John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Area Redevelopment Act

May 01, 1961

I want to express my great pleasure in signing this bill, which has been before the Congress and before the people for many years. It passed both the House and Senate on several occasions, and it is a great satisfaction now to have it finally signed into law.

This bill will help make it possible for thousands of Americans who want to work, to work. It will be of special help to those areas which have been subjected to chronic unemployment for many months, and in some cases for many years.

In this free society we want to make it possible for everyone to find a job who wants to work and support their families, and this bill is an important step in that direction.

This bill has become law because of the devoted efforts of a number of Members of the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, who have persevered at times against obstacles--substantial obstacles. And as a result of their efforts we now see it become law.

I want to commend the Members of the House and Senate who've been identified with this issue for a number of years--and they surround me here on both sides. I want to congratulate them and to say that there's no piece of legislation which has been passed which gives me greater satisfaction to sign.

I want to announce that the Secretary of Commerce, in whose Department the responsibility is placed, is going right to work now in organizing this matter.

And I want to announce the appointment of William Batt of Pennsylvania, who has probably more experience in working in this matter than any other American--who has been working in the State of Pennsylvania on the same subject, who was a member of Senator Douglas' task force in the investigation of the problem in West Virginia, who is very familiar with the problems in Eastern Kentucky, Southern Illinois, and parts of Ohio. So that he will take on the responsibility of administering this act.

I think we are fortunate to have him, and glad he is with us today.

Note: The Area Redevelopment Act is Public Law 87-27 (75 Stat. 47).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing the Area Redevelopment Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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