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Kingston, Ont., author’s book details friendship with President Jimmy Carter

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Kingston, Ont., author’s book details friendship with President Jimmy Carter
Local political historian and longtime friend of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says that meeting and becoming friends with his childhood hero has been a great experience – Oct 6, 2023

Kingston’s Arthur Milnes, a political historian and enthusiast, was just a teenager when Jimmy Carter took office in the United States in 1977.

Little did he know, his relationship with President Carter would become much more than that of a fan.

In the early 2000s, Milnes and his friend heard that Carter was teaching Sunday school in Georgia, and decided to take a trip down, and the relationship flourished from there.

“I’ve hosted him for a night in my own home and I can tell you, besides the secret service, he was a pretty low-maintenance guest,” said Milnes.

When President Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, stayed with Milnes, they planted trees, which still grow in his backyard today.

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This relationship led Milnes to write a book, 98 reasons to thank Jimmy Carter, now re-released as 99 reasons, which details many of Carter’s brightest accomplishments through his term in office, such as the Camp David Peace Accord that brought peace between Egypt and Israel, or his early work on environmental issues.

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“The greatest honour, I think, for a political leader in our era is to call them a peacemaker and I definitely think that would be my number one reason to admire Jimmy Carter,” he said.

In recent years, the political climate in the U.S. has shifted far from the days of Jimmy Carter.

The United States Presidential Race is at the centre of media and public attention for what Milnes says are the wrong reasons.

“The lack of respect between people of different parties, and the attacks are constant,” he said.

Milnes says he remembers Jimmy Carter, the politician, as someone who shied away from conflict like that and, instead, tended to keep his mind on the issues.

“His chief opponent was Gerald Ford, a republican. Carter and Ford wrote the book on mutual respect between leaders,” said Milnes.

As for a solution to re-bridging the gaps between political parties and forging mutual respect between opponents, according to Milnes, it’s simple.

“In our case, the Prime Minister should walk across the floor, the leader of the opposition should walk across the floor, shake hands and say ‘Let’s go out for a beer. Let’s go out for dinner.”

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