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John F. Kennedy: Remarks at a Rally in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
John F. Kennedy
451 - Remarks at a Rally in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
October 12, 1962
Public Papers of the Presidents
John F. Kennedy<br>1962
John F. Kennedy

United States
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Congressman Frank Clark, Dick Dilworth, Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen:

I come to this community not as a candidate for office, but I come here to this city, and district, and State, and country and ask the people of the United States, the people of Pennsylvania, the people of this district, the people of this city, to vote Democratic on November 6, 1962.

This election affects the security, the wellbeing, the opportunities, of everyone in this city or country. The Constitution of the United States makes it very clear that while it is the function of the President to execute the laws, it is the responsibility of the House and Senate to write them. And let me tell you something of what those laws would be like if we have a Republican majority in the House and Senate.
On our bill to provide a minimum wage of $1.25, $50 a week, 88 percent of the Republican Members of the House of Representatives in Washington voted against it--88 percent against a $50-a-week minimum wage.

On a bill to provide national standards for the payment of unemployment compensation, 90 percent of the Republicans in the Senate voted against it.

On a bill to provide medical care for the aged under social security, seven-eighths of the Republicans in the Senate voted against it.

This country has many responsibilities which it carries all around the world, but we cannot possibly carry them unless we are strong and vital and progressive here at home. A strong, free world begins here in this State, begins here in the United States, and we cannot have a strong United States if we sit still, if we have men who oppose every action which is of benefit to the people of this country. This State knows this well.

When I became President of the United States in January 1961, this State had one of the largest numbers of unemployed in the whole country, nearly 500,000 people. That unemployment has been cut by nearly 40 percent, but there are still many, too many, people out of work in this city and State.

Can you tell me how we can put them back to work if we have Congressmen and Senators and Governors who oppose all the pieces of social legislation so vital to our country in the same way that their fathers opposed it in the thirties, when Franklin Roosevelt was President of the United States.

That's why we come here and ask your support in reelecting a great Congressman who is the author of legislation providing for retraining and public works, a dozen different bills which benefit this country and State, and I know you're going to reelect Frank Clark. And I know you're going to reelect to the Senate, Senator Joseph Clark, who speaks for Pennsylvania and speaks for the country.

Senator Clark is the author of a bill to provide assistance to those parts of this State and other States where there is long-term, chronic unemployment. For 6 years in the last administration the bill stayed around. We passed it, and we passed that bill which helps the unemployed workers of this State with 81 percent of the Republicans voting against it.

How can the people of Pennsylvania who live with this problem in the coal mines and the steel mills--how can they support a party which opposes progress in 1962?

So I come here today and ask your help in electing men and women in this State and in this country who will serve the people, who believe in progress, who believe that the National Government has a responsibility. And therefore I'm confident that this State, as so often in the past, will elect men and women to the House and the Senate, and elect a distinguished Governor, Dick Dilworth, who can carry on and do the things that need to be done.

A marine in World War I, a marine at Guadalcanal in World War II, a district attorney, mayor of his city, he understands the problems of government, and I'm confident can make a distinguished Governor if you will give him your support on November 6th.

So I come here, talking about what may seem to be old political struggles, but these are the ways that this country can meet its responsibilities.

We had a bill before the House of Representatives a month ago. It was to provide assistance to higher education. That bill lost by 28 votes. Three-fourths of the Republicans voted against it. Education, medical care for the aged, job opportunities, equal rights--those are the things that this country stands for, and we can get those things only if we elect men who believe in them.

So I come today not as a candidate for office, but as one who, after 21 months as President, recognizes how important it is that this great country of ours be dynamic and progressive, and I ask your help in giving us men who believe in that great cause.
Thank you.

Note: The President spoke from a stand in the municipal parking lot in Aliquippa, Pa. His opening words referred to Frank M. Clark, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania; Richardson Dilworth, Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania; and Clarence Neisch, Mayor of Aliquippa. Later he also referred to U.S. Senator Joseph S. Clark of Pennsylvania.
Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Remarks at a Rally in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.," October 12, 1962. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=8949.
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