When Jesse Helms died in 2008, then-Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory issued a statement that led with the following: “It is with deep sadness that I learned of the loss of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, a true statesman. As (while McCrory was) mayor, Sen. Helms provided impeccable constituent services and was always friendly and accessible. He kept his word whenever he made a commitment, and he always put North Carolina first. Sen. Helms was a friend to all North Carolinians, particularly Charlotteans, through his diligent work to help Charlotte secure its first federal grant for light rail. Without Sen. Helms’ support from the very beginning, the highly successful Lynx Blue Line would not be a reality today.”
Evidently, McCrory was willing to accept federal money for his own projects but now will not accept federal money for Medicaid, among other things. It is also unlikely that “all North Carolinians” would agree that Helms was their friend. Helms himself would have greeted that statement with derision and contempt.
Tom Kirby-Smith, Greensboro