John Ingram (politician)

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For the businessman, see John R. Ingram (businessman).

John Randolph Ingram
8th North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance
In office
January 10, 1973 – January 10, 1985
Preceded by Edwin S. Lanier
Succeeded by James E. Long
Personal details
Born June 12, 1929
Greensboro, North Carolina
Died January 6, 2013(2013-01-06) (aged 83)
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Virginia Brown (m. 1954)[1]
Children Four[2]
Alma mater University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Profession Attorney
Religion Methodist[1]

John Randolph Ingram (June 12, 1929 – January 6, 2013) was an American Democratic politician, attorney, and insurance commissioner. He served as North Carolina's Commissioner of Insurance from 1973 until 1985.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

John Randolph Ingram was born on June 12, 1929 in Greensboro, North Carolina.[1] He attended Asheboro High School. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from the Kenan–Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina in 1951.[1] He earned his Juris Doctor from University of North Carolina School of Law in 1954.[1]

Career[edit]

He practiced as an attorney, serving on the board of directors of the North Carolina Bar Association.[1] He served as a lawyer in the JAG Corps. After serving, he returned to North Carolina where he started his political career.

He first ran for election to represent Randolph County in the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1960, but lost.[2] He ran for the state House again, winning in 1970, and served for one term, during which he introduced the bill reducing the voting age to 18 in North Carolina, and also advocated for auto insurance reform.[1] He won his post as Commissioner of Insurance in 1972.[3]

In that role, he was known as a populist and was an outspoken holder of the office.[4] He won re-election in 1976 and 1980. He considered the abolition of assigned risk for young drivers to be the highlight of his career as Commissioner.[2] Throughout his tenure, he consistently rejected insurance rate increases, although these were overturned by appellate courts in 32 of 33 cases.[2] This brought him into conflict with the General Assembly, which, in 1977, stripped the Commissioner's office of its rate-capping powers.[5]

He was indirectly threatened by the Insurance lobby which made many attempts to infiltrate his campaigns and cabinet. This led to the firing of aides and deputies, including successor Jim Long, and holding meetings in parking garages over fears his office was bugged.[4]

He ran for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 1978, 1986, and 1990. He won the Democratic nomination in the second ballot in the 1978 election against the banker Luther H. Hodges, Jr., who outspent him by $1.7m to only $50,000.[2] In the general election, Ingram lost to the Republican incumbent Jesse Helms. He ran for the position of Governor of North Carolina in 1984, to replace Jim Hunt, whose term ended per constitutional term limits. However, in the primary election, Ingram finished fifth in a crowded field, with 9% of the vote.[6]

In 1986, Terry Sanford won the nomination on the first ballot, with Ingram coming second, with 16% of the vote. Ingram came third in the 1990 primary, with 17%, behind Harvey Gantt and Mike Easley.[6] In these later races, Ingram was known to focus primarily to issues of insurance. In the 1990 election, at first, Ingram refused to answer questions about any other topic, focusing on health insurance.[7] However, he was known as pro-choice, and favoured federal funding of abortion for poor victims of rape and incest.[8]

Death[edit]

He died on January 6, 2013 from complications of heart disease.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Cheney, John L., Jr. (ed.). North Carolina Manual 1975. Raleigh, NC: Secretary of State of North Carolina. p. 535. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Anne Jackson (April 22, 1986). "John Ingram – Fighting as Usual". The Star-News. 
  3. ^ Maralee Schwartz (February 8, 1990). "Ingram Makes It a Fivesome". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ a b Rob Christensen (February 3, 2009). "Old-school politician fought for consumers". The News & Observer. 
  5. ^ "Ingram is elected, too; has legislature forgotten?". The Star-News. January 24, 1978. 
  6. ^ a b "North Carolina DataNet #46" (PDF). University of North Carolina. April 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2009. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Dennis Patterson (February 7, 1990). "Ingram Touts Insurance Program, Refuses Other Questions". Associated Press. 
  8. ^ "Ingram Again Limits Questions at News Conference". Associated Press. February 20, 1990. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Edwin S. Lanier
North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance
1973–1985
Succeeded by
James E. Long
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nick Galifianakis
Democratic Party nominee for
United States Senator from North Carolina (Class 2)

1978 (lost)
Succeeded by
Jim Hunt