direct...

 strategies. However, it was estimated that at least $3m of Helms's spent was on raising the funds. Nonetheless, Helms easily outspent Ingram, who spent $150,000, several times over. Helms was forced to suspend campaigning for six weeks in September and October, due to a punctured lumbar
Lumbar
In tetrapod anatomy, lumbar is an adjective that means of or pertaining to the abdominal segment of the torso, between the diaphragm and the sacrum ...

 disc
Intervertebral disc
Intervertebral discs lie between adjacent vertebrae in the spine. Each disc forms a cartilaginous joint to allow slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together.-Structure:...

. In a low-turnout election, Helms received 619,151 votes (54.5%) to Ingram's 516,663 (45.5%). Celebrating his victory, Helms told his supporters that it was a "victory for the conservative and the free enterprise cause throughout America", adding, "I'm Senator No and I'm glad to be here!"

New Senate term

On January 3, 1979, the first day of the new Congress
96th United States Congress
The Ninety-sixth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1979 to January 3, 1981, during the last two years...

, Helms once again introduced a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, on which he now led the conservative Senators. Senator Helms was one of several Republican senators who in 1981 called into the White House to express his discontent over the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 to the Supreme Court; the opposition hinged over the issue of O'Connor's presumed unwillingness to overturn Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

. Helms was also the Senate conservatives' leader on school prayer
School prayer
School prayer in its common usage refers to state-approved prayer by students in state schools. Depending on the country and the type of school, organized prayer may be required, permitted, or prohibited...

. An amendment proposed by Helms allowing voluntary prayer was passed by the Senate, but died in the House committee. To that act, Helms also proposed an amendment banning sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 without written parental consent. In 1979, Helms supported, along with Democrat Patrick Leahy
Patrick Leahy
Patrick Joseph Leahy is the senior United States Senator from Vermont and member of the Democratic Party. He is the first and only elected Democratic United States Senator in Vermont's history. He is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy is the second most senior U.S. Senator,...

, a federal Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a concept advocated by conservative and free market libertarian groups, primarily in the United States, as a way of limiting the growth of government...

.

He joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

, being one of four Carter-critical voices new to the committee. Leader of the pro-Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 congressional lobby, Helms demanded that the People's Republic of China reject the use of force against the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, but, much to his shock, the Carter administration did not ask them to rule it out.

Helms also criticised the government over Zimbabwe Rhodesia
Zimbabwe Rhodesia
Zimbabwe Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, was an unrecognized state that existed from 1 June 1979 to 12 December 1979...

, leading support for the Internal Settlement
Internal Settlement
The Internal Settlement was the agreement between Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and Abel Muzorewa in 1978.-Negotiations:Fed up with the sanctions leveled against Rhodesia by the international community and outright political pressure from South Africa, Great Britain and the United States, the...

 government in Zimbabwe Rhodesia
Zimbabwe Rhodesia
Zimbabwe Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, was an unrecognized state that existed from 1 June 1979 to 12 December 1979...

, under Abel Muzorewa
Abel Muzorewa
Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979...

, and campaigned along with Samuel Hayakawa for the immediate lifting of sanctions on his government and complaining of the inconsistency of lifting them on Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 immediately after Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

's departure, but not Zimbabwe Rhodesia after Ian Smith
Ian Smith
Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID was a politician active in the government of Southern Rhodesia, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe Rhodesia and Zimbabwe from 1948 to 1987, most notably serving as Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 13 April 1964 to 1 June 1979...

's. Helms hosted Muzorewa when he visited Washington and met with Carter in July 1979, and sent two aides to the Lancaster House Conference
Lancaster House Agreement
The negotiations which led to the Lancaster House Agreement brought independence to Rhodesia following Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. The Agreement covered the Independence Constitution, pre-independence arrangements, and a ceasefire...

 because he did not "trust the State Department on this issue", thereby provoking British diplomatic complaints. One of the aides, John Carbaugh, was accused of encouraging Smith to 'hang on' and take a harder line and implying that there was enough support in the Senate to lift sanctions without a settlement. Helms introduced legislation that demanded immediate lifting of the sanctions; as negotiations progressed, Helms complied more with the administration's line, although Ted Kennedy accused Carter of conceding the construction of a new aircraft carrier in return for Helms's acquiescence on Zimbabwe Rhodesia, which both parties denied. Helms's support for lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe Rhodesia may have been grounded in North Carolina's tobacco traders, who would have been the main group benefitting from unilaterally lifting sanctions on tobacco-exporting Zimbabwe Rhodesia.

1980 presidential election

In 1979, Helms was touted as a potential contender for the Republican nomination
Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1980
The 1980 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1980 U.S. presidential election...

 for the 1980 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

, but had poor voter recognition, and he lagged far behind the front-runners. He was the only candidate to file for the New Hampshire Vice-Presidential primary
New Hampshire primary
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

. Going into 1980, he was suggested as a potential running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

 for Reagan, and he said he'd accept if he could "be his own man", and was one of three conservative candidates running for the nomination. However, his ideological agreement with Reagan risked losing moderates' votes, particularly due to the independent candidacy of John B. Anderson
John B. Anderson
John Bayard Anderson is a former United States Congressman and Presidential candidate from Illinois. He was a U.S. Representative from the 16th Congressional District of Illinois for ten terms from 1961 through 1981 and an Independent candidate in the 1980 presidential election. He was previously...

, and the Reagan camp was split: eventually designating George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 as his preferred candidate. At the convention, Helms toyed with the idea of running for Vice-President despite Reagan's choice, but let it go in exchange for Bush endorsing the party platform and an address to the convention. As expected, Helms was drafted by conservatives anyway, and won 54 votes, coming second. Helms was the "spiritual leader of the conservative convention", and led the movement that successfully reversed the Republican Party's 36-year platform support for an Equal Rights Amendment
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time...

.

In the fall of 1980, Helms proposed another bill denying the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 jurisdiction over school prayer
School prayer
School prayer in its common usage refers to state-approved prayer by students in state schools. Depending on the country and the type of school, organized prayer may be required, permitted, or prohibited...

, but this found little support in committee, under the weight of opposition from mainline Protestant churches, and its counterpart was defeated in the House. Senators Helms and James A. McClure
James A. McClure
James Albertus "Jim" McClure was an American politician from the state of Idaho, most notably serving as a Republican in the U.S. Senate....

 blocked Ted Kennedy's comprehensive criminal code that did not relax federal firearms restrictions, inserted capital punishment procedures, and reinstated current statutory law on pornography, prostitution, and drug possession
Drug possession
Drug possession is the crime of having one or more illegal drugs in one's possession, either for personal use, distribution, sale or otherwise. Illegal drugs fall into different categories and sentences vary depending on the amount, type of drug, circumstances, and jurisdiction.A person has...

. Following from his success at reintroducing gold-indexed contracts in 1977, in October 1980, Helms proposed a return to the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

, and successfully passed an amendment setting up a commission to look into gold-backed currency. After the presidential election, Helms and Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond was an American politician who served as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes...

 sponsored a Senate amendment to a Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 appropriations bill denying the department the power to participate in busing, due to objections over federal involvement, but, although passed by Congress, was vetoed by a lame duck
Lame duck (politics)
A lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected.-Description:The status can be due to*having lost a re-election bid...

