Fayettevilles Charlie Rose was a down-home sort of fellow who seemed for his 24 years as a Democratic congressman from North Carolinas southeastern 7th District to be the perfect man for the job.
Rose, whose death at 73 from Parkinsons disease was announced Tuesday by his wife in Alabama (theyd moved there to be close to her family), was first elected in 1972 and proved adept at constituent service. When home for weekends, hed sometimes get out of the shower to answer his own phone, and his visits to farms and factories were sometimes unannounced.
Rose had a gift for talking to people in their language. He was an attorney who understood tobacco farming. And the leaf farmers were treated well by Rose in his influential position on the House Agriculture Committee.
Perhaps for a representative from Eastern North Carolina, the tobacco stance was predictable. But not all things about Charlie Rose were.
He thought ahead of his time, supporting the televising of House sessions, and pushed his colleagues into the modern era of technology. Rose even drove an electric car, far before they entered the commercial mainstream.
He was well-connected in the General Assembly, helping constituents through their state representatives, and he stayed in touch with local politicians on issues of interest. Former state Sen. Tony Rand, who once was a law partner to Rose, pronounced him as good of a politician as I ever saw up close. As the same has been said of Rand, thats high praise.
Though he was respected in Washington, Rose never forgot who sent him there. And when asked about someone back home, hed often say, My gosh hes a fine fella!
Twelve terms in Congress indicated the feeling was often mutual.