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Wyoming, Michigan Remarks to Area Residents.

October 24, 1980

It's good to be in Wyoming, a beautiful town. Thank you very much—[inaudible]—everybody. And I really wanted to have a chance to say just a word. It's sure fine to have—[inaudible]—here with me. How many of you would like to have Dale Sprik go to Congress next year? [Applause]

This is a wonderful occasion for me. I've just come here from New Jersey, where I had a chance to meet with a group, a large crowd like this group, to listen to questions that were important to private families. One of the great things about the Democratic Party—we've had the heritage from Franklin Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon Johnson and now to me—is to remember what has been accomplished in your life, when Democrats have pulled together-[inaudible]—of this Nation, both in the White House and and also in the Congress.

I remember having grown up on a farm in south Georgia. And under Franklin Roosevelt, during the Great Depression years, we got for ourselves a new life. At that time, there was no social security. The Democrats were for it; the Republicans were against it. As you know—[inaudible]—children, 9 and 10 years old, were working in sweatshops, and adults were working at a wage that couldn't support their own families. The Democrats put forward a minimum wage of 25 cents an hour; the Republicans were against it. My first job was when the minimum wage went up from 25 cents to 40 cents, when I finished high school in 1941. The Democrats got that bill through; the Republicans were against it. They didn't figure the working families were worth 25 cents and then 40 cents an hour. The Democrats have always had their confidence in, and have always had their hearts go out to the working families of this country.

This hasn't changed. There is still a great threat in my Republican opponent to those same principles. He says the minimum wage has caused more misery and more unemployment than anything since the Great Depression. And he also refers to people who are drawing unemployment compensation as having a prepaid vacation for freeloaders. Democrats have always understood that with changing times there are going to be people who want to work, who are eager for a job, but who are temporarily unemployed.

Also, as you well know, it's important that our Nation be kept strong militarily, and that's what we've done in the last 3 ¼ years. For 8 years before I came to the White House, we had a steady decrease in the Nation's commitment to a strong defense. It went down 37 percent. Seven years out of eight, we had lower budget allocations for a strong defense. But you all have to remember that it takes two wings on an airplane for it to fly. Not only must we be strong militarily—[inaudible]—use that strength to maintain peace. The best weapon is one that never has to be fired in anger, and the best soldier is one who never has to lay his' life down or shed his blood on a field of battle.

Let me make just one other comment to you. As you know, we don't have very long to go before November the 4th. I'll do the best I can. Dale Sprik will do the best he can. Fritz Mondale will do the best he can, to make sure that we preserve the principles of the Democratic Party and give a better life to the senior citizens, to those who are afflicted, to the working families of this country, to maintaining strong families, to keep our Nation strong, but at the same time to keep it at peace. Those are the kinds of issues that affect every one of you now and for the next 15 or 20 years. So, think on these things-what's best for your family, what's best for the people that you love.

We're going all out these next 6 or 7 days in preparing for the last few days before the election. There's no one listening to my voice who cannot contact at least 500 people in the next 8 or 10 days and urge them to vote for a better future for this great country and a better future for the citizens in it, who have benefited in the past from the heartfelt concern of Democrats. And we want to keep Republicans out of the Oval Office and out of the Congress for the next 40 years. Help me. We'll win together.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 7:40 p.m. outside the Wyoming Public Library.

Jimmy Carter, Wyoming, Michigan Remarks to Area Residents. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251622

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