Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Arrival at the Airport, Morgantown, West Virginia

October 26, 1968

Senator Randolph, Congressman Staggers, Mr. Sprouse, ladies and gentlemen:

I am glad to be back here tonight in West Virginia. It is just as I was telling my new granddaughter last night, I have been wanting to come back here for some time. I was thinking back to a few years ago as our plane was coming in here a moment ago, and I realized that it was just almost 5 years since I came through this area.

I was observing the great surge of economic progress and the great advances that you people of West Virginia have made in that period of time.

When we came here in 1960, your unemployment rate was 13 1/2 percent. I told you then that if we Democrats had anything to say about it, the people of West Virginia would get a fair chance, a fair shake, a decent chance at a decent wage at a decent job, a chance for education for their children, Medicare for their parents, and opportunity for good health and jobs for all.

You helped elect a Democratic administration, the people of West Virginia did, because you wanted to join that partnership of progress.

When I came back here in 1964, you still showed the scan of economic hard times. Unemployment had come from 13.5 to 10.3. One out of every 10 workers was still out of a job, but that was better than one out of every seven. So in 1964 I spoke of my faith and my hope in West Virginia. I asked for the help of your people and you gave it to me. You sent a Democratic administration to Washington with two great Democratic Senators, Senator Randolph and Senator Byrd, a great congressional delegation, with Chairman Harley Staggers and other good Democratic Congressmen, and together we enacted an Appalachia program, that along with education and job training and health has already made a big difference in this Nation and has made a big difference in this State.

We reduced unemployment from 13 to 10 and from 10 to 6.4. That is still too high, but we are still moving. Those are not just cold statistics. Behind every number there is a human being who tonight knows the dignity of bringing home a paycheck to his family in West Virginia.

Because of this progress, real per capita income in West Virginia--that means the average person's income, even adjusted for price increases--is up $430 per year since 1963, or Up 22 percent. That rate of increase, for the first time in decades, is greater than the national average. So West Virginia is moving on. West Virginia is catching up. West Virginia is moving ahead.

Now the question is, does West Virginia want to maintain this tide of progress and move on? Hubert Humphrey has promised to keep America and West Virginia prosperous. I believe he can do it.

If you will give him a chance, if you will give him a Democratic Congress, if you will give him a majority, if you will give him two good Senators like Jennings Randolph and Bob Byrd, and if you will send him a good Democratic delegation headed by Harley Staggers, we will keep on moving and we will keep West Virginia in the forefront of our progress.

Thank you and good night.

Note: The President spoke at 6:35 p.m. at the airport, Morgantown, W. Va. In his opening words he referred to Senator Jennings Randolph and Representative Harley O. Staggers, both of West Virginia, and James M. Sprouse, Democratic candidate for Governor of West Virginia. During his remarks the President referred to his granddaughter, Lucinda Desha Robb, who was born on October 25, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Democratic presidential candidate.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Arrival at the Airport, Morgantown, West Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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