Cass Ballenger

Cass Ballenger

name = Cass Ballenger

date of birth = birth date and age|1926|12|6
place of birth = Hickory, North Carolina
state = North Carolina
district = 10th
term_start = November 4, 1986
term_end = January 3, 2005
preceded = Jim Broyhill
succeeded = Patrick T. McHenry
party = Republican
spouse =
religion =

Thomas Cass Ballenger (born December 6, 1926) is an American politician. A Republican, he represented North Carolina's 10th Congressional district ( [] ), centered in North Carolina's foothills, in the United States House of Representatives from 1986 to 2005.

Ballenger was born in Hickory, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later earned his M.B.A. from Amherst College. He served in the United States Naval Air Corps during World War II.

A plastics executive in his hometown of Hickory, Ballenger had previously served in the North Carolina State House of Representatives from 1974 until 1976, and the North Carolina State Senate from 1976 until 1986. In the November 1986 elections, Ballenger was simultaneously elected to serve the remainder of 23-year incumbent Jim Broyhill's term (Broyhill had been appointed to the Senate) and to his own first term. He was reelected nine more times, all by landslide margins in what, according to some, has become the most Republican district in North Carolina. Not surprisingly, his voting record was very conservative.

As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Ballenger chaired the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. As chairman, Ballenger drafted legislation that was eventually enacted that reformed the Occupational Health and Safety Administration [OSHA] , making OSHA less adversarial toward American businesses. Like the back country constituents he served, Ballenger resisted the notion of a large federal government and sought to minimize government regualtion.

From 1982 to 2002, Ballenger displayed a black lawn jockey in front of his Hickory home. Some African Americans in Hickory criticized Ballenger for the lawn jockey, which they understood to be a symbol of racism. In 1994, a Democratic opponent featured the lawn jockey on a campaign brochure.

Ballenger, along with his wife, established the Ballenger Foundation in 1990 to raise funds for schools and hospitals in Central and South America. He has been active in that region for over thirty five years, receiving humanitarian awards from various organizations, including the Fabretto Children's Foundation, for his work.

In 2004, alongside several other Republican members of Congress, including Mark Souder and Katherine Harris, Ballenger submitted an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court case "Gonzales v. Raich", defending the federal government's power to raid, arrest, prosecute and imprison patients who use medical marijuana even in states that have declared such use legally permitted. [ [ Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of the Petitioners] from Mark E. Souder; U.S. Representative, Cass Ballenger; U.S. Representative, Dan Burton; U.S. Representative, Katherine Harris; U.S. Representative, Ernest J. Istook, Jr.; U.S. Representative, Jack Kingston; U.S. Representative, and U.S. Representative, Doug Ose]

When asked about Trent Lott's controversial comments on December 5, 2002 about Strom Thurmond's, Ballenger made disparaging comments about outgoing Rep. Cynthia McKinney. [cite book
last = Gregory
first = Leland
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Idiots in Charge: Lies, Trick, Misdeeds, and Other Political Untruthiness
publisher = Andrews McMeel Publishing
date = 08-01-2007
location =
pages = 222
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 978-0740769702
] [cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = DIVISIVE WORDS; Congressman Admits Segregation 'Feeling'
work = New York Times
pages =
language =
publisher =
date = December 21, 2002
url =
accessdate =

If I had to listen to her, I probably would have developed a little bit of a segregationist feeling. But I think everybody can look at my life and what I've done and say that's not true. I mean, she was such a bitch.

Cass Ballenger, "The Charlotte Observer", December 20, 2002cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = North Carolina's Ballenger says he's had segregationist feelings
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = The News & Observer Publishing Company
date = December 20, 2002
url =
accessdate =

He later apologized, denying that the statement reflected any racist feelings. Rather, he said that he was trying to make a pont that "almost anybody can develop an animosity to individuals," and that he singled out McKinney because he felt she was "less than patriotic." Later, one of his aides was seen painting over the black lawn jockey in Ballenger's yard. [cite news
last = Morrill
first = Jim
coauthors =
title = North Carolina Congressman Apologizes for Remarks about Black Colleague.
work = The Charlotte Observer
pages =
language =
publisher = December 20, 2002
date =
url =
accessdate =

Ballenger retired in 2004 and was succeeded by one-term Republican state representative Patrick T. McHenry. In 2008 presidential election, he endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination [] and endorsed incumbent Patrick T. McHenry in the NC Primaries [] .


He is the great-great-grandson of nineteenth century politician Lewis Cass, and was probably named after him. Cass was a Territorial Governor of Michigan, U.S. Senator from Michigan, U.S. Secretary of War, U.S. Secretary of State and was the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States in 1848.


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