Last week, NC said good-bye to freshman lawmaker, Representative Jim Fulghum (R-Wake). He passed away on July 19th after a short battle with cancer, at the age of 70. Representative Fulghum was a retired neurosurgeon and his medical experience was a true asset to the NC General Assembly.
During his short time in the General Assembly, Representative Fulghum was a champion for health issues. The first legislation that he sponsored was a top priority for the American Heart Association, HB 105: Require Pulse Oximetry Newborn Screening companion bill to SB 98, which was signed into law on May 8, 2013. He was also the lead sponsor for HB 827: Designate Primary Stroke Centers companion bill to SB 456 which was also signed by the Governor on the same day as the pulse oximetry screening law. In addition, Representative Fulghum worked closely with tobacco control advocates both in 2013 and 2014 to ensure that e-cigarette/vapor products legislation defined these new products as a tobacco product, ensuring that these products would be included in NC’s tobacco-free policies, especially in our schools.
The NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee recognized Representative Jim Fulghum for his commitment to strong public health policies of importance to the AHA on December 14, 2013. Committee member, Peg O’Connell presented him with the NC AHA’s Heart of a Friend Award. We all were looking forward to continuing our work with Representative Fulghum for years to come.
“I can hardly believe that he has left us,” said Betsy Vetter, Sr. Government Relations Director. “Representative Fulghum quickly distinguished himself as a true leader in the legislature. It was such a pleasure to work with him on issues. He was very thoughtful and knowledgeable. North Carolina will miss him greatly.”
The AHA extends our heartfelt sympathies to the Fulghum family. We have lost a health-hero.