 Carter. Helms pledged to introduce an even stronger anti-busing bill as soon as Reagan took office.

Republicans take the Senate

In the 1980 Senate election, the Republicans unexpectedly won a majority, their first in twenty-six years, including John Porter East
John Porter East
John Porter East was a Republican U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina from 1981 until his suicide in 1986....

, a social conservative and a Helms protégé soon dubbed 'Helms on Wheels', winning the other North Carolina seat. Howard Baker
Howard Baker
Howard Henry Baker, Jr. is a former Senate Majority Leader, Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee, White House Chief of Staff, and a former United States Ambassador to Japan.Known in Washington, D.C...

 was set to become Majority Leader, but conservatives, angered by Baker's support for the Panama treaty, SALT II, and the Equal Rights Amendment, had sought to replace him with Helms until Reagan gave Baker his backing. Although, it was thought they'd put Helms in charge of the Foreign Relations Committee instead of the liberal Charles H. Percy
Charles H. Percy
Charles Harting "Chuck" Percy was president of the Bell & Howell Corporation from 1949 to 1964. He was elected United States Senator from Illinois in 1966, re-elected through his term ending in 1985; he concentrated on business and foreign relations...

, he instead became chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
The Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of all matters relating to the nation's agriculture industry, farming programs, forestry and logging, and legislation relating to nutrition and...

 in the new Congress.

The first six months of 1981 were consumed by numerous Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings, which were held up by Helms, who believed many of the appointees too liberal or too tainted by association with Kissinger, and not dedicated enough to his definition of the 'Reagan program': support for South Africa, Taiwan, and Latin American right-wing regimes (as opposed to Black Africa and 'Red' China), and active defence of human rights. These nominations included Alexander Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

, Chester Crocker
Chester Crocker
Chester Arthur Crocker is an American diplomat who served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1981 to 1989 in the Reagan administration. Crocker, architect of the U.S...

, John Louis
John J. Louis, Jr.
John Jeffry Louis, Jr. was an American businessman and United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.Born in Evanston, Illinois to Chicago advertiser John Jeffry Louis and Johnson Wax heiress Henriette Johnson Louis, John J. Louis, Jr...

, and Lawrence Eagleburger
Lawrence Eagleburger
Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger was an American statesman and former career diplomat, who served briefly as the United States Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush. Previously, he had served in lesser capacities under Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H....

, all of whom were confirmed regardless, whilst all of Helms's candidates, were rejected. Helms also, unsuccessfully, opposed the nominations of Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger , was an American politician, vice president and general counsel of Bechtel Corporation, and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after...

, Donald Regan
Donald Regan
Donald Thomas Regan ,was the 66th United States Secretary of the Treasury, from 1981 to 1985, and Chief of Staff from 1985 to 1987 in the Ronald Reagan Administration, where he advocated "Reaganomics" and tax cuts to create jobs and stimulate production.-Early life:Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts,...

, and Frank Carlucci
Frank Carlucci
Frank Charles Carlucci III is a former official in the United States Government, associated with the Republican Party. The most prominent office held by Carlucci was as Secretary of Defense from 1987 until 1989 in the Reagan Administration.-Early life and career:Carlucci was born in Scranton,...

. However, he did score a notable coup two years later, when he led a small group of conservatives to block the nomination of Robert T. Grey
Robert T. Grey
Ambassador Robert T. Grey, Jr., is an American diplomat involved in security and arms control.-Life:He is a former U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, and was also Leader of the State Department United Nations Reform Team...

 for nine months, and thus causing the firing of Eugene Rostow
Eugene V. Rostow
Eugene V. Rostow , influential legal scholar and public servant, was Dean of Yale Law School, and served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President Lyndon B...

.

Food stamp program

An opponent of the Food Stamp Program
Food Stamp Program
The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , historically and commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federal-assistance program that provides assistance to low- and no-income people and families living in the U.S. Though the program is administered by the U.S. Department of...

, Helms had already voted to reduce its scope, and was determined to follow this through as Agriculture Committee chairman. At one point, he proposed a 40% cut in their funding. Instead, Helms supported the replacement of food stamps with workfare
Workfare
Workfare is an alternative model to conventional social welfare systems. The term was first introduced by civil rights leader James Charles Evers in 1968; however, it was popularized by Richard Nixon in a televised speech August 1969...

. He then proposed that food stamp benefits be dropped by $11.50 per month per child for each youngster enrolled in the school lunch program. He maintained that "free lunches" duplicate food stamps. The outrcry against his proposal was so strong that he was compelled to back down. Helms also challenged fraud in the food stamp program. He said that the public had "grown legitimately resentful about the abuses which they themselves have observed."

As a freshman lawmaker in 1973, Helms tried to reverse the 1968 congressional vote which had permitted workers on strike to qualify for food stamps. Though he failed to gained reversal, his position drew the support of future Minority and Majority Leader Howard Baker
Howard Baker
Howard Henry Baker, Jr. is a former Senate Majority Leader, Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee, White House Chief of Staff, and a former United States Ambassador to Japan.Known in Washington, D.C...

 of Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and twelve Senate Democrats. Helms' position was upheld in 1988, when the United States Supreme Court decreed 5–3 that a law denying food stamps to strikers was constitutional unless the worker otherwise qualified for food stamps prior to going on strike. Justice Byron White
Byron White
Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White won fame both as a football halfback and as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed to the court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, he served until his retirement in 1993...

 said that the government must maintain neutrality in labor dispute and not subsidize strikers.

As the Agriculture Committee chairman, Helms proposed repeal of the 1977 amendment which had deleted the purchase requirement for food stamps. With that position he ran afoul of fellow Republican Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

, who claimed that the purchase requirement had contributed to fraud and administrative difficulties in the program. Helms cited a Congressional Budget Office report which showed that 75 percent of the increase in stamp usage had occurred since the purchase requirement was dropped. When Helms' ally, Steve Symms
Steve Symms
Steven Douglas Symms was a four-term congressman and two-term U.S. senator from Idaho. He was among the most conservative members of the Republican Party...

 of Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

, proposed to reinstitute the purchase requirement, the motion was defeated, 33–66.

The Helms bloc also failed to secure other limits to the program, including a motion to delete alcohol and drug residential treatment patients from benefits. House and Senate conferees dropped a Helms-backed provision requiring families disqualified from the program to repay double the amount of any benefits received improperly. House Democratic Whip Thomas Foley
Thomas Foley
Thomas Foley or Tom Foley may refer to:* Thomas Foley , British admiral* Thomas Patrick Roger Foley , American religious leader* Tom Foley , American baseball player...

 of Washington insisted that such a penalty would violate the Fifth Amendment
Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, protects against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure. Its guarantees stem from English common law which traces back to the Magna Carta in 1215...

 rights to due process
Due process
Due process is the legal code that the state must venerate all of the legal rights that are owed to a person under the principle. Due process balances the power of the state law of the land and thus protects individual persons from it...

. Instead families repay the actual amount of improperly obtained benefits."

