Statement by the President on His Intention To Nominate Walter E. Washington and Thomas W. Fletcher as Commissioner of the District of Columbia and Assistant to the Commissioner.
THREE WEEKS AGO Congress approved a reorganization plan to bring modern government to the Nation's Capital.
Even this new system can be only as strong and fair as the men who will lead it. That is why, for the last 3 weeks, I have engaged in an intensive search throughout the Nation to find the very best city executives for the posts of D.C. Commissioner and Assistant to the Commissioner.
In that search, we have reviewed literally hundreds of names and records.
Today, our search for a new D.C. Commissioner has come to a happy end.
First, we have found a man who can provide the leadership, the vision, the understanding, and the talent to move the Capital City forward--steadily and surely. We have found a man who will be a strong and authentic voice for the people of the District. His name is Walter Edward Washington. I am sending his nomination to the Senate as soon as it reconvenes. I hope that it will receive speedy and favorable consideration.
Waiter Washington's adult life and his distinguished career have been spent in this city. He makes his home here. He is a graduate of Howard University and attended the American University in Washington. He has been a fighter for effective government in the Nation's Capital. He knows the people of this city--because he is one of them.
The summary of the jobs he has held is an exciting story of commitment to the public service and the public good.
He is a distinguished lawyer.
He is a nationally famous specialist and innovator in urban problems.
After joining the National Capital Housing Authority in 1941, he rose through the ranks to become its Director in 1961. He held that post for 5 eventful years.
There he won the respect of his fellow citizens--not only in Washington but from urban experts throughout the Nation.
A year ago, Walter Washington went to New York to take the job as chairman of the New York City Housing Authority.
Now Mr. Washington has expressed his desire to come back home to lead his city in the job of first responsibility to the 800,000 citizens of the District.
He will be ably assisted by Mr. Thomas William Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher is now Deputy Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Throughout his career, Tom Fletcher has been a leader in city government.
Over the past 15 years, he has been a city administrator--one of the best in the business.
In 5 productive years as city manager of San Diego, California--from 1961 to 1966--Tom Fletcher won a national reputation as one of America's outstanding city executives.
There, he pioneered the most advanced city management-budgeting techniques. These have served as a model for other cities. He is an expert fiscal planner.
Tom Fletcher has earned the high praise and strong endorsements of the leaders of the Nation's top municipal organizations: the National League of Cities, the International City Managers Association, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
He is an innovator. He is experienced, highly respected, and eminently qualified for his new job. He is a man who can make government work for the good of the people it serves.
In a special way, the problems of the Nation's first city are also the problems of the Nation. No men in any other public jobs face more exciting or exacting challenges than this new team of leaders for Washington.
We believe we have found the right men for the right jobs at the right time.
Note: The President also spoke briefly to reporters on the nominations. His remarks are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 3, P. 1255).
See also Items 341 and 406.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President on His Intention To Nominate Walter E. Washington and Thomas W. Fletcher as Commissioner of the District of Columbia and Assistant to the Commissioner. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237783