Newspaper Articles


Huntington Advertiser
April 18, 1960

Blatnik Says W. Va. Neglected by GOP

By Hugh Maxwell

Minnesota’s iron ore mining industry faces the same problem of joblessness as does West Virginia’s coal industry, and both have been neglected alike by the Eisenhower Republican Administration. Meanwhile, the administration continues to exhibit keen concern over the economic woes of foreign nationals over the world.

These were the highlights of an address delivered Saturday night by Rep. John A. Blatnik (D-Minn) at the convention banquet of the Cabell County Young Democratic Club in the Hotel Frederick. A large and responsive audience heard the Minnesota lawmaker call for fewer presidential vetoes of bills intended to aid distressed areas at home.

Representative Blatnik said Minnesota’s iron ore mining industry, centralized in St. Louis county, a northern area of the state, “rapidly is approaching West Virginia’s situation of idle coal miners and distressed areas in the bituminous fields.”

The trouble in Minnesota, Representative Blatnik explained, is that iron ore deposits it he famous Masabi Range, which was virtually stripped to meet crucial World War II demands of the allies for more iron and ever more iron, are diminishing to the point here distressed areas loom. “Within two years,” the Minnesota congressman declared, “Minnesota will be on a par with distressed West Virginia.”

Minnesota, Representative Blatnik declared, could benefit as could West Virginia from research that would lift the economy out of dependence upon a single natural resource, iron ore in Minnesota and coal in West Virginia.

Would Have Helped Both

The area redevelopment bill that President Eisenhower vetoed would have been of direct benefit to Minnesota and West Virginia, the speaker asserted, providing as it did for research into possibilities of bringing in new industries.

Representative Blatnik passed along some advice to West Virginia as follows: “Don’t you people down here in West Virginia let all these outside candidates and speakers come in and tell you what’s wrong with West Virginia. You tell them and the entire country what you think is wrong and what you need.”

The speaker pointed out that the time is particularly suspicious now, when attention of the entire nation, if not the world, is centered on West Virginia because of the presidential preference vote on primary day, May 10, “to tell everybody what West Virginia demands.”

Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn), both are on the presidential preference ballots. Both are candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Admires Both

Representative Blatnik said he has a “great deal of admiration” for both senators. He described Sen. Humphrey particularly as a conscientious and energetic lawmaker. He made no reference to Sen. Kennedy’s religion. (The senator is a Catholic).

Congressman Blatnik, a tall and handsome man with a glamorous war combat record, made a good impression upon his audience. His speech delivery was precise and emphatic. He was frequently interrupted by applause.

He was introduced by William A. Beckett, president of the West Virginia Young Democratic Clubs.


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