Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bills Providing Salary Increases for Teachers, Police, and Firemen in the District of Columbia

May 27, 1968

Mayor Washington, Chairman Hechinger, Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen:

Public order and public education--these are the crucial concerns of any society. They are at the heart of the laws that I sign today for the Nation's Capital.

This legislation does not set forth any new theories. It deals with a real-life problem. It deals with a bread-and-butter issue for most of our valued public servants. It provides higher pay for the teacher in the classroom, the policeman on the beat who guards the safety of our families and homes, and the fireman who is called upon to answer the midnight bell.

These are the men and women who serve and who sustain our community. They should not be forced to live on the margin.

Last March, Mayor Washington and I asked the Congress to raise their salaries. Now the Congress has responded. As a result, beginning July 1, the starting teachers in the District schools will earn $7,000 a year. This will move the District all the way from 15th place to 3d place among the Nation's larger cities.

Beginning July 1, the police rookie and the new fireman will earn $8,000 a year. This moves the District from 11th to 3d place in the Nation.

The needs of all the Nation's cities are highlighted and magnified here at the seat of the National Government. The agenda is heavy, but every hour of every day I try to work on it some---on the schools, on the jobs, on the homes, on the opportunities, on the safe streets for all the people.

The police of Washington have always shown the face of responsibility in an hour of danger and crisis. True, they are a small force. But they have responded magnificently.

The Mayor has recommended to me that their ranks be increased by 1,000, to a total of 4,100. I have asked the Mayor to submit to the Congress as rapidly as possible a proposal to carry this forward.

I have made no secret whatever of my hopes for this great and beautiful city. I want to see this community the pride of our democracy-in its schools, in its neighborhoods, in the lives of all of its people.

Washington, D.C., has been my home for all the years of my public life. I have been proud to work with the men of good will and vision--work with them in the community and in the Congress--to try to advance the city's future.
The good day will come when all our hopes will be achieved--of that I am certain. The work we do today is just another small step and just another part of that great effort that is so necessary for all of us to make in the days ahead.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:09 p.m. in the Fish Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Walter E. Washington, Commissioner of the District of Columbia, and John W. Hechinger, Chairman of the District of Columbia Council.

As enacted, the District of Columbia Teachers' Salary Act Amendments of 1968 (H.R. 16409) is Public Law 90-319 (82 Stat. 132), and the District of Columbia Police and Firemen's Salary Amendments of 1968 (H.R. 15131) is Public Law 90-320 (82 Stat. 140).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bills Providing Salary Increases for Teachers, Police, and Firemen in the District of Columbia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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