Newspaper Articles


Montgomery Herald
April 7, 1960

Presidential Hopeful Hubert Humphrey Gives Beliefs In Exclusive Statement

Senator Discusses Needs In Fayette

Hon. Hubert H. Humphrey, who will visit Fayette county this Friday, has given for publication in today’s Herald the most thorough and complete statement of any candidate who is seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

U. S. Senator Humphrey’s exclusive statement is warm, and he dodges no issues or questions. He was asked to make his comments by Fayette Tribute editor Bob Holliday.

Statement By Senator Hubert H. Humphrey for the Fayette Tribune and Montgomery Herald

Modern Liberalism asserts the duty of the government to use its full power and resources to meet the social, economic, and technological challenges of our time – to guarantee to the average person the right to his own political and economic life, to liberty and the pursuit of happiness – to provide government with a heart.

Abraham Lincoln put it well – “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot do so well, for themselves, in the separate and individual capacities.”

I believe our wealthy society has a responsibility to promote full employment of our people and our tremendous national resources. We have a responsibility to provide basic economic security for themselves.

By this I mean social security, unemployment compensation, minimum wage requirements, and help for those who are disabled by accident or sickness, or old age or by lack of bargaining power in an impersonal marketplace.

The liberal approach is experimental but it is committed to freedom, to the dignity and wonderful potential of each human individual. Franklin D. Roosevelt showed that the state can promote individual freedom and security. I believe modern liberalism must continue this tradition – to maintain government with a heart for a free people.

Unlike the doctrinaire socialist who advocates nationalization to cure man of whatever ills him, the liberal isn’t dogmatic but flexible and free to experiment. The liberal’s ultimate goal is to make our free economy work in the best interests of all the people rather than a privileged few. This can be done by an imaginative government dedicated to the noble concept of equal opportunity for all.

Now what does this mean for Fayette County?

The tragic unemployment situation in Fayette County affects every one of the 80,000 citizens of the county – even those who are fortunate enough to have a job or some income to keep them going.

I say our rich country cannot afford the terrible waste of human resources in unemployment – in Fayette County or anywhere in this country. There is so much to do. We need highways, hospitals and schools, housing for elderly people and many other public works. With wise, energetic Presidential leadership, we can mobilize our people and put them to work on useful projects to build a better America.

Hunger and starvation are even more shocking than unemployment. It is tragic and shameful that anyone in this country should go to bed hungry when our granaries are bulging at the seams with abundant food supplies.

I was deeply impressed by the heart-rending testimony of your school superintendent, Mr. Walker, to the Subcommittee on Unemployment. Stark hunger faces far too many children in Fayette County every day and this near-starvation contributes to bad health, with decayed teeth, poor eyesight, ear troubles and very serious emotional problems.

Ever since I came to the Senate, I have worked to strengthen the school lunch program and the school milk program. It is heart-warming to know that my efforts have helped to bring a hot lunch – perhaps the only meal of the day – to many children in Fayette County.

Last year Congress approved my food stamp program to get tasty, nourishing surplus food to needy people – especially people out of work. Unfortunately, the Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Benson, immediately refused to put this program into effect, saying that there was not enough unemployment to justify the program.

I simply cannot understand their heartless attitude to outright hunger and starvation in West Virginia and in other communities across this country. I have sponsored legislation for a mandatory food stamp program to compel the Federal government to expand distribution of surplus foods.

If we can help hungry people overseas with milk, wheat, corn, barley, beef, chickens, turkeys, ducks, pork, sausage, potatoes, prunes, cherries, apricots, lemons, orange juice, peaches, pears and other good, nourishing foods, certainly we should do as much for hungry Americans. I hope Congress will act immediately on my compulsory food stamp distribution program to alleviate the hardship and hunger which face almost one-fourth of the people in Fayette County.

We get entirely too much talk from this Republican Administration about why we cannot do what we should do. In 1958, President Eisenhower vetoed the Area Redevelopment bill to help industrial and rural communities with serious unemployment problems and the threat of a veto has been raised again.

The President last year also vetoed the coal research bill passed by Congress to give special help to the coal industry which has such a vital role in the economy of Fayette County and all of West Virginia. I supported the coal research bill and I hope Congress will act on it again this year to override the President’s veto. This bill is too important to be stopped by the “not now, go slow, veto” policies of this Republican Administration.

These negative policies have crippled positive action by the Small Business Administration and by the Defense Department to help industries in depressed areas where thousands of people are looking for work. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am trying to get these government agencies to use the wonderful industrial potential of areas like those in West Virginia with substantial labor surplus. I believe Presidential leadership could promote this industrial development in depressed areas – but the leadership has been lacking.

