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Excerpts from the Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy, Southern Illinois University Stadium, Carbondale, IL - (advance Release Text)

October 03, 1960

Four million men and women are unemployed today in the United States. Three million men are working short time and facing layoffs.

It is ridiculous that a Nation which is in a race for its life with Russia cannot find full-time use for the talents and energies of 7 million people.

We need the full-time services of all our people.

To defeat godless communism, we have a full-time job ahead in the world.

Here in southern Illinois 30,000 men and women are out of work and 60,000 people, mostly young people, have left this region in the last 10 years.

Yet this is a rich region and it can contribute mightily to America's strength.

This region's richest resource is its people. They don't want to leave here and they don't want handouts. What they do want is a chance to participate fully in our great national effort. What they do want is a chance to help themselves. And they deserve it.

I think something must be done about it by the Government. The United States has a vital stake in the strength and productivity of every region. And we Democrats know what to do.

I am proud to have been the floor leader in the Senate for the area redevelopment bill sponsored by your great Illinois Senator, Paul H. Douglas. We passed that bill in 1956 by a vote of 60 to 30 and 93 1/2 percent of the Democratic Senators voted for it and 63 percent of the Republican Senators voted against it.

That bill passed the Senate three times. It passed the House twice. And both times the Republicans vetoed it. At first the Republicans had no program at all. After the second vote, with an election year coming on, they submitted a token bill.

Now, in an election year, the Republicans are pretending that their token bill will provide more help than the Democratic bill. But if you read the fine print in the Republican contract you will see that it cuts the heart out of the program. It requires local sources to raise six or seven times the amount of money that the Federal Government will provide. And local money is precisely what cannot be raised.

This is an example of the Republican "bargain-basement" approach to economic problems. Mr. Nixon says he agrees with me on our goals for America but differs on the means to reach those goals. I say this is nonsense. The goal is meaningless if he refuses to take the only road that will reach it. And he won't take the only road that will reach the goal here in southern Illinois.

We have a good comprehensive program hammered out in years of work in the Senate. Our bill provides-

First, an adequate loan fund for new businesses in industrial redevelopment areas.

Second, an adequate loan fund for new industries in rural redevelopment areas.

Third, an adequate loan fund for public facilities to attract new industries into redevelopment areas.

Fourth, an adequate grant program for public facilities in the neediest areas.

Fifth, an adequate technical assistance program.

Sixth, vocational training and retraining, slum clearance and urban planning, realistic loan terms to cover machinery as well as land and buildings, independent agency administration, local participation and approval, protection against pirating of plants, and so on.

This is a rich land here in southern Illinois. We must make it serve the people. We must develop its natural resources to the fullest. We need the vision of your Congressman of the l930's, Kent Keller, who persuaded Franklin Roosevelt to create Crab Orchard Lake. The Republicans ridiculed it then; they called it Keller's Frog Pond. But today Carbondale draws its water from Crab Orchard Lake and Crab Orchard Lake has drawn industries with an $11 million payroll to southern Illinois.

You know what can be done. And you know it's time to do it..

Next year a Democratic Congress will pass a good area redevelopment bill. And if I am elected President I will work for the passage of that bill - and I will sign it, not veto it. And by next summer we'll be back in business here in southern Illinois.

Some years ago a Republican newspaper suggested that the solution to southern Illinois problems was a one-way railroad ticket out of southern Illinois. I have a better solution - with your votes write a one-way ticket to the Senate for Paul Douglas, write a one-way ticket to the Congress for Kenny Gray, and write a one-way ticket to the White House for a Democratic President.

John F. Kennedy, Excerpts from the Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy, Southern Illinois University Stadium, Carbondale, IL - (advance Release Text) Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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