The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Excerpts from the Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN - (Advance Release Text)
October 2, 1960

Mr. Nixon has said that his goals and mine are the same - that we only differ as to means.

But our goals are not the same. I want a $1.25 an hour minimum wage, medical care for the aged through social security, Federal aid to help raise teachers salaries as well as schools, an adequate program of slum clearance and low-rent housing, and a program of aid to areas of chronic unemployment which would include northern Minnesota.

These are my goals. But they are not Mr. Nixon's goals. They are not the goals of his party, and Mr. Nixon and his party have opposed and killed every one of these programs.

And their opposition - an opposition born of indifference to the urgent needs of the American people - has helped transform the Duluth-Superior area into a section of declining income, and increasing unemployment.

But northern Minnesota has not been the only area to suffer. This Nation today has more than 126 areas of substantial unemployment - almost 4 million Americans out of work - and 1 out of every 10 Americans struggle to support themselves and their families without any job, or with only part-time work. If your mining areas are depressed - it is because mining areas all over the Nation are depressed - and our vital steel industry is being allowed to operate at barely 50 percent of capacity.

If your farmers are losing income - it is because farmers everywhere are losing income.

If your economy has stopped growing - it is because America's economy has virtually come to a halt.

If the strength and vitality of northern Minnesota are in danger - it is because the strength and vitality of America are in danger.

For your problems are America's problems and the worlds problems - and the party that has not helped you will not be able to help America, or the world.

Twice a Democratic Congress has passed legislation to bring relief to areas of chronic unemployment such as Duluth-Superior. Our bill would have provided long term development loans and technical assistance to help develop the industry and business which would bring new jobs and increased income to your people. In short, this bill would have done for hard-hit areas of America what we are now doing through development assistance programs for hard-hit areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But each time this bill was passed, it was vetoed by the Republican Party - with Mr. Nixon leading the fight for the veto. And for a comprehensive Democratic program the Republicans substituted their own bill - a bill which would have helped no one. A bill better calculated to bring votes instead of jobs - and a bill under which Duluth-Superior would not have qualified for any aid at all.

But in 1961, a Democratic Congress will again pass a bill bringing help to northern Minnesota and to the other depressed areas of the country.

And here - today - in the heart of Minnesota - I pledge myself to sign that bill.

For while Mr. Nixon's goal has been to refuse to help you - my goal is to give you the help you need to put your great port - your rich mines - and your vigorous and determined people back in the service of American greatness and American strength.

For America cannot afford to continue to waste her resources and the skills of her people. The implacable Communist drive toward world domination now reaches to within 90 miles of our shores - on the once - friendly island of Cuba - and communism is on the march in Asia, and Africa and the Near East. In the face of such power and determination we cannot afford to falter or lag behind. For only a strong America - an America with a rapidly growing economy where all who want to work can find work - can summon the strength and the will which is vital if freedom and peace are to triumph.

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Excerpts from the Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN - (Advance Release Text)", October 2, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25917.
 
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