Former 1976 White House Campaign Manager remembers former First Lady Carter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In an interview with Action News Jax, local resident Mike Hightower - who worked closely with the Carters during their 1976 White House campaign - shared his vivid memories following the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

READ: Rosalynn Carter, wife of the 39th President of the US, dead at 96

Hightower, who first encountered the Carters in 1974, eventually took on a significant role in managing their campaign in Florida and Duval County.

Recalling the fond memories, Hightower mentioned, “She was just so warm and friendly.”

The 96-year-old former First Lady passed away on Sunday, leaving behind a legacy of advocacy for mental health and various causes.

Despite her prominence, Hightower emphasized the Carters’ loyalty to those who worked for them.

“They had aqueduct, and it was leaking. So it was the biggest loan at that time of the agency,” he explained, pointing to a historical picture from 1978.

Reflecting on his involvement in the campaign, Hightower shared, “I was a school teacher and resigned my job to work in the campaign. At 32, he appointed me State Director of Farmers Home Administration.”

The couple, married for 77 years, made a significant impact on Hightower’s life, and he expressed that Rosalynn Carter’s legacy extends beyond her role as the First Lady.

“She also took one of her passions, which was caregivers. Which was sort of ironic in that she went into hospice, and of course, there were caregivers, and the President was there,” he added.

As the nation mourns the loss of Rosalynn Carter, funeral arrangements are yet to be announced. Action News Jax will continue to provide updates on this evolving story.

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