Monday, November 20, 2023

R.I.P.: Rosalyn Carter, Former First Lady

Rosalynn Carter, who as first lady of the U.S. served as a key adviser to her husband, Jimmy, during his turbulent presidency, died at her home in Plains, Ga., on Sunday, according to the Carter Center. She was 96.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” former President Carter said in a statement issued Sunday. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

During the Carter presidency from 1977 to 1981, “she was his equal partner in the White House,” attending cabinet meetings, testifying to Congress and serving as U.S. envoy to Latin America and elsewhere, said E. Stanly Godbold Jr., a retired Mississippi State University professor and a biographer of the Carters. The Carters’ relationship was so close that “I don’t think you can understand one of them without understanding the other,” he said.Long an advocate for improved mental-health services, 

The Wall Street Journal reports Rosalynn Carter was instrumental in passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980, which called for federal support for such programs. Congress repealed most of the act in 1981, after Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, lost re-election to Republican Ronald Reagan.

Jimmy Carter heavily relied on his wife’s input, often forwarding memos with an accompanying scribble, “Ros. What think?”

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