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Welch Daily News
May 4, 1960

Machines Displacing Men Big Problem, Says Kennedy

By Angelene Battlo

If U. S. Senator John Kennedy had any doubts as to how he will fare in McDowell County on May 10, they were dispelled at the courthouse here last night.

Resuming his West Virginia campaign for the presidential nomination after a two-day break, the Massachusetts Democrat delivered a brief address in the courtroom before an overflow crowd of between 1,000 and 1,200 admirers. The reception given him was one of the warmest and most enthusiastic ever accorded a candidate.

An estimated 700 persons filled the courtroom, the remaining spectators spilling out onto the hallways and lawn.

Coal Problems

Still nursing the sore throat that has troubled him for nearly a week, Kennedy in a ten minute talk discussed the problems of the coal industry in McDowell county and again stressed the importance of the May 10 West Virginia primary.

One of the big problems of the next administration will be what "to do with men when machines have thrown them out of work," he told the crowd.

The senator said that unless steps are taken to solve the problem of men displaced by automation, "what has happened here in West Virginia is going to happen all across the country."

Kennedy asserted that the problem is illustrated by the fact that even though McDowell County has thousands of unemployed, its mines are turning out more coal than they did twenty years ago. He referred to the situation as only "a cloud on the horizon" compared to what may be in prospect in many other industries in the next decade unless the Government can develop policies to solve the problem of automation.

Making his third appearance in Welch since May, 1959, the Massachusetts Senator pointed out that he came here the first time to help the Democrats in a fund-raising campaign.

"Now I come back to ask you to help me," he told his fellow party members. "Then if I am successful in gaining the presidency, I will be in a position, I hope, to help you.

"A year ago," he continued, "I had no idea I would enter the West Virginia primary. I am delighted that I am running in West Virginia. I would not possibly get out of it, even if given the opportunity. I think any aspirant ought to come to Welch and to West Virginia. I have been in Welch three times. No other presidential candidate can make that statement. I wish the President of the United States would take the Vice President by the hand and lead him into McDowell County. The office of President is the key office. Here in West Virginia on May 10, you can very well make a decision which will affect the office of President. The presidency is the key office for the State of West Virginia, for my own state, for the entire United States and for the free world.”

The aspirant for the nation’s highest office told the gathering that “I am delighted to submit my political fate to the people of West Virginia…Win or lose it has been a great opportunity…”

Brother With Him

The s[en]ator was accompanied here by his youngest brother, Ted, who, as he did last weekend, took over some of the speech making. He argued for the preferential primary such as West Virginia is having in the selection of presidential nominees.

“Jack believes very strongly that the people themselves should have a voice as to who the Democratic nominee is going to be,” Ted Kennedy said, adding:

“This is the key primary…It is going to be decided in West Virginia. What happens here in the next seven days is going to be crucial, it is going to be a deciding vote. I am confident the people are going to continue the tradition started in Massachusetts in 1947 and my brother made the same commitments in Massachusetts then that he is making here in West Virginia today.

“I am confident,” the younger Kennedy continued, “the state of West Virginia is going to continue that trend. If he is blocked here, you are going to be supporting a Democratic candidate next fall whose only contact with West Virginia will be when he visits Charleston next Fall, or through radio and television. This is the opportunity to nominate someone who can start the band wagon going, achieve the nomination and put a Democrat in the White House.”

Senator Kennedy was introduced by Sidney L. Christie, secretary of the McDowell County Democratic Executive Committee. Of Kennedy, the secretary said:

“He has vision. He has indomitable courage, he has all the qualities of a great leader.” Christie asked that the candidacy of Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, “be judged on its merits, not on the basis of bigotry and intolerance.”

Party Chairman B. M. Stone presided and the invocation was given by Mrs. Elizabeth Drewry, member of the House of Delegates from McDowell county.

Following the rally, Kennedy stood in the doorway to shake hands with those who had come to hear him. Later, he was honor guest at a private reception held in the Appalachian Community room.


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