Jimmy Carter photo

Secretary of Labor Remarks at the Swearing In of F. Ray Marshall.

January 27, 1977

The Chief Justice and I are getting to be old friends. We've done our Cabinet ceremonies in sequence, which has given me a very fine opportunity to participate on several occasions instead of just one.

As I said to the last group here, Ray, you have a very good judgment about publicity, wanting to be the only one, by yourself rather than as a group. [Laughter]

Ray has achieved a notable position for being the last Cabinet member to be confirmed. And I think, as Griffin Bell did yesterday in symbolizing his own administration by opening the steel doors, you can use a Bible verse that "The last shall be first." That's typical of what the Labor Department has to do.

I was quite interested in the attitude and competence and general thrust of the leader of the Labor Department.

One of the major responsibilities that I shall have as President, that the whole Nation has as a government, is to put our people back to work. I wanted someone who not only was a theoretician or a distinguished economist--which Ray Marshall is certainly capable of exhibiting-but I also wanted somebody who knows in practical terms the impact of unemployment on an individual human being or an individual family in our country.

Ray Marshall is the kind of person who knows about displaced persons. He is someone who knows at first hand about the minority groups. He is someone who knows at first hand about those who come into our country as undocumented workers, their problems and the problems that they create. He is someone who walks the streets and who visits construction sites in work clothes and with brogans on his feet.

He is someone who goes into a community ahead of time and tries to discern the sometimes limited employment capabilities of those who are without work and then in a very prescient way match that person with a future job potential.

He is someone who understands the proper interrelationship which ought to exist, and which does not now exist, between the graduates or potential graduates of colleges and high schools and vocational training programs, and jobs that wait to be filled, who can bridge the gap between the educational process in all its phases and the employment opportunities that confront our Nation.

He is someone who understands the problems of the young and the problems of the old. And he is also someone who has a special knowledge of the needs of the veterans of the recent war.

At noon today, the Secretary of Labor, Ray Marshall, will give the press a briefing on some special considerations that are important to us in the economic stimulation package which will address the unmet needs of the Vietnamese war veterans.

And I think that because of all these indications, that I've made in a fumbling way, of his own sensitivity and the humane commitment that he has to making the Department of Labor effective in its most noble purposes, he measures up in every respect in a superb degree.

I'm very proud that Ray Marshall has agreed to be Secretary of Labor. He's a man who will earn, I'm sure, the admiration and appreciation of our country.

At this time, I would like to welcome again, to participate in these important ceremonies, the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable Warren Burger.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chief Justice.

Note: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Following his remarks, Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger administered the oath of office.

Jimmy Carter, Secretary of Labor Remarks at the Swearing In of F. Ray Marshall. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243195

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