Economic policies

Helms supported the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

 through his role as the Agriculture Committee chairman, which exercises wide powers over commodity markets. During the budget crisis of 1981, Helms restored $200 million for school lunches by instead cutting foreign aid, and against increases in grain and milk price support, despite the importance of the dairy industry to North Carolina. He warned repeatedly against costly farm subsidies as chairman. However, in 1983, he used his position to lobby to use the country's strategic dairy and wheat stocks to subsidise food exports as part of a trade war
Trade war
A trade war refers to two or more states raising or creating tariffs or other trade barriers on each other in retaliation for other trade barriers...

 with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. Helms heavily opposed cutting food aid to Poland after martial law was declared
Martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland refers to the period of time from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983, when the authoritarian government of the People's Republic of Poland drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition to it. Thousands of opposition...

, and called for the end of grain exports to (and arms limitation talks with) the Soviet Union instead.

In 1982, Helms authored a bill to introduce a federal flat tax
Flat tax
A flat tax is a tax system with a constant marginal tax rate. Typically the term flat tax is applied in the context of an individual or corporate income that will be taxed at one marginal rate...

 of 10% with a personal allowance
Personal allowance
In the UK tax system, Personal Allowance is the level above which income tax is levied on an individual's annual income. A person who receives less than his/her personal allowance in taxable income in a given tax year does not pay income tax; otherwise, tax must be paid according to how much is...

 of $2,000. He voted against the 1983 budget: the only conservative Senator to have done so, and was a leading voice for a balanced budget amendment
Balanced Budget Amendment
A balanced-budget amendment is a constitutional rule requiring that the state cannot spend more than its income. It requires a balance between the projected receipts and expenditures of the government....

. With Charlie Rose
Charlie Rose (congressman)
Charles Grandison "Charlie" Rose III is a former Democratic United States Congressman from North Carolina who served from 1973 to 1997....

, he proposed a bill that would limit tobacco price supports, but would allow the transfer of subsidy credits from non-farmers to farmers. He co-sponsored the bi-partisan move in 1982 to extend drug patent duration. Helms continued to pose obstacles to Reagan's budget plans. At the end of the 97th Congress
97th United States Congress
The Ninety-seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1981 to January 3, 1983, during the final weeks of...

, Helms led a filibuster against Reagan's increase of federal gasoline tax by 5-cents per gallon: mirroring his opposition to Governor
Governor of North Carolina
The Governor of North Carolina is the chief executive of the State of North Carolina, one of the U.S. states. The current governor is Bev Perdue, North Carolina's first female governor.-Powers:...

 Jim Hunt
Jim Hunt
James Baxter Hunt Jr. is an American politician who was the 69th and 71st Governor of the state of North Carolina . He is the longest-serving governor in the state's history.-Early life:...

's 3-cent increase in the North Carolina gasoline tax, but alienating the White House from Helms.

Social issues

Although Helms recognized budget concerns and nominations as predominant, he rejected calls by Baker to move debate on social issues to 1982, with conservatives seeking to discuss abortion, school prayer, the minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

, and the 'fair housing
Fair housing
In the United States, the fair housing policies date largely from the 1960s. Originally, the terms fair housing and open housing came from a political movement of the time to outlaw discrimination in the rental or purchase of homes and a broad range of other housing-related transactions, such as...

' policy. With the new Congress, Helms and Robert K. Dornan again proposed an amendment banning abortion in all circumstances, and also proposed a bill defining fetuses as human beings, thereby taking it out of the hands of the federal courts, along with Henry Hyde
Henry Hyde
Henry John Hyde , an American politician, was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 2007, representing the 6th District of Illinois, an area of Chicago's northwestern suburbs which included O'Hare International Airport...

 and Romano Mazzoli. More successfully, Helms passed an amendment banning federal funds from being used for abortion unless the woman's life is in danger. His support was key to the nomination of C. Everett Koop
C. Everett Koop
Charles Everett Koop, MD is an American pediatric surgeon and public health administrator. He was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and served as thirteenth Surgeon General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1989.-Early years:Koop was born...

 as Surgeon General, by proposing lifting the age limit that would otherwise have ruled out Koop. He proposed an amendment taking school prayer out of the remit of the Supreme Court, which was criticised for being unconstitutional; despite Reagan's endorsement, the bill was eventually rejected, after twenty months of dispute and numerous filibusters, in September 1982, by 51–48. Helms and Strom Thurmond sponsored another amendment to prevent the Department of Justice filing suits in defence of federal busing, which he contended wasted taxpayer money without improving education; this was filibustered by Lowell Weicker for eight months, but passed in March 1982.

In 1981, Helms started secret negotiations to end an 11-year impasse and pave the way for desegregation of historically white and historically black colleges in North Carolina. In response to a rival anti-discrimination bill in 1982, he proposed a bill outlawing granting tax-free status to schools that discriminated racially, but allowing schools that discriminate on the grounds of religion to avoid taxes. When the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

 came up for amendment in 1982, Helms and Thurmond criticised it for bias against the South, arguing that it made Carolinians 'second-class citizens' by treating their states differently, and proposed an amendment that extended its terms to the whole country, which they knew would bury it. However, it was extended anyway, despite Helms's filibuster, which he promised to lead 'until the cows come home'. In 1983, Helms hired Claude Allen
Claude Allen
Claude Alexander Allen was the Assistant to the President of the United States for Domestic Policy in George W. Bush's White House and a withdrawn Bush judicial nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The African-American Republican was appointed to his White House...

, an African-American, as his press secretary. Despite his publicly-aired belief that he was one of the best-liked senators amongst black staff in Congress, it was pointed out that he did not have any African-American staff of his own, prompting the hiring of the twenty-two year old, who had switched parties when he was press secretary to Bill Cobey
Bill Cobey
William Wilfred Cobey, Jr. is a former one-term Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from North Carolina....

 in the previous year's campaign.

With John East
John East
John East was a 19th-century Anglican clergyman and writer.At Oxford he was a friend of William Henry Havergal.He became:* Rector of Croscombe, Somerset * Curate of St Michael's, Bath* Rector of St Michael's, Bath from 1843 John East (died 1856) was a 19th-century Anglican clergyman and writer.At...

 and John Stennis, Helms led the senatorial opposition to establishing Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King's birthday, January 15. The floating holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform...

 as a federal holiday in 1983, attributing his opposition to two associates of King's with communist ties: Stanley Levison
Stanley Levison
Stanley David Levison was a Jewish businessman from New York, who had also attained a law degree from St. John's University. He was a life-long activist in progressive causes. He is best known as an advisor to, and close friend of the Rev...

 and Jack O'Dell. They embarked on a 16-day filibuster, which Helms broke in exchange for a new tobacco bill. However, he then demanded that FBI surveillance tapes allegedly detailing philandering on King's part be released, although Reagan and the courts refused. The conservatives attempted to rename the day 'National Equality Day' or 'National Civil Rights Day', but failed, and the bill was passed. Writing in the Washington Post several years later, David Broder attributed Helms opposition to the MLK holiday to racism on Helms's part.

Latin America

Upon the Republican takeover of the Senate, Helms also became chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, promising to 'review all our policies on Latin America', of which he had been severely critical under Carter. He immediately focused on the escalating civil war in El Salvador, and particularly preventing Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

n and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n support for guerrillas in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

. Within hours, the subcommittee approved military aid to El Salvador, and later led the push to cut aid to Nicaragua. Helms was assisted in pursuing the foreign policy realignment by John Carbaugh, whose influence the New York Times said '[rivalled] many of [the Senate's] more visible elected members'.

