Newspaper Articles


Wayne County News
April 29, 1960

Kennedy Addresses Wayne Audience; Town Put in National TV Spotlight

U. S. Senator John F. Kennedy, campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president, was given a friendly reception in Wayne Monday, when he spoke to an estimated 250 persons gathered in the court house square.

His speech at Wayne was shown on the nationwide TV Huntley-Brinkley news program Tuesday night. David Brinkley came to Wayne in person to cover the Kennedy speech and created as much excitement among the people as did the presidential candidate.

In his address from the court house steps at Wayne, Sen. Kennedy said West Virginia had the highest per capita losses in the Korean War of any state in the nation, but is last among the states in defense payrolls and is last in the number of defense contracts.

He said the present administration in Washington should do more to help the state’s depressed coal mining areas, where many miners are unemployed.

He advocated a return to the leadership provided by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman as a means of moving this nation and state forward. He criticized Eisenhower for his veto of a coal research bill, which he claimed would have been a step toward solving West Virginia’s economic ills.

He said that West Virginia had an opportunity to direct the nomination of the Democratic candidate for president in the May 10 primary, predicting that if he carried the state he would win the nomination and be elected. He said other candidates for the presidency should have entered the West Virginia primary and the primaries in other states so that the people could choose the nominee instead of the choice being made by a few leaders in a smoke-filled hotel room during the national nominating convention.

Kennedy shook hands with everyone in sight and made a favorable impression on the audience. Following his brief talk he remained for some time to greet the people before continuing his journey to Williamson and Logan.

Joe J. Newman of Wayne, campaign manager for Kennedy in Wayne County, presented Atty. M. J. Ferguson, who introduced the candidate. Mr. Ferguson in his brief remarks referred to Kennedy’s outstanding record of service in World War II and to his record in the U. S. Senate.

Brinkley, the news analyst, came to Wayne an hour or so before Kennedy to obtain information on local conditions and to size up the attitude of the voters toward Kennedy and his opponent in the primary, U. S. Senator Hubert Humphrey. He said in his telecast that he was told Humphrey would carry Wayne County. Whether this is an accurate forecast will be determined by the election.

With Brinkley was an NBC camera crew which took a picture of cars crossing the Wayne bridge, and the sound effect this created formed a part of the telecast. Brinkley referred to the bridge as “the noisiest anywhere”.

Also shown on the national news program were various Wayne citizens, including Jennings Smith as he whittled on a bench on the court house lawn. A picture of the crowd at the meeting also was shown, including many county officials, local candidates and other citizens.

Brinkley referred to Wayne as a friendly but dusty town, on the edge of the “poverty-stricken” coal mining areas.

Some local citizens said that Wayne did not fare too badly under the searching eyes of the news analyst and his accompanying camera crew. Others said he played up the bad features and overlooked the town’s good points.

Meanwhile, Sen. Humphrey’s headquarters at Charleston announced the appointment of Curt Cyrus of Wayne as Humphrey campaign manager in Wayne County. Humphrey is scheduled to visit Wayne May 6.


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