Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Arrival in Charleston, W. Va., on Beginning a Trip in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

September 03, 1966

Governor Smith, Senator Randolph, Senator Byrd, Congressman Slack, Members of the Congress who do me the great honor of coming with me today, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Secretary of State, ladies and gentlemen:

Mrs. Johnson and I appreciate so very much your coming here and giving us this warm welcome in the great State of West Virginia.

For many years in my public life I have been coming to West Virginia. And I never come here but what I am glad to be here. I never go away but what I am sorry to leave.

You are a hospitable people; you are a friendly State; you are up and coming, and you are on the move.

You have great leadership in your statehouse. There is no delegation in Washington that commands more respect or more influence than the delegation that is headed by Senator Randolph, Congressman Slack, Senator Byrd, and the other members of your great West Virginia delegation in the Congress.

When I came here 6 years ago, your State--entire regions of it--was in the grips of a depression that was unequaled to anything since 1930. There was unemployment everywhere. There was hunger in a good many places. There was hopelessness. There was a great deal of despair.

So we dedicated ourselves then to a new day of opportunity for all the people of West Virginia.

And working together with your State Government, your Federal Government, your local governments, a blueprint of action was mapped. Together we built new roads. We have the Chairman of the Public Works Committee that is responsible for roads, Senator Randolph, here with us. He went on that committee because he knew this State needed roads. And it is getting roads.

We dredged your streams and built your dams--and we are going to dedicate one of the great ones today. Together we improved the schools and we developed new tourist facilities.

We modernized our hospitals. We saw that our poor were fed. We tried to bring in new industry.

Since 1960, unemployment in West Virginia has gone from 17 percent down to less than 7 percent. While unemployment was going down, our average weekly factory wage was going up, from $93 to now more than $114. Per capita income increased 27 percent. Your work force today is increasing for the first time in many years.

In the past year your auto sales were up 10 percent. Your retail sales were up 9 percent.

Now we know that there is still much to be done, but we know that we are no longer starting from the bottom. We are now starting from a great record of accomplishment.

Much of that record was written by you in the State of West Virginia when you supported John F. Kennedy for the Presidency in 1960, and when you selected, with your leadership in the statehouse and the White House, a delegation from West Virginia that gets the job done.

I am proud to come here today and attest to that.

We will build you not promises, but we put it there in concrete and steel. You see things going forward in this State. You see things getting done. We are on the move. We are on the go. People are working. People are eating. They have high hopes. Their schools are being improved. Their hospitals are being improved.

We are doing what a democratic President, a democratic government, ought to do for a democratic people.

There is much to be done in the days ahead, but with men and women and boys and girls like you wanting to see it done, ready to support us in doing it, we will get the job done.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:27 a.m. at the Charleston, W. Va., airport, after which Mrs. Johnson spoke briefly. His opening words referred to Governor Hulett Smith, Senator Jennings Randolph, Senator Robert C. Byrd, Representative John M. Slack, Jr., and Mayor John A. Shanklin of Charleston, all of West Virginia, and Robert D. Bailey, the Secretary of State of West Virginia.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Arrival in Charleston, W. Va., on Beginning a Trip in West Virginia and Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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