Hunt book tour hits Greenville

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Staff Writer

GREENVILLE — Wearing a purple-and-gold tie, former Gov. Jim Hunt signed copies of Gary Pearce’s book, “Jim Hunt: A Biography,” at Barnes &Noble Booksellers in Greenville on Monday night.
The event drew some of Hunt’s friends and politicians from the area. Hunt and Pearce, Hunt’s former press secretary, talked with people and took on questions about the book and Hunt’s four terms as governor. Among the crowd was Martin County Manager Russell Overman.
“He was a really good public servant and did quite a lot for the state of North Carolina,” Overman said.
The book-signing event provided Hunt a chance to recall his days as a candidate for lieutenant governor and, later, governor.
“One person I want to thank is Ed Davenport,” Hunt said. “He toted me all around North Carolina, and we went from place to place as he helped me campaign for lieutenant governor in the ’70s — from Edenton and Washington, North Carolina. All the people we got on our team stayed on our team and that was good.”
While in Greenville, Hunt also took the opportunity to talk about his role in bringing the Brody School of Medicine to East Carolina University and Greenville and his desire to establish the N.C. School of Science and Math.
“Education is our future,” Hunt said. “It’s everything, and we should never settle for anything short of excellence in our schools.
“Science and mathematics are something we need to keep teaching. I don’t think we’re doing nearly enough to promote the two. We can always do more, especially science. We need to not just teach and lecture, but we need ‘to do’ as well.”
Pearce said the biography follows Hunt’s rise from his rural roots in Wilson to becoming North Carolina’s longest-serving governor. Hunt served as governor from 1977 to 1985 and from 1993 to 2001. He is the only North Carolina governor to be elected to four terms.
As governor, Hunt said, he was involved with several efforts to bring economic development and technological development to North Carolina, as well working to help establish the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Hunt’s recollection of how he met his wife and their lives together over the years seem to appeal to many at the event.
The former governor was not the only person reliving a part of Hunt’s past at the book-signing.
A woman, who met Hunt 25 years ago, brought of photograph of that meeting with her to the book-signing.
“Wow, look at how young we look,” Hunt said with a laugh.
Hunt later said it’s those types of moments he will remember from his time as governor — helping people and sharing moments not forgotten.