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James Grubbs Martin was born on December 11, 1935, in Savannah, Georgia. Following academic pursuits at Davidson College and Princeton University, Dr. Martin moved his wife Dorothy Ann McAulay and growing family back to Davidson where he taught chemistry. Five years later, he launched his lengthy political career when he was elected County Commissioner, and in 1972, he ascended to U.S. Representative. As a Republican member of a Democratic-run Congress, U.S. Rep. Martin got his first taste of representing the minority party--a pattern that would continue throughout his political life. In 1984, U.S. Rep. Martin returned to North Carolina and was elected governor--finding himself again battling a Democratic majority. Gov. Martin persevered and was reelected in 1988, becoming the first Republican governor of the state to take the oath of office for a second four-year term. His reelection solidified his legacy as a leader in education and expansion--improving SAT scores, expanding the state’s prison system, and completing Interstate 40, linking the western and eastern borders of the Tar Heel State.
In Biographical Conversations with Governor James G. Martin, this storied public servant shares candid recollections and reflections about his early political education, his historic terms as North Carolina’s governor, and a life spent committed to the well being of the state that he led with passion, dignity, and success.
Biographical Conversations is supported by a grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.