Enthusiasm High As Demos Hear Talks By Ted Kennedy, McCormack
May 2, 1960
Enthusiasm High As Demos Hear Talks By Ted Kennedy, McCormack
"The eyes of the nation are truly on West Virginia and the fate of our country will be decided in small towns by people like you."
This was the thought-provoking statement made by Ted Kennedy, youngest brother of Presidential aspirant John F. Kennedy, to approximately 250 Democrats assembled at the Moose Home here on Friday night for a Party Rally and Fund-Raising dinner.
Kennedy was just one of many speakers on a program which featured Hon. Jown W. McCormack, House Majority Leader in the principal address of the evening. Speaking on behalf of Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, who is also seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination, was Gene Foley of Washington, who is Legal Counsel for the Senate Small Business Committee, and a brother of Rep. John Foley of Maryland.
Kennedy, in a dynamic speech which brought forth a standing ovation from the audience, pointed out that the most significant event in the country will take place within the next 10 days as the people of West Virginia decide on and vote for the man they feel most capable of holding the highest office in the land.
He pointed out that "Hubert Humphrey...my brother Jack's very close friend...cannot win the election, and cannot be President of the United States...
"Five Presidential primaries have been held so far," he said, "in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. In every one of those five, the Democratic party made a great showing."
Despite differences between the two candidates now, Kennedy said, the Democrats of our nation after May 10 must get behind one single candidate. "What the people of West Virginia want is a vigorous administration with new ideas and vitality...Richard Nixon will be a formidable oppponent and the Democrats need a strong candidate.
"My brother Jack knows your problems here in the Mountain State. He has traveled through many counties, he is interested in your welfare. If elected, he will be your spokesman in the White House...If defeated, Sen. Hubert Humphrey will not be the nominee from the party. It will be Lyndon Johnson or Stuart Symington who have not traveled here and do not know your problems.
"West Virginians, like you people here tonight, have the opportunity to name the Democratic nominee for President. It is my desire that you make the proper selection and that next November we will have a Democratic administration that exists on a county, state, and national level."
Ted Kennedy was pinch-hitting for his brother, Robert Kennedy, Chief Counsel for the Senate Rackets Investigation, who was detained in Bloomfield, Mo.
Foley, speaking for Sen. Hubert Humphrey, told the Democrats that West Virginia had been most generous to Minnesota by first giving them "Hot Rod" Hundley and more recently Jerry West to play with the Minneapolis Lakers so the people of his state wanted to return the favor by the best man they knew - Sen. Hubert Humphrey.
He commented on the important differences now existing between the two men seeking the nomination, commenting briefly on the issues of taxation and agriculture. "We must educate the people as to what these issues are," Foley said, "Explaining to them the platforms and principles of each candidate...We can accomplish our ultimate goal by working together."
Rep. Harley O. Staggers, of Keyser, running for re-election as Congressman from the 2nd District, introduced the main speaker of the evening, Hon. John McCormack, who charmed and delighted the audience with a speech that did not side openly with either candidate but proved the importance of party unity.
Staggers paid tribute to the women who are "proving to be a great deciding factor in elections and will continue to do so." He said he hoped that when the campaign is over "we can john forces in unison and march forward in the fold...we must work together for this great nation. We cannot afford to be divided.
"Our party is greater than any person," Staggers said, "and our nation is greater than any other country."
Introduced as "one of God's noblemen," McCormack in turn paid high tribute to Staggers as "the people's Congressman - a real progressor - one who undertakes to meet problems that arise but when he sees abuses or an injustice meets them by passage of appropriate legislation."
"One of the most important factors in the world of today is the strengthening of family life in America," McCormack said adding that "progressive legislation have provided this strengthening." He said it's a spirit we must have, a spirit that animates - intangibles, a state of mind.
He said he felt that the people of West Virginia would decide their presidential nominee in accordance with that spiritual intent, and letter of the constitution, and not let prejudicial or unimportant issue, enter their mind.
Blasting the Republican party, McCormack said that on many measures including social security, unemployment compensation, minimum wage law, and more recently the emergency housing bill the GOP cry of "socialism" was sounded. He gave actual figures to show how the two parties voted on the bills and cautioned the assembled group to keep its eyes open this week when a vote comes up on the Depressed Area Bill which means a lot to some sections, especially parts of West Virginia. "The bill means self-help to attract new industry, and remove the evil of unemployment," he said.
McCormack stressed it is vitally important to have a Democratic President in the White House for the next four years...we are faced with many problems in progressive legislation including minimum wage laws, hospitalization for the aged, and civil rights issues on which he spoke in detail.
"It takes people of all levels to realize we are entering the early stages of the Space Age...that a technical revolution is underway. These great changes have to be avenued to SERVE the people, otherwise they will be avenued to MASTER the people.
"This era has to be governed by human minds. Therefore we need someone with vision and courage to carry out our views - for it is not so much what we in the twilight of our years gain but what we have to pass on to the young people...to future generations. This can only be done through legislation, serving the people, lifting up, and building by the Democrats - the party of the people, the party of progress. Therefore, I see the next four years as the most important time in a long period of history."
Commenting on the threats promoted by the Communists, McCormack warned "the only level on which we can deal with them is on a level of law and self-preservation...firmness is the language they understand.."
He added that the Democratic program is "God Ahead." And this can only be done with a Democratic President and Democratic leadership in both houses. The means consistency, firmness, and certainty. We need leadership not only on the international field but also in the domestic front.
"The world and the life of the young people depend on the judgment, views, and courage of those entrusted with the responsibility. Vice-President Nixon is a victim of the Old Guard..." and what America "needs is progressive thought."
Charles A. Millar, a candidate for State Senator from the 16th Senatorial District and Chairman of the Mineral County Democratic Executive Committee, was toastmaster. He also introduced the various guests including the following local dandidates: H. G. Shores, for Judge; Leslie G. Sherman, House of Delegates; Paul Allamong and Joe Stanislawczyk, Sheriff; Mike Wenner, assessor; Luther Borror, County Commissioner; C. Reeves Taylor, Trosecuting Attorney; Guy Adams, Board of Education; and Mrs. Virginia Williams, of Romney, delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
Candidates for state office present were: John H. Kelly, Charleston, for State Treasurer; Wade H. Bronson, Jr., of Williamson, and C. Donald Robertson, Clarksburg, for Attorney General.
Rev. Kenneth G. Watkins, pastor of Grace Methodist Church, gave the invocation and Rev. Joseph W. Hirsch, pastor of the Church of the Assumption, offered the Benediction. Mrs. Ruby Daskall was piano accompanist for group singing.
The event was sponsored jointly through the efforts of the County Executive Committee and the Democratic Women's Club which recently merged into a single group and is now known as the Mineral County Democratic Club.
A special meeting of the organization has been called for tonight at 7:30 (DST) in the local Court House. Mrs. Virginia Williams will be the speaker.
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