North Carolina became the 12th state to join the Union on November 21, 1789. North Carolina’s first senator, Samuel Johnston, took office on November 26, 1789, followed by Benjamin Hawkins on December 8, 1789. North Carolina’s longest-serving senators include Furnifold Simmons (1901-1931) and Jesse Helms (1973-2003). Among those who rose to leadership positions are Willie P. Mangum and Matt Ransom, both of whom served as the Senate’s president pro tempore.

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