Presidential historian and North Dakotan discusses Rosalynn Carter’s life in politics

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:56 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 10:52 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter passed away yesterday at the age of 96, and today, North Dakotans are among those reflecting on her extraordinary life.

Rosalynn Carter accomplished a lot during her 96 years. She will perhaps be remembered most for her initiatives and teamwork with her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, during his presidency.

Presidential historian Rick Collin said when Rosalynn moved into the White House, she established the Office of First Lady in the East Wing, and it remains a success today.

He said she also helped her husband in all kinds of ways, attended cabinet meetings and offered different advice to him.

He said Rosalynn was the one who suggested to her husband that he invite Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Camp David to meet, and they brokered the Camp David Accords which resulted in a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Collin said Rosalynn Carter was especially passionate about mental health issues and she even lobbied Congress on it.

“She was involved in mental health issues when Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia, that was a big issue to her. Then she carried that to the much wider platform when she got to the White House as First Lady. That was a very important issue to her. And even after they left the White House, she was still a strong advocate for working with mental health issues and trying to do things to alleviate some of the problems people had with mental health,” said Collin.

Collin said he thinks this loss will affect former President Carter greatly, adding it’s not unusual for spouses who are close to follow each other in death. Jimmy Carter is in hospice care.

Rosalynn Carter will be laid to rest next Wednesday, November 29 in the family plot in Plains, Georgia.