In El Salvador, Helms had close ties with the right-wing Salvadoran
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 Nationalist Republican Alliance
Nationalist Republican Alliance
The Nationalist Republican Alliance is a conservative political party in El Salvador. It was founded on September 30, 1981, by Roberto D'Aubuisson, in order to oppose the reformist military junta that was ruling El Salvador at the time...

 and its leader and death squad
Death squad
A death squad is an armed military, police, insurgent, or terrorist squad that conducts extrajudicial killings, assassinations, and forced disappearances of persons as part of a war, insurgency or terror campaign...

 founder Roberto D'Aubuisson
Roberto D'Aubuisson
Major Roberto D'Aubuisson Arrieta was the Salvadoran Army officer and political leader who founded the Nationalist Republican Alliance , which he led from 1980 to 1985...

. Helms said, "If I had found even one credible link between D'Aubuisson and the so-called 'death squads' ... I'd repudiate him instantly." Helms opposed the appointment of Thomas R. Pickering
Thomas R. Pickering
Thomas Reeve "Tom" Pickering , is a retired United States ambassador. Among his many diplomatic appointments, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1989 to 1992.-Early life:...

 as Ambassador to El Salvador
United States Ambassador to El Salvador
The following is a list of United States Ambassadors, or other Chiefs of Mission, to El Salvador. The title given by the United States State Department to this position is currently Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.-Chiefs of Mission:...

. alleged that the CIA had interfered in the Salvadoran election March and May 1984, in favour of the incumbent centre-left José Napoleón Duarte
José Napoleón Duarte
José Napoleón Duarte Fuentes was a Salvadoran political figure who, from March 3, 1980, to 1982, led the civil-military Revolutionary Government Junta that took power in a 1979 coup d'état...

 instead of D'Aubuisson, claiming that Pickering had 'used the cloak of diplomacy to strangle freedom in the night'. A CIA operative testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee
United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the United States Intelligence Community—the agencies and bureaus of the federal government of the United States who provide information and analysis for leaders of the executive and legislative branches. The...

 was alleged by Helms to have admitted rigging the election, but senators that attended have stated that, whilst the CIA operative admitted involvement, they did not make such an admission. Helms disclosed details of CIA financial support for Duarte, earning a rebuke from Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

, but Helms replied that his information came from sources in El Salvador, not the Senate committee.

In 1982, Helms was the only senator who opposed a Senate resolution endorsing a pro-British policy during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

, citing the Monroe doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention...

, although he did manage to weaken the resolution's language. Nonetheless, Helms was a supporter of the late Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an President
President of Chile
The President of the Republic of Chile is both the head of state and the head of government of the Republic of Chile. The President is responsible of the government and state administration...

 Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

, who supported the United Kingdom in the Falklands conflict. Helms was steadfastly opposed to the Castro regime in Cuba, and spent much of his time campaigning against the lifting of sanctions. In 1980, he opposed a treaty with Cuba on sea boundary delimitation
Boundary delimitation
Boundary delimitation, or simply delimitation, is the term used to describe the drawing of boundaries, but is most often used to describe the drawing of electoral boundaries, specifically those of precincts, states, counties or other municipalities...

 unless it included withdrawal of the Soviet brigade stationed on the island. The following year, he proposed legislation establishing Radio Free Cuba, which would later become known as Radio Martí
Radio Martí
Radio y Televisión Martí is a radio and television broadcaster based in Miami, Florida, financed by the United States government , which transmits Spanish radio broadcasts to Cuba...

.

1984 re-election campaign

Half way through Reagan's term, Helms was talked about as a prospective presidential candidate in 1984 in case Reagan chose to stand down after his first time. There was also speculation that Helms would run for the Governorship
Governor of North Carolina
The Governor of North Carolina is the chief executive of the State of North Carolina, one of the U.S. states. The current governor is Bev Perdue, North Carolina's first female governor.-Powers:...

, being vacated by Jim Hunt
Jim Hunt
James Baxter Hunt Jr. is an American politician who was the 69th and 71st Governor of the state of North Carolina . He is the longest-serving governor in the state's history.-Early life:...

. However, the President stood for re-election, and Helms ran once more for his Senate seat—facing Governor Hunt—and becoming the top target amongst the incumbent Senate Republicans.

Unlike in 1978, Helms faced an opponent in the primary, George Wimbish, but won with 90.6% of the vote, while Hunt received 77% in his. During the general election campaign, Hunt accused Helms of having the most "anti-Israel record of any member of the U.S. Senate". Helms pledged during the campaign that he would retain his chairmanship of the Agriculture committee.

In the most expensive Senate campaign up to that time, Helms narrowly defeated Hunt, taking 1,156,768 (51.7%) to Hunt's 1,070,488 (47.8%). Helms might not have won had it not been for Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's popularity in the state; Reagan carried North Carolina by 24 points that year.

Third Senate term (1985–1991)

In 1989, Helms hired James Meredith
James Meredith
James H. Meredith is an American civil rights movement figure, a writer, and a political adviser. In 1962, he was the first African American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi, an event that was a flashpoint in the American civil rights movement. Motivated by President...

, most famous as the first African-American ever admitted to the University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, is a public, coeducational research university located in Oxford, Mississippi. Founded in 1844, the school is composed of the main campus in Oxford, four branch campuses located in Booneville, Grenada, Tupelo, and Southaven as well as the...

, as a domestic policy adviser to his Senate office staff. Meredith noted that Helms was the only member of the Senate to respond to his offer.

In 1989, Helms successfully lobbied for an amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act, legislation protecting disability rights that exempted pedophilia
Pedophilia
As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children...

, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

, and kleptomania
Kleptomania
Kleptomania is an irresistible urge to steal items of trivial value. People with this disorder are compelled to steal things, generally, but not limited to, objects of little or no significant value, such as pens, paper clips, paper and tape...

 from the conditions against which discrimination was barred. Even though the Helms amendment was kept in the final ADA bill that passed Congress in 1990, Helms twice voted against the bill.

Foreign affairs

Although Helms was returned, and became the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar became its chair, after Helms and the moderate Lugar cut a deal to keep liberals out of top committee posts. Despite pressure to claim the Foreign Relations chair, he kept the Agriculture chair, maintaining his campaign promise.

A 'purge' of the State Department by George Shultz
George P. Shultz
George Pratt Shultz is an American economist, statesman, and businessman. He served as the United States Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1972 to 1974, and as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989...

 in early 1985, replacing conservatives with moderates, was heavily opposed by conservatives, led by Helms. They unsuccessfully attempted to block the appointment of Rosanne Ridgway
Rozanne L. Ridgway
Rozanne L. Ridgway served 32 years with the U.S. State Department, holding several posts, including ambassador to Finland and to East Germany, and finished her career as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs...

, Richard Burt
Richard Burt
Richard R. Burt is an American businessman and diplomat who served as United States Ambassador to Germany and was a chief negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Prior to his diplomatic career, Burt worked as director of a non-governmental organization and was a correspondent for the New...

, and Edwin Corr
Edwin G. Corr
Edwin Gharst Corr was a United States diplomat and served as a United States Ambassador to several Latin-American nations. Corr is from Norman, Oklahoma....

 as ambassadors, arguing that Shultz was appointing diplomats that were not loyal to the President's philosophy, particularly in Latin America. In August, Helms threatened to lead a filibuster against a bill imposing sanctions on South Africa, delaying it until after summer recess.

