Newspaper Articles


Raleigh Register
April 12, 1960

Kennedy Says Primaries Important

Thinks People Should Have Right To Choose Presidential Nominee

By Dallas Boothe

U. S. Senator John F. Kennedy, bringing his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Beckley Monday night, placed high importance on primary elections, saying, "I think every candidate should enter every primary."

Speaking to an overflow crowd in the Raleigh County Courthouse the Masschusetts senator said:

"The people should have the right to help choose candidates for the presidency - the key office and the most important office in the free world. The presidency belongs to the people."

Kennedy was given a clamorous reception from the time he arrived at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport in a private plane shortly after 7 p.m., until he departed four hours later.

Crammed into his brief trip to the county were a press conference, a brief talk followed by a longer period of handshaking at the courthouse, another short talk from the door of the mine office of the Slab Fork Co., a visit to the mine entrance, and a reception in the home of S. Austin Caperton, president of the coal company.

In regard to a reported coalition against him in the May 10 West Virginia Primary, Kennedy said:

"Why don't they (other presidential candidates) come here and do it themselves?"

He said he has heard of the rumored "Stop Kennedy" move by other Democratic candidates and that "West Virginia is the place to stop my nomination. Why didn't other candidates come here to stop me? I would be delighted to run against them."

Stressing the importance of primary elections, Kennedy said he has entered seven - New Hampshire, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Nebraska, Indiana, Maryland and Oregon.

"I came here to West Virginia, with no guarantee that I will win, because I think this is the way a President should be chosen.

"This is an important election - as important as the election of 1932. It is a critical time in this country," he said.

Kennedy referred to the economic status of West Virginia as a national problem, not just one of the state. He said the solution must be a combination of actions on the part of local and federal governments.

"The trouble is," he said, "we have had no action on the federal government level."

In speaking before the crowd of approximately 1,000 people, the senator strayed from a prepared speech he had referred to in a press conference earlier.

His prepared talk set forth a nine-point program he would advocate, if elected, "to alleviate the problems in West Virginia and other depressed areas - a New Deal for West Virginia."

Pledged in the nine-point program were such things as "a fair share of defense contracts, which ought to go more to areas of unemployment;

"Higher and longer unemployment insurance to tide a man over until he can find work; a fair share of federal highway funds; federal grants to rebuild decaying towns, giving them more facilities to attract industry; and a better break for the elderly, the disabled and sick."

With reference to the New Deal of the early 30s, the candidate said:

"Congress, under Franklin D. Roosevelt's leadership, accomplished more in 100 days than has been accomplished in eight full years under the Eisenhower-Nixon administration."

Straying again from his prepared talk, he continued, "We cannot afford four more years of 'Republican peace and properity'."

Kennedy criticized the Eisenhower administration for not sending defense industries to West Virginia and other areas of unemployment. He attacked Eisenhower, in particular, for vetoeing such legislation as coal research and area development bills.

"I am running for the presidency," he said, "Because, after 14 years in the House and Senate, I've found it is the center of action - it holds the future of this country, and is the only place where you can begin to move the economy of the state and country forward."

Vigorous applause marked the speech delivered by the Democratic candidate. In conclusion, he said:

"I hope the motto, 'Mountaineers Are Always Free,' will be the motto of the U. S. and the entire world."

A good-sized crowd flocked to the airport to see the senator on his arrival Monday evening. In the crowd was Frank Albanese, Beckley, who set off fireworks as the Kennedy plane touched down.

Newsmen, in a small plane ahead of the Kennedy party, received an unexpected reception when Albanese, thinking Kennedy was in their plane, set off most of his fireworks as their plane landed.

Television cameras rolled and cameras clicked at the Slab Fork mine entrance, as films were taken for showing throughout the state and nation.

Included in the Kennedy party, along with television camera crews, were representatives of Time Magazine and the New York Times and a free lance photographer.


Stoplight Meeting

The paths of rival candidates for President met at a stoplight in Beckley late last night.

One car was taking Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) to board a plane after a campaign appearance here.

In another car were Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.). Kennedy's opponent in the May 10 West Virginia primary, and Mrs. Humphrey. They were on their way to nearby Prince to catch a train after a speaking tour in southern West Virginia.

The occupants recognized each other when the cars arrived at a stoplight, one behind the other. Kennedy and Humphrey chatted briefly, each telling the other he was taking a few days off from campaigning in the state. Then they went their separate ways.


Humphrey Speaks To Wyoming Countians

Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, candidate for the nomination for president, spoke briefly to about 150 persons on the steps leading from the Wyoming County Courthouse lawn at Pineville between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Monday.

Humphrey told the crowd he would like to clean up the streams, clean out the Republicans, and provide retirement for some people in Washington. He said we need a government in Washington to speak up for the working men, farmers, teachers, students, small businessmen, and railroad workers.

He stated he has seen the unemployed miner and the poverty of some parts of the state, but he also has observed the farmers in the Mid-West having to sell out their farms because they cannot stand the Eisenhower-Benson economy.

Humphrey told the group we need an administration in Washington that will not stand for anything except first place for America. He called on West Virginians to help select the next president of the United States. He said “the eyes of the nation are on West Virginia.”

Humphrey was accompanied to Pineville by members of his staff from Washington, and Mr. and Mrs. Marshall G. West, and Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Herndon, all of Oceana. West is co-chairman of Humphrey’s West Virginia campaign


Slab Fork Folk Meet Kennedy

Presidential aspirant, U. S. Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Mass), arrived at a mine of the Slab Fork Coal Co. Monday night just as shifts were being changed and spoke to the miners outside the mine office.

Kennedy gathered with the miners (upper photo) outside the mine entrance, shook hands, and answered questions for the benefit of television cameras.

Doing some hand shaking of his own in the mining community was gubernatorial candidate Hulett C. Smith, Beckley. Smith (left photo) meets Kennedy in the mine office. Looking on are Homer Martin, lamphouse man at the mine, and Don Hodson, chairman of the Raleigh County Kennedy For President Club.

After some time at the mine entrance, Kennedy attended a reception in the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. Austin Caperton. A large crowd of Slab Fork residents gathered in the home of the coal company president to meet the Democratic presidential candidate.


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