"We are saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Helms, but joyful that we can begin the celebration of such a great patriot on the Fourth of July. Jesse Helms was larger than life and it is entirely fitting that he would join Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams as making his last day the Fourth of July. Senator Helms will be a man who is remembered for loving his country, the state of North Carolina and for doing whatever was in his power to work for the people with their best interests in his heart. In his five terms in the United States Senate, he not only became one of the greatest advocates for the interests of North Carolina, but he also became one of the first and loudest champions of the conservative movement. It is no exaggeration to say that without Jesse Helms, there may have been no conservative movement and no Republican Party in North Carolina. In the time since his retirement, Senator Helms remained a voice for conservative values and a strong advocate for a culture of life as he dedicated himself to charitable work aimed at the crises of poverty and AIDS in Africa. No great man, no matter his era, is short of controversy. I know Jesse would have expected as much. Those who knew him personally knew him to be a man with a kind, gentle soul who exuded warmth and lifted up those around him. The truly great legacy of Senator Helms is that he left behind so many great leaders who have been inspired by him to pursue the conservative vision for North Carolina."