War On Poverty

Huntington Herald-Dispatch
April 25, 1964

President To Push Poverty War

Pledge To Wipe Out Joblessness Reaffirmed Here

Confers With 7 Governors At Airport

Chief Executive Returns To Capital After Whirlwind Tour
By Dick Leonard

President Johnson last night reaffirmed his pledge to wipe out poverty and unemployment in the land.

The chief executive made the pledge right before taking off from Tri-State Airport at 9:11 p. m. for Washington after a whirlwind helicopter tour of Eastern Kentucky and a 90-minuted closed-door conference on his war to end poverty with cabinet officials, aides and governors of the Appalachian area states.

The President told the gathering of about 3,000 people at the airport that he would send a message to Congress within a matter of days on a program designed to bring the nine-state Appalachian region out of the economic doldrums.

It was understood he planned to ask for legislation with a price tag of up to $250,000,000 for the opening salvo in his battle against poverty in Appalachia.

"This is one of the oldest and proudest regions in our land," the President said. "President Roosevelt talked of the one-third that were ill-clad and ill-fed and ill-housed. In 30 years of effort, we have brought that group down to one-fifth that are now in the poverty group...Won't it be a great blessing, won't it be a great achievement, won't it be a great satisfaction for you governors and the rest of you here tonight, to pass on to your children, to know that young Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. has been with us all day, trying to do something to move this one-fifth down to where it is one-tenth...

Visits Kentucky Family

Typical of the sights the President saw on his Eastern Kentucky tour was the home of Tom Fletcher near Inez, Ky. Fletcher, father of eight children, has been out of work for most of the last two years. Later year he earned less than $400 to support his family.

The presidential plane landed at Washington National Airport at 10:30 p. m. and the President and Mrs. Johnson left by car.

The President said the proposed Appalachian development program was approved by the governors of the various states.

"I have gone over it in some detail with them and I will have an announcement to make in a very few days concerning further implementing of that report or supplementing it."

The Appalachian development proposal would:

--Cost $4.5 billion over a five-year period.

--Help finance construction of 2,189 miles of highways to tie in with the interstate system, 500 miles of local access roads, and the Blue Ridge and Allegheny national parkways.

--Speed up construction of proposed federal dams, sewage treatment plant and pure water focilities [sic].

--Assist agriculture by helping farmers to acquire 9.5 million acres of pasture land to expand beef production. The federal share would be up to 80 per cent of costs.

--Develop timber by the expansion of research and the acceleration of the construction of access roads in national forests, which would be enlarged in West Virginia and Kentucky; also provide technical assistance to industry and encourage creation of timber development organizations.

--Help the coal industry through the expansion of research, the encouragement of foreign exports, the development of practical ways to minimize damages to land the streams from mining operations and to study ways to convert coal into electrical power for mid-Western and Eastern cities.

--Develop recreation by acquiring and building up outdoor recreation areas.

Despite the fact the President's party was running almost two hours late upon his return to Huntington, Mr. Johnson took time out to shake hands and otherwise greet those who had turned out to see him.

The departure from Tri-State Airport for the return to Washington marked the end of a long day which saw the President and his party participate in a whirlwind tour which began in Chicago, west on to Indiana and Pittsburgh, and thence to Huntington, Eastern Kentucky, and back to Huntington.

"I've never seen the President in a finer fettle than he has been today," remarked Commerce Secretary Hodges yesterday, as he lounged in the operations building of the 9226th Air Force Recovery Squadron at Huntington's Tri-State Airport.

Mr. Hodges, former governor of North Carolina, had accompanied the President here from Chicago. He was waiting to take a flight out of Tri-State to fill a speaking engagement in Alabama.

Meanwhile, his boss, President Johnson, along with other members of the presidential party, was off helicoptering into Eastern Kentucky for a personal look at poverty.

With Hodges, waiting patiently for the President's return here, were a number of governors from Appalachian area states.

There was tall Frank Clements of Tennessee, ready to give you a quote at a drop of a hat. And, handsome Carl E. Sanders, who looks more like a governor's aide. Then came Gov. Terry Sanford of North Carolina. He sat down and started munching on a ham sandwich on rye with mustard. Distinguished white-haired Gov. Albertis Harrison of Virginia arrived a little later and, like the rest, proclaimed the virtues of the Appalachian conference meeting here. Last to arrive was Maryland Gov. J. Millard Tawes. All had flown in on their state planes.

Gov. William Scranton of Pennsylvania couldn't make it, but sent Commerce Secretary John Tabor.

The governors, who were here, all agreed that sections of their states were in bad economic straits, and could use the help promised by a proposed Appalachian area development plan.

"We need access roads and some sort of a program to heal the bruises in the coal mining industry," said Pennsylvania's Tabor.

