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Wednesday 4.02

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Biographical Conversations with James B. Hunt
On your television— Who's had a better view of the decline of progressive thinking than Jim Hunt? When he was elected governor the first time in '76, America (and North Carolina) still believed in collective action for the common good—and in narrowing the wealth gap between our propertied classes and the landless rest of us. Ah, good times, for the activist Hunt especially. By the time he left office eight years later, however, it was business, not government, that people worshipped—that, and Christian moralizing. Greed was good, and the new era brought still-worsening wealth disparities. Actually, one could say that Hunt's loss to Jesse Helms in the epic '84 U.S. Senate race marked the beginning of the end of progressive possibilities in this state, anyway. When Hunt returned for two more terms (1993-2001), it was as a pro-business governor who espoused "good schools" as the answer, since henceforth everyone was on their own. Hunt sat with UNC-TV's Shannon Vickery for extensive interviews last summer. Hopefully she asked him, "What went wrong, governor?" Tonight's program is the first of four "Biographical Conversations" airing consecutive Wednesdays at 8 p.m. First up: the formative years. The Helms v. Hunt race is third, on April 16. —Bob Geary

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