This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. One draft of the speech exists in the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers at the John F. Kennedy Library. Page images of the draft can be found here.
The most urgent and critical need of the people of Washington County - and of all people of Western Maryland - is the need to attract new industry - new jobs and new incomes - to your area. Today more than 12% of the total labor force of Washington County - almost 5,000 men - is unemployed. The only way to put these men back to work - to restore prosperity to Western Maryland - is through a creative and dynamic program of industrial development.
And there are few places in Maryland better suited to industrial development than Washington County. You have some of the best located and most attractive business sites in the world. You have a strong, determined and skilled people - people who want to work, are willing to work, and should be given the chance to work. You are situated within easy reach of America's most important markets. And you have the resources - the human resources and the material resources - which new industry demands. All you need in order to begin a vital, new industrial boom in Washington County is a little help and a little understanding from Washington.
The Democratic Party has offered you this help and understanding. We have proposed and enacted legislation in Congress to help stimulate new jobs and new industry in Washington County, and the many other hard-hit areas of this country - legislation which will restore prosperity and hope to your county - a bill which provides long-term loans, technical assistance, help in building roads and water supplies, and all the other essential prerequisites of economic growth.
This bill - the Area Redevelopment Act - first passed the Senate in 1956 - when, as chairman of the Labor Subcommittee, I was privileged to serve as its floor-leader - but it died under Republican attacks in the House. Again in 1958 the bill passed the Senate, and then passed the House, only to be vetoed - vetoed without regard to the suffering and tragedy that fill the more than 100 distressed communities of heavy unemployment - vetoes by a Republican President and a Republican Administration.
And this year - in 1960 - a Democratic Congress has again passed depressed areas legislation - and again it is threatened with a veto. I hope the President will not veto this bill. He must not veto this bill. He must not again destroy the hope of millions of Americans for a chance to work and a chance to share in America's plenty. But if the President does veto this bill - if he again denies relief - I promise you that help will not be long in coming. For in 1961 - with a Democratic President in the White House, this legislation will become a reality. And in 1961 Washington County will begin the march back to prosperity and abundance for all its people.