Georgia's Gov. Sanders said 15-20 North Georgian counties make up one of the most beautiful regions in the U. S. and development could bring tourism to that area.

Virginia's Gov. Harrison voiced the hope that the plan would help the coal industry, promote tourism and make the area attractive for new industry - all of which has been said many times about the Mountain State.

"I'm hoping some good things will come out of this meeting," Maryland's Gov. Tawes said. "The western part of Maryland would be greatly benefitted by a development program for the Appalachian area.

"I'm delighted to meet with the President," Tennessee's Frank Clements said. "This should be helpful to the entire region."

Commerce Secretary Hodges called the Appalachian development program "a laboratory example of the whole war on poverty."

Optimism, Happiness Prevail At Reception
By Bill Wild

Happiness, optimism and eagerness marked President Johnson's reception at Huntington yesterday. A crowd of 3,500 persons waited patiently for his arrival under a warm afternoon sun and shrieked and cheered when he arrived.

It was a continuation of an undepressed reception for the President and Mrs. Johnson on their tour of depressed Appalachia. They were almost literally mobbed at both South Bend, Ind., and Pittsburgh earlier in the day.

Only about 2,000 hardier souls greeted the presidential party at Tri-State Airport on its return from the helicopter swing to Eastern Kentucky. Schedule uncertainties and delays which piled up during the day kept the turnout down.

Hum Of Activity

The airport was well prepared for traffic jams both in the air and on the ground. As such events go, the presidential visit to Huntington's airport was well handled.

Early in the day little marked the coming excitement except for a bustle inside the terminal building. Some hours before special telephone and teletype connections had been set up with the White House. Beyond the wires there wasn't much to see.

By noon activity was beginning to step up on the surface. Airline schedules were changed as necessary to make way for the presidential priority. The only question was just when he would arrive.

By 1 p. m., when a few people started to clot around the fences and against rope barriers, word went around that the arrival would be delayed at least an hour, from 2:55 to 3:55 p. m. Rumors of various kinds made the rounds until the President's plane actually arrived at 3:50 p. m.

Protective Cordon

A dense crowd of Secret Service men, newsmen, politicians and staff assistants gathered around President and Mrs. Johnson as they stepped off the plane. The schedule called for them to go immediately to a Marine helicopter and leave for Kentucky.

The crowd pressing against nearby fences immediately switched that. Cameras were raised on high as the President walked slowly down the line grasping outstretched hands and smiling and nodding. If he said anything few heard it. Marine helicopters were warming up just a short distance away and the shriek of their engines made it almost impossible to hear anything but shouts. The Huntington High School band, blaring "Hail To The Chief," was all but drowned out in the din.

"Welcome to West Virginia LBJ" proclaimed one placard. "We'll Speed With You" said another. "Wecome You-All" signs embraced everyone on the tour.

Facilities for news coverage at the airport occupied a whole corner of the terminal lobby and won compliments of visiting newsmen. An impromptu flood - the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy in miniature - took place in the press section when an urn of coffee sustained a broken spigot.

The airport's facilities for feeding and watering the many visitors were quickly taxed beyond their limits in the afternoon. Two big urns of coffee, one of which caused the flood, plus sandwiches were furnished by the city at Mayor Garner's direction. W. G. Jefferson arranged for a more elaborate feast for the convenience of the visiting governors and their staffs.

Although temperatures were moderate, it was really hot in the afternoon out on the airport reception apron. When the President's tour came back from Kentucky, however, long shadows had already fallen and a chill wind sprang up.

Despite the increasing chill, plus the uncertainty of when President Johnson would deliver a direct personal greeting, the crowd was in a joyful mood. They were anxious to know many small details.

Hodges Off Early

Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges spent most of the afternoon at the airport and left just about sunset in a Lockheed Jetstar brought in to whisk him to a speaking engagement in Alabama. "Who was that?" people asked one another. "Wow! Look at that plane."

Airport Manager A. O. Cappadony said the Jetstar was the first pure jet passenger plane to land at Tri- State. It required just about half of the runway to land and take off.

By the time the President and seven governors had conferred in the 9226th Air Force Reserve Recovery Group administration building, the tour was a full two hours behind schedule. The people waited patiently for a chance to see the President close-up and perhaps shake his hand. Departure time was moved steadily back, from 6:40 to 7:40 p. m., from 7:40 to 8:40 p. m.

Mrs. David Farmer, 1022 Popular [sic] Street, Kenova, said her son, David, 10, shook hands with both LBJ and Lady Bird on their arrival. "He was too tired from that to come back out tonight, so here I am to try it," she said.

Labor On Scene

With her was Glenn Wilson, 1109 Walnut Avenue, Ashland, an old friend, and his daughter, Linda. He was at work earlier and decided it would be interesting to watch the evening events. Linda was hoping for a handshake.

