Kennedy Appears Here Today; 400 Persons to Be at Dinner
June 11, 1958
Kennedy Appears Here Today; 400 Persons to Be at Dinner
Upward of 400 persons will see and hear in Morgantown tonight the man who may carry the Democratic standard into the 1960 Presidential race . . . U.S. Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a 41-year-old Democrat who has already made history by virtually coming from nowhere to reach the top of the political ladder.
This young man who will address the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner tonight before a sellout crowd is now serving his first term as United States Senator from Massachusetts, only the third Democrat ever to represent his state in the Senate.
The demand to see and hear Kennedy was so great, according to Monongalia County Democratic Chairman Julius W. Singleton, that arrangements were worked out to have Kennedy’s address broadcast over Radio Station WAJR tonight between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Senator Kennedy has had a brilliant career. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served six years as a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusett’s 11th District.
Senator Kennedy, one of a family of nine children, was born in Brookline, Mass., on May 29, 1917, the son of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. His father, a native of East Boston, served as ambassador to Great Britain, as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as chairman of the Maritime Commission. His mother is the daughter of the former Mayor of Boston, John F. Fitzgerald, who, more than 50 years ago, represented the same Congressional District as Kennedy did in the House of Representatives.
Another grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the State Senate from East Boston. A brother, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., a Navy Pilot, was killed in action in Europe and was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
Senator Kennedy was married to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12, 1953. The former Miss Bouvier studied at Vassar and was graduated from George Washington University, and was for a time employed by the Washington, D. C., Times-Herald. They have one daughter, Caroline, born November 27, 1957.
Senator Kennedy attended public schools in Massachusetts, the Choate School, and was graduated from Harvard in 1940 with honors. He attended the London School of Economics in 1935-36 and took graduate courses at Stanford University in 1940.
Entering the Navy in 1941, Senator Kennedy served as a PT boat Commander in the South Pacific during World War II. He was decorated twice by the Navy for the serious injuries he suffered when his PT boat was rammed in two while attacking a Japanese destroyer during a night action in the Solomons, and for “his courage, endurance and excellent leadership” in towing injured members of his crew to safety, and bringing them through Japanese lines after nine days. In March of 1945, he was retired for injuries by the Navy.
In 1940, he wrote “Why England Slept,” published by Funk & Wagnall, the story of England’s unpreparedness for war. His most recent book, “Profiles in Courage,” published in 1956 by Harper & Brothers, is an account of the pressures endured by Senators who spoke out for what they believed to be the national interest in opposition to the heated feelings of their constituents.
Both books appeared on the best-seller lists, and “Profiles in Courage,” which receive the Pulitzer Prize as the outstanding work in the field of Biography for 1956, remained near the top of the national best-seller list for well over a year, longer than any other non-fiction work published in 1956. It also received the Notable Book Award of the American Library Association, the Christopher Book Award for 1956, the Book Award of The Secondary Education Board, and other literary honors. In addition, he is the author of several dozen articles in national magazines during the past several years.
Before the war and before his entrance into Congress, Kennedy was a writer and newspaperman. He represented the Chicago Herald-American at the San Francisco and in 1945, he covered the British elections and the Potsdam Conference for International News Service.
In November 1946, Kennedy was elected to Congress. His election record follows: in 1946, in his first campaign for any political office, he was elected to Congress by a vote of 69,093 to 26,000 for his opponent. In 1948, he was unopposed in both the primary and the final election. In spite of this, 106,366 votes were cast for him in the final election. In 1950, he received 87,699 votes to 18,302 for his opponent.
In 1952, he defeated the incumbent United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., by over 70,000 votes, in spite of the fact that President Eisenhower carried Massachusetts by over 210,000 votes. Kennedy received the highest vote ever given to a candidate in either party for the United States Senate in the history of Massachusetts.
At the Democratic National Convention of 1956 in Chicago, Senator Kennedy came within a handful of votes of being the party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States.
He is now a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee and the Select Committee To Investigate Improper Activities in Labor-Management Relations.
The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce selected John F. Kennedy as one of the 10 outstanding young men in America in 1946. He has received the honorary degree of doctor of law from 18 colleges and universities – including Harvard, Syracuse, the University of South Carolina, Notre Dame, Tufts and the University of New Brunswick in Canada; and an honorary doctor of science degree from Lowell Technological Institute in Massachusetts. He was elected to the Harvard University Board of Overseers in June, 1957.
In addition, he has received numerous citations from veterans, charitable, religious, racial and and (sic) other groups, including the Annual Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews; the 1956 Patriotism Award as “Outstanding Statesman of the Year” from Notre Dame; the Yeshiva University 1957 Charter Day Award; the 1957 Eire Society Gold Medal as the outstanding Irish Catholic in America; the “Man of the Year” Award from the Polish Daily News; the 1957 Brotherhood Award of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Cardinal Gibbons Award for 1956.
Among his decorations by foreign governments for his work in international relations are the Italian Star of Solidarity of the First Order, the highest honor that the Italian Government can bestow on any individual; and the Greek Cross of the Commander of the Royal Order of the Phoenix.
Here are the highlights of Senator John F. Kennedy’s efforts in the United States Senate since his election in 1952:
In 1953 and 1954, he sparked major foreign policy debates with his speeches on our relations with the French in Indo-China, which the Washington Post termed in an editorial “a service of real statesmanship in emphasizing the issue of independence in Indo-China.” Walter Lippmann wrote that “Senator Kennedy’s speech ought to be widely read.”