In early 1986, Panamanian dissident Winston Spadafora visited Helms and requested that the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs hold hearings on Panama. Ignoring Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams is an American attorney and neoconservative policy analyst who served in foreign policy positions for two Republican U.S. Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. While serving for Reagan and in the State Department, Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, and retired U.S. Marine Corps officer...

's request for a softer line towards Panama, Helms—a long-time Noriega
Manuel Noriega
Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

 critic—agreed, and the hearings uncovered the large degree of leeway that the US government, and particularly the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, was giving Noriega. After the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 encountered opposition from Oliver North
Oliver North
Oliver Laurence North is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, political commentator, host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News Channel, a military historian, and a New York Times best-selling author....

 in investigating Noriega's role in drugs trafficking, Helms teamed up with John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 to introduce an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act
Intelligence Authorization Act
The Intelligence Authorization Act was implemented in order to codify covert, clandestine operations and defines requirements for reporting such operations to the Congress...

 demanding that the CIA investigate the Panama Defense Forces' potential involvement. In 1988, after Noriega was indicted on charges including drugs trafficking, a former Panamanian consul general and chief of political intelligence testified to the subcommittee, detailing Panama's compiling of evidence on its political opponents in the United States, including Senators Helms and Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, with the assistance of the CIA and National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

. Helms proposed that the government suspend the Carter-Torrijos treaties unless Noriega were extradited within thirty days.

Helms became interested in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue concerns the fate of United States servicemen who were reported as missing in action during the Vietnam War and associated theaters of operation in Southeast Asia...

, and in October 1990 his committee staff chief and longest-serving aide, James P. Lucier
James P. Lucier
James P. Lucier, is an author, and was a staff member of the United States Senate for 25 years, and was a former staff director for the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.-External links:* writings...

, prepared a report stating that it was probable there were live American prisoners still being held in Vietnam and that the George H. W. Bush administration was complicit in hiding the facts. The report also alleged that the Soviet Union had held American prisoners after the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and more may have been transferred there during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and during the Vietnam War. (Lucier also believed that survivors of the 1983 shoot-down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 were being held prisoner by the Soviets.) Helms stated that the "deeper story" was a possible "deliberate effort by certain people in the government to disregard all information or reports about living MIA-POWs." This was followed up in May 1991 by a minority report of the Foreign Relations Committee, released by Helms and titled An Examination of US Policy Toward POW/MIAs, which made similar claims and concluded that “any evidence that suggested an MIA might be alive was uniformly and arbitrarily rejected ...” The issuing of the report caused other Republicans on the committee to become angry, and charges were made that the report contained errors, innuendo, and unsubstantiated rumors. This and other personnel matters led to Helms firing Lucier and eight other staff members in January 1992. Helms subsequently distanced himself from the POW/MIA issue. (The aides claimed vindication later in 1992 when Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 said that the Soviet Union had kept some U.S. prisoners in the early 1950s.)

HIV legislation

In 1987, Helms added an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act, which directed the president to use executive authority to add HIV infection to the list of excludable diseases which prevent both travel and immigration to the United States. The action was opposed by the U.S. Public Health Service. Congress restored the executive authority to remove HIV from the list of excludable conditions in the 1990 Immigration Reform Act, and in January 1991, Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan announced he would delete HIV from the list of excludable conditions. A letter-writing campaign headed by Helms ultimately convinced President Bush not to lift the ban, and left the United States the only industrialized nation in the world to prohibit travel based on HIV status. The travel ban was also responsible for the cancellation of the 1992 International AIDS Conference in Boston. On January 5, 2010, the 22 year old ban was lifted after having been signed by President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 on October 30, 2009.

The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

stated that Helms was 'bitterly opposed to federal financing of AIDS research and treatment'., which he believed was God's punishment for homosexuals. Opposing the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988, Helms stated, "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

". When Ryan White
Ryan White
Ryan Wayne White was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school because of his infection. A hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed...

 died in 1990, his mother went to Congress to speak to politicians on behalf of people with AIDS. She spoke to 23 representatives; Helms refused to speak to Jeanne White, even when she was alone with him in an elevator. Despite opposition by Helms, the Ryan White Care Act
Ryan White Care Act
The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act was an Act of the U.S. Congress named in honor of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a tainted hemophilia treatment in 1984, and was expelled from school because of the disease...

 passed in 1990.

1990 reelection campaign

Helms ran for reelection in a nationally publicized and rancorous campaign against the former mayor of Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

, Harvey Gantt
Harvey Gantt
Harvey Bernard Gantt is an American architect and Democratic politician active in North Carolina. He was Mayor of Charlotte from 1983 to 1987, and ran twice for the United States Senate....

, in his 'bid to become the nation's only black Senator' and 'the first black elected to the Senate from the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 since Reconstruction'. In the primary, Helms had two opponents, George Wimbish (as in 1984) and another; Helms won with 84.3% of the vote.

Helms aired a late-running television commercial that showed a white man's hands ripping up a rejection notice from a company that gave the job to a 'less qualified minority'; some critics claimed the ad utilized subliminal
Subliminal
Subliminal may refer to:* Subliminal stimuli* Subliminal , Israeli rapper and producer* Subliminal , an electronic music label...

 racist themes. The advert was produced by Alex Castellanos
Alex Castellanos
Alejandro "Alex" Castellanos is a U.S. Republican Party political media consultant who specializes in television advertising, and was a top media adviser to Bush Cheney '04 as well as Mitt Romney's presidential campaign....

, whom Helms would employ until his company was dropped in April 1996 after running an unusually hard-hitting ad.

Helms won the election with 1,087,331 votes (52.5 percent) to Gantt's 981,573 (47.4 percent). In his victory statement, Helms noted the unhappiness of some media outlets over his victory, quoting a line from Casey at the Bat
Casey at the Bat
"Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888" is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.The poem was originally published...

: "There's no joy in Mudville tonight. The mighty ultra-liberal establishment, and the liberal politicians and editors and commentators and columnists have struck out."

Fourth Senate term (1991–1997)

In the early 1990s, Helms was a vocal opponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 (NAFTA).

Controversies

In a widely publicized incident on July 22, 1993, Carol Moseley Braun
Carol Moseley Braun
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun is an American feminist politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator in an...

, the first black woman in the Senate and the only black Senator at the time, alleged that Helms offended her by whistling "Dixie
Dixie (song)
Countless lyrical variants of "Dixie" exist, but the version attributed to Dan Emmett and its variations are the most popular. Emmett's lyrics as they were originally intended reflect the mood of the United States in the late 1850s toward growing abolitionist sentiment. The song presented the point...

". After Moseley Braun persuaded the Senate to vote against Helms's amendment to extend the patent of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
United Daughters of the Confederacy
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a women's heritage association dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served in the military and died in service to the Confederate States of America . UDC began as the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, organized in 1894 by...

 insignia, which included the Confederate flag, Helms ran into Moseley Braun in an elevator. Helms turned to Senator Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch
Orrin Grant Hatch is the senior United States Senator for Utah and is a member of the Republican Party. Hatch served as the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1993 to 2005...

 and said, "Watch me make her cry. I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing 'Dixie' until she cries." He then proceeded to sing the song about "the good life" during slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 to Moseley Braun. In 1999, Helms unsuccessfully attempted to block Moseley Braun's nomination to be United States Ambassador to New Zealand
United States Ambassador to New Zealand
The United States has maintained a consular presence in New Zealand since 1838. The first consul was James Reddy Clendon. Born in England, Clendon was a ship owner and merchant who bought land and settled in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. In 1838 he was appointed by the federal government of the...

