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Sen. Jesse Helms

Former Senator for North Carolina

Helms was a senator from North Carolina and was a Republican. He served from 1973 to 2002.

Photo of Sen. Jesse Helms [R-NC, 1973-2002]


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Helms is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 2002 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Helms sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 7, 1997 to Nov 20, 2002. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Helms was the primary sponsor of 42 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 42 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Helms sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Foreign Trade and International Finance (26%) Environmental Protection (15%) Government Operations and Politics (12%) International Affairs (12%) Agriculture and Food (11%) Armed Forces and National Security (8%) Civil Rights and Liberties, Minority Issues (8%) Law (8%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Helms recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Missed Votes

From Jan 1973 to Nov 2002, Helms missed 834 of 12,574 roll call votes, which is 6.6%. This is much worse than the median of 1.8% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Nov 2002. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses, major life events, and running for higher office.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: