MORGANTON, N.C. – Before Richard Burr, there was the man everyone called “Senator Sam.”
Democratic Senator Sam Ervin is part of the history of Watergate.
He chaired the Senate Watergate Committee that uncovered the abuse of power by then President Richard Nixon.
Anyone interested in learning more about the similarities between Watergate and the current turmoil in Washington can go visit the Sam Ervin Museum and Library at Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton.
“What you are looking at here is the actual desk of Senator Sam,” says the college Vice President Atticus Simpson.
Simpson proudly took NBC Charlotte’s Rad Berky on a tour of the museum.
The Ervin family that still has roots in Morganton where “Senator Sam” was born and raised, donated much of what is on display, including the gavel he famously used to open each meeting of the committee and a copy of the one-line letter of resignation signed August 9, 1974, by Richard Nixon.
Ervin was a most unlikely star to emerge from the Watergate investigation. He preferred to think of himself, not as a politician but rather as a simple country lawyer.
Said Simpson, “I think that was a joke on himself but it was indicative of his character. He didn’t think so highly of himself that he couldn’t be true to his roots”
Republican Senator Richard Burr now, in a way follows in the footsteps of Ervin.
Burr chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee that is investigating any ties between the Trump Administration and Russia.
Simpson says as the investigation unfolds we could all take a lesson from Sam Ervin.
“Approach it with an open eye. Try to be unbiased on things and do try to hear both sides of the story which was true to his character,” he said.