.

In 1994, Helms created a sensation when he told broadcasters Rowland Evans
Rowland Evans
Rowland Evans, Jr. was an American journalist. He was known best for his decades-long syndicated column and television partnership with Robert Novak, a partnership that endured, if only by way of a joint subscription newsletter, until Evans's death.Born in Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania, Evans...

 and Robert Novak
Robert Novak
Robert David Sanders "Bob" Novak was an American syndicated columnist, journalist, television personality, author, and conservative political commentator. After working for two newspapers before serving for the U.S. Army in the Korean War, he became a reporter for the Associated Press and then for...

 that Clinton was "not up" to the tasks of being commander-in-chief, and suggested two days later, on the anniversary of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

's assassination, that Clinton "better not show up around here [Fort Bragg] without a bodyguard". Helms said Clinton was so unpopular and said he had not meant it as a threat.

Republican majority

Republicans regained control of Congress after the 1994 elections and Helms became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In that role, he pushed for reform of the UN and blocked payment of the United States' dues. Helms passed few laws of his own in part because of this bridge-burning style. Hedrick Smith
Hedrick Smith
Hedrick Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter and editor for The New York Times, an Emmy Award-winning producer/correspondent for the PBS show Frontline, and author of several books....

's The Power Game depicts several senators specifically blocking Helms's goals as a result of his intransigence, but nonetheless portrays Helms as a 'devastatingly effective power broker'. Helms vehemently opposed granting Most favoured nation
Most favoured nation
In international economic relations and international politics, most favoured nation is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade. The term means the country which is the recipient of this treatment must, nominally, receive equal trade advantages as the...

 status to China, citing human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 concerns.

Helms tried to block the refunding of the Ryan White Care Act in 1995, saying that those with AIDS were responsible for the disease
Victim blaming
Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment are held entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them. Blaming the victim has traditionally emerged especially in racist and sexist forms...

, because they had contracted it because of their 'deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct', and that the reason AIDS existed in the first place was because it was "God's punishment for homosexuals". Helms also claimed that more federal dollars were spent on AIDS than heart disease or cancer, despite this not being borne out by the Public Health Service statistics.

Helms-Burton Act

Soon after becoming the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

, in February 1995, Helms announced that he wished to strengthen the spirit of the 1992 Torricelli Act
Torricelli Act
The Torricelli act also known as The Cuban Democracy Act is another part of the United States' long running embargo against Cuba. The law was enacted in 1992, on an initiative by Robert Torricelli, who was then a member of the United States House of Representatives, and supported by Senator...

 with new legislation. Its companion sponsored through the House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 by Dan Burton
Dan Burton
Danny "Dan" Lee Burton is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the , serving since 1983. He is a member of the Republican Party....

 of Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, it would strengthen the embargo against Cuba
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

: further codifying the embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

, instructing United States diplomats to vote in favour of sanctions on Cuba, stripping the President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 of the option of ending the embargo by executive order until Fidel
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 and Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

 leave power and a prescribed course of transition is followed. The bill also, controversially explicitly overruling the Act of State Doctrine
Act of State Doctrine
The Act of State Doctrine says that a nation is sovereign within its own borders, and its domestic actions may not be questioned in the courts of another nation.-United States:...

, allowed foreign companies to be sued in American courts if, in dealings with the regime of Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, they acquired assets formerly owned by Americans.

Passing the House comfortably, the Senate was far more cautious, under pressure from the Clinton administration. The debate was filibuster
Filibuster
A filibuster is a type of parliamentary procedure. Specifically, it is the right of an individual to extend debate, allowing a lone member to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal...

ed, with a motion of cloture
Cloture
In parliamentary procedure, cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion"...

 falling four votes short. Helms reintroduced the bill without Titles III and IV, which detailed the penalties on investors, and it passed by 74 to 24 on 19 October 1995. A conference committee was scheduled to convene, but did not until 28 February 1996, by which time external events had taken over. On 24 February, Cuba shot down two small Brothers to the Rescue
Brothers to the Rescue
Brothers to the Rescue is a Miami-based activist organization headed by José Basulto. Formed by Cuban exiles, the group is widely known for its opposition to the Cuban government and, then President, Fidel Castro...

 planes piloted by anti-Castro Cuban-Americans. When the conference committee met, the tougher House version, with all four titles, won out on most substantive points. It was passed by the Senate 74–22 and the House 336–86, and President Clinton signed the Helms-Burton Act
Helms-Burton Act
The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 is a United States federal law which strengthens and continues the United States embargo against Cuba...

 into law on 12 March 1996. For years after its passing, Helms criticised the corporate interests that sought to lift the sanctions on Cuba, writing an article in 1999 for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

, at whose publisher, the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, also drew Helms's ire for its softer approach to Cuba.

1996 reelection campaign

In 1996, Helms drew 1,345,833 (52.6 percent) to Gantt's 1,173,875 (45.9 percent). Helms supported his former Senate colleague Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

 for president, while Gantt endorsed Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. Although Helms is generally credited with being the most successful Republican politician in North Carolina history, his largest proportion of the vote in any of his five elections was 54.5 percent. In North Carolina, Helms was a polarizing figure, and he freely admitted that many people in the state strongly disliked him: "[The Democrats could nominate Mortimer Snerd and he'd automatically get 45 percent of the vote." Helms was particularly popular among older, conservative constituents, and was considered one of the last 'Old South
Old South
Geographically, Old South is a subregion of the American South, differentiated from the "Deep South" as being the Southern States represented in the original thirteen American colonies, as well as a way of describing the former lifestyle in the Southern United States. Culturally, the term can be...

' politicians to have served in the Senate. However, he also considered himself a voice of conservative youth, whom he hailed in the dedication of his autobiography. Under Helms's banner, many conservative Democrats in eastern North Carolina switched parties and began to vote increasingly Republican.

Fifth Senate term (1997–2003)

The summer of 1997 saw Helms engage in a protracted, high-profile battle to block the nomination of William Weld
William Weld
William Floyd Weld is a former governor of the US state of Massachusetts. He served as that state's 68th governor from 1991 to 1997. From 1981 to 1988, he was a federal prosecutor in the United States Justice Department...

, Republican Governor of Massachusetts
Governor of Massachusetts
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick.-Constitutional role:...

, as Ambassador to Mexico
United States Ambassador to Mexico
The United States has maintained diplomatic relations with Mexico since 1823, when Andrew Jackson was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to that country. Jackson declined the appointment, however, and Joel R. Poinsett became the first U.S. envoy to Mexico in 1825. The rank...

: refusing to hold a committee meeting to schedule a confirmation hearing. Although he did not make a formal statement of his reason, Helms did criticise Weld's support for medical marijuana
Medical cannabis
Medical cannabis refers to the use of parts of the herb cannabis as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy, or to synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids such as THC as a physician-recommended form of medicine...

