Helms to Retire NPR's Steve Inskeep reports that Senator Jesse Helms is expected to announce tonight that he'll retire next year, after 30 years in the Senate. The North Carolina Republican is in his fifth term. He's been an outspoken advocate for conservative causes. During his years in the Senate, Helms has tried to cut off funding for the National Endowment for the Arts; blocked the appointment of homosexuals to federal jobs; and cut off American payments to the United Nations. He's been an unyielding opponent of easing sanctions against Castro's Cuba.