Senate approval of my Youth Conservation Corps proposal gave a tremendous boost to the prospects for conservation work and employment of many young men in West Virginia. I believe that conservation development in Fayette County and other parts of West Virginia will open up great possibilities for expansion of the tourist industry – and will provide healthy, outdoor job opportunities. I hope White House opposition will not block this vital legislation in the House.

Long-term solutions to the problems of West Virginia will require active recruitment and diversification of industry and new emphasis on education and vocational training. But we must meet the short-run human needs of displaced workers and their families.

Too many workers find that their unemployment benefits run out before they can find a job. I believe that we must expand the protection of unemployment compensation to more workers and set minimum standards for benefits. Under the legislation I am sponsoring, there would be higher minimum benefits to continue for a period of up to 39 weeks. In Fayette County you know only too well that this legislation is needed.

Older workers are particularly handicapped in finding jobs. They find it hard to leave a home they cannot sell and they are reluctant to leave family and friends behind for the uncertainties of a job which may not last. But worst of all, many employers will not hire older workers because they fear additional fringe costs such as insurance premiums, and pension and welfare contributions.

Therefore, I have proposed a bill to allow employers to take a tax credit for the additional costs of hiring older workers. Thus, employers will have no reason and no excuse to discriminate against workers past their 35th or 40th birthday.

Other programs which I would advocate in lending West Virginia a helping hand to overcome her economic difficulties include: strengthening the Federal Employment Service so that new channels of job opportunity are opened up and unemployed workers are provided with better counseling and financial help in relocating, and developing a task force within the Executive Branch of the Federal Government aimed at marshalling the vast resources of its existing agencies to join Fayette County and West Virginia in a valiant crusade against poverty and unemployment.

Many communities in West Virginia are making valiant efforts to attract industry and expand employment. However, I believe that White House leadership – government with a heart – can help to bring new life and new hope to Fayette County and similar areas in West Virginia.

You have asked me where I differ from Senator Kennedy in my basic political philosophy. We are both Democrats, and a great deal of the time we have voted similarly. However, we have had our differences, some of which have been reconciled [sic] in the past two years; on agriculture, for example. Our voting records were in sharp disagreement on agricultural policy until 1958. Senator Kennedy and I have also differed in 19 other votes on atomic energy, public power, taxation, civil rights, public housing and public works. Congressional Quarterly last October compared the voting records of each Democratic Senator as to what percentage of roll-call votes he voted against the “coalition” of Southern Democrats and Republicans on party-splitting issues during 1959.

In this anti-coalition voting, Senator Kennedy voted 65 percent of the time against the coalition and 2 percent with the coalition. I voted 80 percent of the time against the coalition and 2 percent with the coalition. To get a perspective, Majority Leader Johnson voted against the coalition 47 percent of the time, and with the coalition 42 percent.

In general terms, however, I feel that as one who has actually experienced and lived through poverty, I simply understand with more than an intellectual perception the despair and suffering faced by so many Americans who are victims of economic forces over which they have no control. In a sense, I am more fortunate than my good friend Senator Kennedy; the underprivileged, the down on their luck, the hard-working families struggling to keep going, these are the people whom I have known and worked with from boyhood. I believe that we must have “government with a heart,” government that is not only just, but compassionate.


Humphrey To Be Here Tomorrow

Senator Hubert Humphrey, Democratic Presidential candidate in West Virginia, is scheduled to arrive in Montgomery this Friday at 12 noon, it was announced.

Humphrey and his staff of about 25 will stop in their chartered bus at the Greyhound bus depot here in Montgomery. He will be introduced to the audience by Attorney Earl M. Vickers. He then will make a short speech and meet as many people on the streets as possible.

Humphrey is then scheduled to have lunch in the West Virginia Tech cafeteria.

Mayor Denver Brown and members of the City Council will be on hand to handle the arrangements for the Senator’s visit.

After spending an hour in Montgomery, he will make stops in Fayetteville, Oak Hill and Mt. Hope the same day.


Kennedy’s Visit Rescheduled To Sat., April 30

U. S. Senator John F. Kennedy, who was scheduled to be in Montgomery and other Fayette communities this coming Monday, will not appear here until the latter part of the month, it was announced today.

A schedule readjustment was required and the Senator will come to Montgomery and other Fayette towns on Saturday, April 30.

Kennedy is opposing Senator Humphrey for the Democratic Presidential nomination in West Virginia.


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