, which Senate conservatives saw as incompatible with Mexico's key role in the War on Drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

. Weld attacked Helms's politics, saying, "I am not Senator Helms's kind of Republican. I do not pass his litmus test on social policy. Nor do I want to." This opened Helms to counter on Weld's positions on abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, gay rights, and other issues on which he had a liberal position. Other factors, such as Weld's noncommittal position on Helms's chairmanship during his 1996 Senate campaign and Weld's wife's donation to the Gantt campaign, made the nomination personal and less cooperative. Held up in the committee by Helms, despite Weld resigning his governorship to concentrate on the nomination and a petition signed by most senators, his nomination died.

As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jesse Helms vigorously opposed American participation in the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

. While the United States cast one of four votes against the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court . It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of 13 October 2011, 119 states are party to the statute...

, adopted by a 120 to 4 vote in July 1998, President Clinton signed the Statute for the United States. However, Helms was strident in his opposition and let it be know that any attempt to have the Senate ratify the Statute would be "dead on arrival" at the Foreign Relations Committee. He also introduced the American Service-Members' Protection Act, adopted by Congress in 2002 "to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party".

In 2000, Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

 sought out Jesse Helms to discuss increasing American aid to Africa. In Africa, AIDS is a disease that is primarily transmitted heterosexually, and Helms sympathized with Bono's description of 'the pain it is bringing to infants and children and their families'. Helms insisted that Bono involve the international community and private sector, so that relief efforts would not be paid for by 'just Americans'. Helms coauthored a bill authorizing $600 million for international AIDS relief efforts. In 2002, Helms announced that he was ashamed to have done so little during his Senate career to fight the worldwide spread of AIDS, and pledged to do more during his last few months in the Senate. Helms spoke with special appreciation of the efforts of Janet Museveni
Janet Museveni
Janet Kataaha Museveni is the First Lady of Uganda since May 1986. She is married to Yoweri Museveni, with whom she has four children.. She is the current Minister for Karamoja Affairs in Uganda's Cabinet She was appointed to that position on 27 May 2011...

, first lady of Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, for her efforts to stop the spread of AIDS through a campaign based on 'biblical values and sexual purity'.

Because of recurring health problems, including bone disorders, prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

, and heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, Helms did not seek re-election in 2002. His Senate seat was won by Elizabeth Dole
Elizabeth Dole
Mary Elizabeth Alexander Hanford "Liddy" Dole is an American politician who served in both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential administrations, as well as a United States Senator....

, a former Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, Nixon, and Ford presidential advisor that served as Reagan's
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 Transportation Secretary
United States Secretary of Transportation
The United States Secretary of Transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation, a member of the President's Cabinet, and fourteenth in the Presidential line of succession. The post was created with the formation of the Department of Transportation on October 15, 1966,...

 (which at that time included the Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

), H.W. Bush's Labor Secretary
United States Secretary of Labor
The United States Secretary of Labor is the head of the Department of Labor who exercises control over the department and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies....

, and a former Presidential candidate
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

, who also happened to be the wife of long-time colleague and former Senator Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

 of Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

. Dole held the seat for a single term, losing her 2008 re-election bid
United States Senate election in North Carolina, 2008
The 2008 United States Senate election in North Carolina was held on November 4, 2008. The Senate election coincided with the presidential, U.S. House elections, gubernatorial, Council of State, and statewide judicial elections. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole ran for re-election...

 to Democrat Kay Hagan.

Post-Senate life (2003–2008)

In 2004, he spoke out for the election of Republican U.S. Representative Richard Burr
Richard Burr
Richard Mauze Burr is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, Burr represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives....

, who, like Elizabeth Dole two years earlier, defeated Democrat Erskine Bowles
Erskine Bowles
Erskine Boyce Bowles is an American businessman and political figure from North Carolina. He served from 2005 to 2010 as the President of the University of North Carolina system...

 to win the other North Carolina Senate seat. In September 2005, Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

 published his memoir Here's Where I Stand. In his memoirs, he likened abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 to the Holocaust and the September 11 terrorist attacks stating, "I will never be silent about the death of those who cannot speak for themselves." Helms had also been recruited by pop star Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

 for charity work.

In 1994, after turning down requests for his papers to be left to an Ivy League
Ivy League
The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group...

 university, he designated Wingate University
Wingate University
Wingate University was founded by Baptists in 1896 as Wingate School, an independent, co-educational institution and became a four-year college in 1977. In 1996, Wingate College became Wingate University....

 as the repository of the official papers and historical items from his Senate career, where the Jesse Helms Center
Jesse Helms Center
The Jesse Helms Center, located in Wingate, North Carolina and named for its founder Jesse Helms, is a repository of Helms' papers, letters, and speeches, transcripts of his televised editorials for WRAL-TV, and campaign materials such as polling information and advertisements...

 is based to promote his legacy. In 2005, Liberty University
Liberty University
Liberty University is a private Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty's annual enrollment is around 72,000 students, 12,000 of whom are residential students and 60,000+ studying through Liberty University Online...

 opened the Jesse Helms School of Government with Helms present at the dedication.

Death

Helms's health remained poor after he retired from the Senate in 2003. In April 2006, news reports disclosed that Helms had multi-infarct dementia
Multi-infarct dementia
Multi-infarct dementia is one type of vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease in older adults. Multi-infarct dementia is thought to be an irreversible form of dementia, and its onset is caused by a number of small strokes or...

, which leads to failing memory and diminished cognitive function, as well as a number of physical difficulties. He was later moved into a convalescent center near his home. Helms died of vascular dementia during the early morning hours of July 4, 2008, at the age of 86. He is buried in Historic Oakwood Cemetery
Historic Oakwood Cemetery
Historic Oakwood Cemetery was founded in 1869 in Raleigh, North Carolina near the North Carolina State Capitol in Historic Oakwood. Historic Oakwood Cemetery contains two special areas within its , the Confederate Cemetery, located on the original two and one-half acres , and the Hebrew Cemetery,...

 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Views on minorities

Helms opposed many progressive policies regarding race, such as busing, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, Helms once referred to the University of North Carolina (UNC) as the "University of Negroes and Communists." Helms called the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

 'the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress', and sponsored legislation to either extend it to the entire country or scrap it altogether. Helms reminded voters that he tried, with a 16-day filibuster, to stop the Senate from approving a federal holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., although he had fewer reservations about establishing a North Carolina state holiday for King. He has been accused of being a segregationist
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 by some political observers and scholars, such as USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

's DeWayne Wickham who wrote that Helms 'subtly carried the torch of white supremacy
White supremacy
White supremacy is the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. The term is sometimes used specifically to describe a political ideology that advocates the social and political dominance by whites.White supremacy, as with racial...

' from Ben Tillman.

In 1996 the Department of Justice admonished Helms's 1990 campaign for mailing 125,000 postcards to households in predominantly African-American precincts warning them (incorrectly) that they could go to jail if they had not updated their addresses on the electoral register since moving. Helms opposed 'every piece of civil rights and affirmative action legislation' and blocked 'black judges from being considered for the federal bench'. In 1982, he voted against the extension of the Voting Rights Act. Helms opposed busing, supported the 'racist apartheid regime of South Africa', and 'for years blocked attempts by President Bill Clinton to appoint a Black judge on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals'. Only when Helms's own judicial choices were threatened with blocking did attorney Roger Gregory
Roger Gregory
Roger L. Gregory is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.- Background :Gregory was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Petersburg, Virginia. He earned his B.A. degree summa cum laude from Virginia State University in 1975 and his law degree from the...

 of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, Virginia get confirmed. Helms also tried to block the nomination of Carol Moseley Braun
Carol Moseley Braun
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun is an American feminist politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator in an...

