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Monday, February 2, 2009

Jim Long, 1940-2009

Longtime Insurance Commissioner Jim Long has died at Rex Hospital today.

Governor Beverly Perdue has ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset the day of the funeral service.

From the News & Observer profile on Jim Long:

Early Life and Education 

James Eugene Long was born on March 19, 1940, in Burlington, N.C., to Helen Brooks and George Attmore Long. 

His family was politically active, with his grandfather and his father serving in the state House of Representatives. During a Democratic rally in 1946, his father walked in late and was recognized by Gov. Melville Broughton, who pointed out his red tie. Afterward, his father never wore anything but solid red ties until his death in 1999.

Long graduated from Walter M. Williams High School in Burlington in 1958.

He attended N.C. State University from 1958 to 1962. He then transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor of arts.

He earned a law degree from UNC's law school in 1966.

Professional and Political Career 

After graduation, he worked as an attorney.

From 1971 to 1973, he served as a member of the state House of Representatives, representing Alamance County. He served again 1975 to 1976.

In 1985, he was elected insurance commissioner, serving six terms.

He is the longest serving insurance commissioner in North Carolina history and the longest currently serving member of the Council of State.

In 2008, he announced he would retire at the end of his term, passing the torch to assistantWayne Goodwin, who won the November election.

After suffering a stroke while visiting a legislative building, Long died on Feb. 2, 2009.