Editorial

Helms and history

December 3, 2012 

The late conservative Republican U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms probably would have had to think twice about having his name attached to a building representing, at least to some degree, the power and reach of the federal government. Yet Helms, as a 30-year senator, was part of that government, and he took seriously his duties as an elected official. Naming the historic Century Station post office building in downtown Raleigh for Helms, as U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers now proposes, would be a suitable gesture to acknowledge his public service.

Helms, a Raleigh resident, long had an office in the building, where the first-floor postal branch was recently threatened with closure. Support from the community has kept the post office operating – a good thing for the downtown, and a nod to the building’s recent renovation. A federal courtroom is upstairs.

Keeping a piece of history alive seems to be the sort of conservative policy Helms would support. And perhaps the government could find room in the Jesse Helms Building for a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

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