Senator Hart, Governor Lamm, Congressman the Wirth, who's here somewhere, Mayor McNichols, Chairman Sheila Kowal, all of the distinguished Coloradans who are here:
I'm here in support of solar energy; I'm here in support of Colorado. But primarily tonight, I'm here in support of one of the great Senators of all time, Floyd Haskell.
It's an honor for me to come and visit your State again. I want to talk primarily tonight about a man who represents the finest aspect of America and American politics, a man who has a great deal of influence. There are not very many Members, even of the United States Senate, who could bring to Colorado the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Interior without even trying very hard.
We have now a need to understand the comparisons between the Western part of our country and the Eastern. I grew up in an area which understood very clearly the differences between the North and the South. Lately, since agriculture, water, energy, environment became crucial issues in our country, I've seen these divisions arising between the Western part of our country and the East. One solution that's been presented by Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski is to sell jet planes to both sides. [Laughter] But I think that we've got a better solution than that, and that is to elect and reelect to public office people who know what our Nation has been, know what its greatness is today, and to know how to make it even greater in the future.
This afternoon I met with a group of farmers who came to talk to me about Some of the problems that exist in American agriculture, that came to complain about some of the policies of our administration with which, I might say, Floyd Haskell disagrees. But one of the farmers said that the most important reason for us to have an acceptable program for American farmers is to keep in office a Democrat like Floyd Haskell who, as the farmer said, is a quiet man, a man of deep beliefs, a man of great political courage, a man who does his homework in Colorado and his legislative work built upon it in Washington, a man who is modest, a man who is effective, a man who has an inner strength and, more important of all, the farmer told me this afternoon, a man who knows and loves his fellow human beings.
Long before I was elected President, I knew about Floyd Haskell, because in the early days when public officials were beginning to become concerned about the war in Vietnam, there was a member of the State legislature named Floyd Haskell who, without publicity and without fanfare, said, "This is not right, I cannot abide it. And in my own individual way, I will do all I can to get our Nation out of a war which is sapping the strength and the commitment and the spirit of American people."
And because of that quiet demonstration of courage, as you well know, he appealed to the people of Colorado and, in an unexpected election result, he became a United States Senator who's carried that quiet courage to Washington to represent you, and I'm thankful for it.
He believes in peace through strength, not just military strength, which is important, but the strength of a character of American people.
When I began to speak out during the campaign for the ending of the spread of nuclear explosives throughout the world, nonproliferation, I discovered that Floyd Haskell was already in the forefront of Members of the Senate who were proposing legislation to prevent nonnuclear nations from having the ability to develop atomic weapons. And when I spoke out against an unfair, disgraceful tax system and called for decent basic tax reform when I got to Washington, I found out that many of my proposals which the Congress is now considering had long been espoused and supported—again you guessed it—by Floyd Haskell.
I've seen a resurgence throughout the world of interest in basic human rights. Again, this quiet, decent man has epitomized America's commitment for the world to see, of the preservation of innate human freedoms, an absence of political persecution, and the right of a person to live in a decent home, to have food to eat, an education for one's children, decent health care, and a right to develop as an individual.
Tonight I want to talk very briefly about another subject in which Senator Floyd Haskell has been a leader. One of the most important and difficult issues ever faced by the American Congress is that of establishing a comprehensive energy policy. Again, he is a leader, and he has singled out, as a special aspect of his interest, solar energy.
This has been derived by him, I know, from the people of Colorado. And he recognized very early that you experience here the blessing of 300 days of pure sunshine each year. Unfortunately, Floyd invited me to come to Colorado on one of the other 65. [Laughter]
He was on the committee in 1974 that established the concept of a solar energy research institute, not knowing at that time, but certainly hoping, that the nationwide headquarters for this effort would be in Colorado. And it's no accident that because of his good work as a leader of the Colorado delegation, that a package was put together with the help of Governor Lamm and others that made the decision to come to Golden, Colorado, based not on political influence, but based on the fact that you deserved it. And he made sure that Colorado deserved this honor.
We live in a great Nation and a fast changing world. My own background is in engineering and physics. I was one of the early students and workers in establishing the concept that atomic power could be used for peaceful purposes. But as Floyd Haskell has pointed out in some of his speeches, it's not exactly logical to have a nuclear core developing millions of degrees of heat, and temperature heating a cooling agent to thousands of degrees, to be transported hundreds of miles, to heat a house to 68 degrees. But that's what we do.
And the tremendous Government subsidy that must go into systems of this kind and extremely low efficiency of this kind of heat production has long been recognized by him and others as wasteful and incompatible with the hopes and ideals of American people.
We've got a nuclear generator, a nuclear powerplant that serves us well. It's one on which Coloradans would like to see the future energy technology built. It's in a safe place—92 million miles away-and the name of it is the Sun.
Well, I think it's accurate to say that no one is against solar energy. But a lot of Americans, a lot of people around the world don't believe that it's time yet for solar energy to be used.
I grew up on a farm in deep south Georgia. We derived our only mechanical power from the wind. We plowed our fields with mules and horses fed by crops grown from the Sun. When we were ready for harvest, we didn't use natural gas or propane or oil to dry our crops. It was dried by the Sun. And this was a common practice in agriculture and other industries of all kinds throughout our Nation and throughout the world, indeed, just a few decades ago.
But because of the extremely and artificially cheap fossil fuels, the use of solar power has become a system honored by disuse. It's been forgotten. But now that the price of oil, gas, coal, nuclear are going up rapidly and inevitably, the time has now come for the second solar age. And I believe today, Sun Day, in Colorado is a good time to launch this new commitment which I, myself, as President, will honor, working with people like Floyd Haskell, whom you've come to honor tonight.
In closing, let me say that it's not an accident that the first loan program to permit homeowners to purchase a solar system for their own places of residence was initiated by Floyd Haskell. It is no coincidence that when energy legislation was being prepared, the tax credits being expanded to include passive solar heating systems and wind power was pursued and introduced by Floyd Haskell.
It's no coincidence that for years, 5 years, in service in the Senate, a leading proponent and a constant battler for research funds for solar power was Floyd Haskell.
This proves to you that day by day, month by month, year by year, not just on election year, he has fought for and worked for the things that are important to the people of Colorado.
I'd like to add one adjective in addition to what the farmer mentioned this afternoon, and that is that he's strong and independent. When he disagrees with me as President, he never hides that disagreement from me or from the world. And I've benefited greatly as a new President, a new student of Washington political life, from the calm and sound advice and counsel and constructive criticism of my friend, Floyd Haskell.
In many ways, he's a national treasure, and I know that you've come here tonight to let your voice be added to many others in support of him. But I can tell you this: This is not going to be an easy election year for Floyd Haskell nor for other Democrats in this country. It's going to take more than a quiet expression of support at a very inexpensive fundraising event like this. It is going to take days of hard work and dedication, even sacrifice of your own time, your own effort, your own influence and your own finances. And I hope as he's worked and sacrificed for you for the last 5 years, that you will do the same thing for him during the next few months. If you do, Colorado will be blessed again and so will the United States of America.
Thank you very much.