Jerry Leonard, Staff Grady, and distinguished awardees:
Let me, at the outset, congratulate the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures and the awardees--one from Texas, one from Louisiana, and one from Wisconsin--plus the State Legislature of Iowa and John Gardner of Common Cause.
I think there is a greater awareness today--much more so than when I started my legislative career--that State legislatures perform an invaluable function, a more and more important function today than ever before.
There is an old saying that a house is as strong as its foundation. It seems to me that our government today--and I use it in the broadest sense--is strengthened by the firm foundation that State legislatures give to government throughout the whole United States.
I think if we look at history, we find that some of our basic freedoms originated in our earliest days from actions taken in the respective States. The Virginia action in 1776 set forth the basic freedoms that were subsequently incorporated in our own Constitution.
I, of course, in 25 years, had the opportunity of working in a legislative body and, as a result of that experience, had literally hundreds of opportunities to work with State legislators as well as legislatures. And it is my impression that the greater emphasis today on the importance, the essentiality of affirmative action at the State level is going to grow and grow and grow.
So, I congratulate not only the awardees but the people who are working to make the State legislatures a more vital part of our system of government, and I wish them well in the days and months and years ahead.
So, Staff and Jerry, I look forward to the participation in recognizing the individuals, in recognizing the State Legislature of Iowa for these commendations on this occasion.Note: The President spoke at 12:43 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
In his opening remarks, the President referred to Jerris Leonard, president of the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures, which sponsored the awards, and Stafford R. Grady, chairman of the conference's board of trustees.
Mr. Grady presented the conference's 1974 awards for legislative leadership to Price Daniel, Jr., former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, E. L. "Bubba" Henry, speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, and State Senator Robert p. Knowles, former president pro tempore of the Wisconsin Senate; for legislative improvement, to the Iowa State Legislature; and for the impetus it has provided for legislative reform in several States, to Common Cause.