Jack Streets, Lake View Heights, Huntington, said he was "just curious" so he went to the airport on his way home from work. He is employed at the Ashland Oil & Refining Co. plant at Leach.

Mr. and Mrs. Allen Nichols of Ironton said they wanted to see LBJ in person. Mr. Nichols, employed by the Armco Steel Corp. at Ashland, owns a plane stationed at Tri-state and combined the trip with some minor repair work on the craft.

Among the most faithful spectators were a group of men from the United Steelworkers of American [sic] in Huntington. Several had been enthusiastic signwavers in the afternoon. By suppertime they were ready again to greet the President. The delegation was headed by Harold Johnson, international representative. Others were Arnold Hensley, Thomas Gibson, James Sharkey, Romey Watson and Desmond Woods.

A Baby Democrat

Organized labor is for LBJ, at least that much. And so are organized youngsters. Mrs. Albert Lester, 302 Fourteenth Street, Kenova, said her sons Al, 10, Dale, 8, and Brian David, 18 months, "are all good Democrats. So am I."

She was accompanied by another loyal party member, Mrs. Jarrel Hill, 1102 Chestnut Street, Kenova, a school teacher at Prichard Elementary School. Mrs. Lester had been present earlier in the afternoon but had to leave before the President arrived. Mrs. Hill said she didn't get out of school in time for the first chance to see LBJ.

They said they were going to stick it out, even in the gathering chill, in hopes of getting a handshake.

William Riley, Federal Aviation Agency chief at the airport, said "Operation LBJ" went very smoothly except for the lack of aircraft parking space. There were also a few problems "but not much" caused by the shutdown of all air traffic just before, during and after the President's arrivals and departures.

Warm Touches

Only one regular commercial flight was delayed during the day and that for only 10 minutes, Mr. Riley said.

The airport employes, many called in for extra duty, were praised by Mr. Cappadony and spokemen for the President's staff.

As usual, there were many small touches along the presidential tour trial which left hearts a little warmer and made news of otherwise routine events.

At Pittsburgh the President twice ordered his motorcade to stop and he made surprise talks to happy nearby groups. One was a cluster of children on the front steps of a Roman Catholic elementary school. "I hope you enjoy the days of your youth," the President told them.

At the airport here he stopped for a moment beside Marine Sergeant William Torredoro of Quantico, Va., on helicopter duty for the tour. "It's good to see you again. Thanks for coming out," the President said. It had been two years since their first meeting.

Rough And Tumble

Although many of the strictest security precautions were discarded during the day, the President's bodyguards maintained a close watch on every shopping place. The burden of restrictions fell most heavily on reporters and cameramen.

Asked why the public often got closer to the President than the eager news media representatives, one White House staff representative said it was part of the security precautions. "You'll see what it means," he said, "when the White House press corps arrives with the President. The local press people don't know what it's like. Look out or you'll get elbowed or trampled to death."

Two Huntington Publishing Co. photographers said they were shoved by Secret Service men while trying to move in for pictures of the President on his handshaking jaunt. Possibly that's what happened, but it might have been a fellow member of the Fourth Estate more used to the ways of rough and tumble coverage of a President.

Boost to Morale, Governors Declare
By George B. Hanna
Associated Press Writer

President Johnson's visit to Appalachia to see conditions for himself should boost the morale of the people, the region's governors believe.

Gov. Carl Sanders of Georgia said the President's visit Friday to depressed eastern Kentucky also would help "by putting the spotlight on it."

Sanders and six other Appalachian governors conferred with Johnson after his trip to eastern Kentucky.

Other governors who met with the President were Terry Sanford of North Carolina; Frank Clement of Tennessee, Albertis S. Harrison Jr., of Virginia, J. Millard Tawes of Maryland, Edward T. Breathitt of Kentucky and W. W. Barron of West Virginia.

Barron, chairman of the Appalachian Governors Conference, said he would call a meeting of the governors after the President makes public his proposals for alleviating conditions in the depressed area.

Harrison commented, "maybe what we do in this area will become a pilot program for the rest of the nation."

Clement thought the meeting was "evidence of the cooperative effort by the President and the governors" in seeking a solution to Appalachia's problems.

Sanford said the President's trip showed his personal interest in problems of the region.

Tawes said, "we feel the western part of Maryland will be greatly benefited by an Appalachian program."

Gov. William Scranton of Pennsylvania was not at the meeting, but sent his secretary of commerce, John K. Tabor, with a statement that said the proposed Appalachian program does not go far enough.

The statement recommended the program be modified before legislation is presented to Congress "to provide enough money to solve coal-connected problems in Appalachia."

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