The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Sharon, PA
October 15, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. I have been presented with this donkey by two young ladies down there for my daughter. My daughter has the greatest collection of donkeys. [Applause.] She doesn't even know what an elephant looks like. [Applause.] We are going to protect her from that knowledge, too. [Applause.]

I am delighted to be here with my friend and colleague in the Senate, who has fought for Pennsylvania and this country, with your distinguished Governor, the great sports columnist, Gov. David Lawrence [applause] with your congressional candidate, Chester Hampton, and your assembly candidates, and William Reagle and Harry Boyd, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Nixon has announced [response from the audience] - we are running a high level campaign - Mr. Nixon has announced that he proposes to spend the next 3 weeks talking about Quemoy and Matsu. I am delighted to do so. I am delighted to discuss this effort by a trigger-happy candidate to involve the United States in a commitment of these islands, 4 and 5 miles off the coast of China, a commitment which President Eisenhower never made in the treaty of 1955, and has not made until the present time. I am delighted to discuss it. But I would also like to turn the Vice President's attention to Pennsylvania, to Sharon, Pa. [Applause.]

I believe that the people of the United States would like to hear him discuss his views on an island not 4 miles off the coast of China, but 90 miles off the coast of the United States-Cuba. [Applause.]

But I also think he should talk about what his administration has done and plans to do for the people of Pennsylvania. [Applause.] And I can tell you what they have done so far. They add up to five words. The Republican Party has vetoed the needs of Pennsylvania, has vetoed Pennsylvania. [Applause.] Twice the Congress of the United States has passed legislation to aid areas where there is high unemployment. Senator Clark fought for the second bill, I was the floor manager for the first bill, the distressed area bill, the area redevelopment bill, and twice this administration vetoed that bill, which would have helped this county and would have helped Sharon. We passed two bills for housing and for urban renewal, which would have helped Pennsylvania. Twice this administration vetoed them. We passed a bill expanding our loans to colleges, for college dormitories and this administration vetoed it. We passed a bill to speed up cleansing our rivers and our streams, and this administration vetoed it.

The Republican administration vetoed a bill which the Congress passed which would have provided for research in the new uses of coal. But let's come right close to home here, to Sharon, to this town. In the public works bill last year the Democratic Party added the Sharpville Dam. This administration vetoed the bill, and we had to override their veto to meet this need, this protection against the floods. I want Mr. Nixon to come here and discuss these problems in this community, not 4 miles from Sharon. [Applause.]

I must say that all the time when this country fails to educate a boy or girl, fails to make it possible for that boy or girl to go to college and get an education, fails to clean our rivers, fails to find employment for our people, fails to find research for new uses for our old commodities, fails to move this State and country ahead, that administration has failed the country, and I must say that I cannot believe in this great industrial State of Pennsylvania, which has seen in the last 8 years a recession in 1954, a recession in 1958, and now, just 2 years later, a partial recession in this State, and across the country. Behind that sign up there [laughter] - behind that sign I hear that there is a slogan "Experience counts." Well, if you want experience which consists of opposition to basic programs, programs of $1.25 minimum wage, programs of housing, programs of industrial growth, programs of strength, programs of peace, then experience does count.

I have been in the Congress for 14 years. I arrived there the day Mr. Nixon did. I was on the Labor Committee with Mr. Nixon. I came to McKeesport, Pa., in 1947 to debate Mr. Nixon on the Taft-Hartley Act. He did not wear makeup on that occasion [laughter and applause] but regardless of whether the makeup is changed and the lighting is changed, Mr. Nixon remains the same for 14 years. He is still opposing, as he opposed in 1947, programs which serve the people, and in serving the people serve the cause of freedom. [Applause.]

I say as the standard bearer for the Democratic Party, as a member of a party which has produced Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and Governor Lawrence and Senator Clark, a party which believes in progress, we commit ourselves to a policy of full employment. [Applause.] We have to put this country back to work. If the United States is going to meet its commitments around the world, and I favor the United States meeting all of its commitments, if we are going to maintain in this country and around the world the cause of freedom, if we are going to defend ourselves and all those who look to us for help, we have to be strong, we have to be moving ahead here at home. We have to be developing our resources, we have to be educating our children. We have to be meeting the problems of our older citizens. We have to find jobs for our people, and I can assure you in 1960 if we are successful in this election, we will give this country leadership and the United States will start moving once again. Thank you. [Applause.]

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Sharon, PA", October 15, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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