, the first African-American female senator, as ambassador to New Zealand.

Views on homosexuality

Helms had a negative view of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
Transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....

 (LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

) people and LGBT rights in the United States. Helms called homosexuals 'weak, morally sick wretches' and tried to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

 for supporting the 'gay-oriented artwork of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer, known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers and nude men...

'. In 1993, when then-president Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 wanted to appoint 'out'
Closeted
Closeted and in the closet are metaphors used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex people who have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity and aspects thereof, including sexual identity and sexual behavior.-Background:In late 20th...

 lesbian Roberta Achtenberg
Roberta Achtenberg
Roberta Achtenberg is an American politician. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S...

 to assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Helms held up the confirmation 'because she's a damn lesbian', adding '[s]he's not your garden-variety lesbian. She's a militant-activist-mean lesbian'. Helms also stated 'I'm not going to put a lesbian in a position like that. If you want to call me a bigot, fine'. When Clinton urged that gays be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces, Helms said the president 'better have a bodyguard' if he visited North Carolina. His views on gay and lesbian citizens were depicted in the 1998 documentary film Dear Jesse
Dear Jesse
Dear Jesse is a 1998 American documentary film by Tim Kirkman that was released theatrically by Cowboy Pictures in 1998.Using a first-person narrative style in the form of a "letter" to Senator Jesse Helms , the filmmaker explores the parallels and differences between himself — an openly gay man —...

.

Helms initially fought against increasing federal financing for HIV/AIDS research and treatment, saying the disease resulted from 'unnatural' and 'disgusting' homosexual behavior. "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy," he said in 1988. In his final Senate year, he strongly supported AIDS measures in Africa
HIV/AIDS in Africa
HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern and cause of death in Africa. Although Africa is home to about 14.5% of the world's population, it is estimated to be home to 67% of all people living with HIV and to 72% of all AIDS deaths in 2009.-Overview:...

, where heterosexual transmission of the disease is most common, and continued to hold the belief that the 'homosexual lifestyle' is the cause of the spread of the epidemic in America.

Family

Jesse and Dot had three children: Jane, Nancy of Raleigh
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 403,892, over an area of , making Raleigh...

, and Charles Helms of Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina, with a 2010 population of 229,617. Winston-Salem is the county seat and largest city of Forsyth County and the fourth-largest city in the state. Winston-Salem is the second largest municipality in the Piedmont Triad region and is home to...

, North Carolina. Charles was a nine-year-old orphan with cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement....

 who they adopted after reading in a newspaper that Charles wanted a mother and father for Christmas. The couple had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Religious views

Helms was well known for his principled religious views. He played a leading role in the development of the Christian right
Christian right
Christian right is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe "right-wing" Christian political groups that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies...

, and was a founding member of the Moral Majority
Moral Majority
The Moral Majority was a political organization of the United States which had an agenda of evangelical Christian-oriented political lobbying...

 in 1979. Although a Southern Baptist
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

 from his upbringing in a strictly literalist
Biblical literalism
Biblical literalism is the interpretation or translation of the explicit and primary sense of words in the Bible. A literal Biblical interpretation is associated with the fundamentalist and evangelical hermeneutical approach to Scripture, and is used almost exclusively by conservative Christians...

, but hawkishly secularist
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

, environment, when in Raleigh, Helms worshipped at the moderate Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, where he had served as a deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

 and Sunday school
Sunday school
Sunday school is the generic name for many different types of religious education pursued on Sundays by various denominations.-England:The first Sunday school may have been opened in 1751 in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. Another early start was made by Hannah Ball, a native of High Wycombe in...

 teacher before his election to the Senate.

Helms was close to fellow North Carolinian Billy Graham
Billy Graham
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is an American evangelical Christian evangelist. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman, and is number seven on Gallup's list of admired people for...

 (whom he considered a personal hero), as well as Charles Stanley
Charles Stanley
Charles Stanley , is a US preacher, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia.Charles Stanley may also refer to:*Charles H...

, Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson
Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is a media mogul, television evangelist, ex-Baptist minister and businessman who is politically aligned with the Christian Right in the United States....

, and Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. was an evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator from the United States. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia...

, whose Liberty University
Liberty University
Liberty University is a private Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty's annual enrollment is around 72,000 students, 12,000 of whom are residential students and 60,000+ studying through Liberty University Online...

 dedicated its Jesse Helms School of Government to Helms. Helms helped found Camp Willow Run, an interdenominational Christian summer camp
Summer camp
Summer camp is a supervised program for children or teenagers conducted during the summer months in some countries. Children and adolescents who attend summer camp are known as campers....

, sitting on its board of directors until his death, and was a Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge
Grand Lodge
A Grand Lodge, or "Grand Orient", is the usual governing body of "Craft", or "Blue Lodge", Freemasonry in a particular jurisdiction. The first Masonic Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717 as the Premier Grand Lodge of England....

 of freemasons
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 in North Carolina.

Equating leftism
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 and atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, Helms argued that the downfall of the USA was due to loss of Christian faith, and often stated, "I think God is giving this country one more chance to save itself". He believed that the morality of capitalism was assured in the Bible, through the Parable of the Talents
Parable of the Talents
The Parable of the talents or minas, , is one of the well known parables of Jesus. It appears in two of the Canonical gospels of the New Testament. The differences between Matthew and the Luke are substantial, and the two parables may not be derived from the same source...

. He believed, writing in When Free Men Shall Stand, that 'such utopian slogans as Peace with Honor, Minimum Wage, Racial Equality, Women's Liberation, National Health Insurance, Civil Liberty' are ploys by which to divide humanity 'as sons of God'.

Awards

He held honorary degrees from several religious universities including Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University is a private, for-profit, non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina.The university was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones, Sr. , an evangelist and contemporary of Billy Sunday...

, Campbell University
Campbell University
Campbell University is a coeducational, church-related university in rural North Carolina, USA. Its main campus is located in the community of Buies Creek; its law school moved from Buies Creek to a new campus in the state capital of Raleigh in 2009. Campbell has an approximately equal number of...

, Grove City College
Grove City College
Grove City College is a Christian liberal arts college in Grove City, Pennsylvania, about north of Pittsburgh. According to the College Bulletin, its stated three-fold mission is to provide an excellent education at an affordable price in a thoroughly Christian environment...

, and Wingate University
Wingate University
Wingate University was founded by Baptists in 1896 as Wingate School, an independent, co-educational institution and became a four-year college in 1977. In 1996, Wingate College became Wingate University....

.

In popular culture

Helms's conservative views on art were the subject of the Loudon Wainwright III
Loudon Wainwright III
Loudon Snowden Wainwright III is a Grammy Award-winning American songwriter, folk singer, humorist, and actor. He is the father of musicians Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche, brother of Sloan Wainwright, and the former husband of the late folk singer Kate McGarrigle.To...

 song "Jesse Don't Like It".

External links

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