In 1954, Senator Kennedy led the first fight against the Eisenhower Administration’s “new look” reduction in our armed forces, offering an amendment to the Defense Appropriation Bill which was supported by the over-whelming majority of Senate Democrats. Senator Kennedy’s amendment was praise by the St. Louis Post Dispatch for trying “to stave off this obviously unwise reduction of our Army division strength in these tinderbox times.”
In 1954, Senator Kennedy became the first member of either House from Massachusetts to support the St. Lawrence Seaway, delivering what Seaway supports termed the decisive speech and “the turning point in the debate.” The Boston Post and others concerned about the effects of the Seaway on the Port of Boston and Massachusetts railroad interests accused Kennedy of “ruining New England”; but the New York Herald Tribune called it “a fine example of political sagacity and courage” and the St. Paul (Minn.) Dispatch declared that “the Midwest owes Senator Kennedy a debt of gratitude for his courage in following the dictates of his conscience . . . as against the sectional political pressures.”
In 1954, (on crutches at the time prior to his back operation) led the battle for adequate standards for unemployment compensation benefits. Although it was defeated by overwhelming opposition from Republicans, the Kennedy amendment was termed by the St. Louis Post Dispatch “more realistic in view of what post-war inflation has done to unemployment compensation.”
In 1954-1955-1956, Senator Kennedy led the fight to revise and strengthen the Federal Lobbying Laws. Senator Kennedy, recognized in the words of the Salt Lake City Deseret (sic) News Telegram as “one of the most vigorous in opposing improper lobbying,” was subsequently given a place on the Select Committee to Investigate Lobbying.
In 1955 and 1956, he successfully urged increased attention to medical research. His 1955 amendment increasing funds for basic medical research was adopted by the Senate, and the Kennedy-Hill bill for a national medical library became law in 1956.
In 1956, Senator Kennedy was floor leader for those opposed to the Daniel-Mundt plans for revamping the electoral system. The New Bedford Standard Times editorialized that the Senate rejected these changes “largely as the result of Senator Kennedy’s efforts . . . to create a clearer understanding of the evils inherent in the proposals.”
In 1956, Senator Kennedy, as chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Reorganization, held 28 different hearings on 55 Hoover Commission proposals, reported 12 measures incorporating 32 of these bills and secured Senate passage of 11 of these. For these labors, he was publicly praised by former President Hoover and taxpayers’ groups and newspapers all over the country.
In 1957 Senator Kennedy took the lead in effecting the first changes in the immigration law since its enactment in 1952, thus amending some of the harsher provisions of the Act and providing relief for several pressing immigration problems – such as those concerning refugees and orphans – and clearing the way for more fundamental review of immigration policy.
In 1957 Senator Kennedy again focused the attention of the Senate and the Nation on important foreign policy issues with his speeches on Algeria and U. S. policy toward the satellite countries, especially Poland. The Washington Post said of this latter speech that “Senator Kennedy has helped to illuminate a gap in foreign policy,” and went on to say that “it takes courage for a politician to talk constructively of practical means to strengthen the independence of Communist states emerging from Soviet domination.” In an editorial on the Algerian speech, the Syracuse Herald American said: “Senator Kennedy has again demonstrated that he is amply equipped with a rather rare quality – political courage…not anti-French, he cannot remain silent on our support of French imperialism and colonialism while we cry out – on the other side of our mouths – for the independence and self-determination of all peoples.”
In 1957 a Labor Subcommittee under Senator Kennedy’s chairmanship began work on legislation to correct abuses disclosed by the investigations of improper activities in the labor-management field. The Subcommittee conducted hearings on pension and welfare fund legislation and reported a strong disclosure bill. The Subcommittee will continue work on other legislation, including the control of regular union funds and covering democratic practices in trade unions, during the second session of the 85th Congress.
In the period 1953-1957, Senator Kennedy demonstrated initiative, industry, independence and imagination in terms of legislative proposals.
He introduced the first bill to raise the minimum wage to $1 an hour (now law), the first bill to assist the nation’s fishing industry through research and market development (now law), the first bill to provide assistance to communities, industries and workers hard hit by excessive imports, and the first bill to establish a system of flexible retirement under social security to prevent rigidification at age 65 (including proposals for disability insurance and reduced eligibility age for women, similar to those passed in 1956).
He drafted the first comprehensive bill for Federal Flood Insurance (now law) and added to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 an amendment giving preference on reactor development to high cost power areas. He received nationwide recognition for his comprehensive analysis of the economic problems of New England and the Federal action necessary to alleviate those problems, and was praised as well for his speech in Chattanooga praising legitimate Southern advantages (such as TVA), while condemning unfair inducements (such as tax gimmicks).
In addition to his courage and independence on the St. Lawrence Seaway proposal and farm price supports, he was in 1956 the only Senator from New England to support U. S. membership in the Organization for Trade Cooperation; and in 1954 he was the only Senator from New England to support broadening of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements as recommended by the Randall Commission.
He has, on several occasions, been one of three or four Senators from either party voting for cut in excessive “pork-barrel” rivers and harbors appropriations supported by powerful bi-partisan regional blocs.
Although he was the only Democratic Senator in 1955 to oppose his party’s Highway Bill allocation formula, the Administration’s formula which he supported subsequently became the official Democratic bill passed by the House. The Special Committee to select Five Outstanding Senators, under his chairmanship, completed its difficult task and made its report to Congress in 1957. He introduced and held hearings in 1957 on legislation to broaden the coverage of the minimum wage law – the first significant extension of coverage since the 1949 amendments to the law.
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