Newspaper Articles

Welch Daily News
April 27, 1960

Sen. Kennedy Asks Candidates See Coal Field

The warmth of unprejudiced southern hospitality was extended to U. S. Senator John Kennedy Tuesday afternoon as the Massachusetts Democrat brought his presidential campaign into overwhelmingly Protestant McDowell County.

Arriving at the Welch Municipal Parking Building shortly after 4:30 o'clock, the tired but smiling candidate was given a rousing ovation from a large crowd which had been awaiting his arrival for almost an hour.

Interspersed with the resounding applause was the shrieks and screams of a large group of teenagers who all but mobbed the presidential hopeful as he walked down the street, shaking hands and greeting adults and children alike. Still evident was a thin coat of coal dust picked up earlier in the afternoon at an Itmann coal mine.

To be in a better position to address the crowd, Kennedy ordered a sound truck moved out of the parking building into the open. With mike in hand, he mounted the top of the vehicle and began speaking just [as] violent windstorm began whipping up a cloud of dust.

Undaunted, Kennedy opened up with an attack that involved both his Democratic opponent in the May primary and the Republican party.

He reiterated an often-made statement that the best training a presidential candidate can get is to enter the state primaries.

"How can a candidate," he asked, "do anything for West Virginia if he doesn't come in here to see the existing conditions. I have spent a month in this state...and my education has been expanded by my stay here."

He challenged President Eisenhower to take Vice President Richard Nixon "by the hand" and bring him to West Virginia to talk to the coal miners and those in need.

Answering Senator Hubert Humphrey's charge that he (Humphrey) "has been ganged up on by wealth" in the West Virginia primary, Kennedy said he thought Humphrey "has the strangest collection of political bedfellows."

He accused the Minnesota senator of accepting support from Sens. Stuart Symington and Lyndon Johnson, two other aspirants not entered here.

In concluding his remarks he pledged that if elected president the problems of West Virginia will be at the top of his desk in 1961.

Kennedy, accompanied by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., also made brief stops in Kimball, Keystone and Northfork. A "forced" stop was made just above the Welch Elementary School. There a group of adults waving "Hello Jack" and "Welcome Kennedy" signs blocked the highway forcing the Kennedy caravan to a stop.

The Massachusetts Senator returns to McDowell County next Tuesday for an all-day stay.

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