Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1960

SENATOR KENNEDY: Governor, my friend and colleague, in the United States Senate, Joe Clark, and your able and distinguished Congressmen from this district, Congressman Frank Clark, who I know you are going to re-elect. (Applause) When I came to Washington to the United States Senate at first in January 1953, I brought down a number of young ladies from Boston, Massachusetts - when I came down in January, 1953, I brought a number of young ladies from Massachusetts to be secretaries. They all got married. One of them married a young man from this town. I would like to have you meet my former secretary, Jean McGonigle, now Mrs. Lannox of this community. (Applause)

Then I got a whole new set of girls and they got married. So if many of you girls feel the prospects are limited to this community, you come to Washington and work for Senator Clark and myself. (Applause)

Then I got married and then the whole office - we don't just tend to business down in Washington. I want you to understand that. (Laughter) I am delighted to come here this morning and to carry our Democratic campaign to this community. (Applause)

Mr. Nixon is out in Los Angeles, Mr. Lodge is in Pittsburgh. Mr. Lodge made a speech one day in the north pledging a Negro in the cabinet and the next day he said he had no right to make any pledges when he was down south. Mr. Nixon sent Senator Goldwater down south to talk about civil rights and say he does not mean anything by it, and then he sent Senator Scott to the north to assure the Negroes he is with them all the way.

The Democratic Party stands for one program and one platform, north and south, east and west. (Applause) I think Senator Scott, who has been traveling around the United States as a member of the Truth Squad of the Republican Party, should come home to Pennsylvania and look after his people and worry about the truth in this state. 500,000 people in the State of Pennsylvania get food packages from the Federal Government. Do you know what those packages consist of? Dried eggs, some rice, some corn meal, for a family of four people in this rich country. $6.25 a month, 5 cents a day per person, half a million people in the State of Pennsylvania. And the administration, Mr. Nixon, runs on a slogan of "You never had it so good."

I want him to run on that slogan in Pennsylvania. I want him to tell the people in this area, where there is over 9 per cent of the people out of work, a quarter of them for more than 15 weeks, I want him to come on that slogan of peace and prosperity. (Applause)

People of Pennsylvania and people of the country are not interested in deathbed conversion, election time commitments. They want a candidate and a party who stands on the issues day in and day out, year in and year out, as your Congressman does, your Senator does, and your Governor. There is not an old Governor Lawrence and a new one, like there is an old and a new Mr. Nixon. There is a Democrat who stands for the Democratic Party and the things for which the Democratic Party stands. (Applause)

The Democratic Party's candidates in this century never ran on slogans like Stand Pat with McKinley, Return to Normalcy with Harding, Keep Cool with Coolidge, Two Chickens in Every Pot with Hoover. (Laughter) I don't know what Dewey's slogan was because he never worked it out. (Laughter) We know what Truman's slogan is. But there are children in the audience, as the Vice President would say. (Laughter) Our slogans have meaning. Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Harry Truman's Fair Deal, and today we stand on the threshold of a New Frontier, for all Americans. (Applause)

We commit ourselves to a minimum wage of $1.25 an hour. We commit ourselves to medical care for the aged tied to social security, which has worked for 25 years. (Applause) We commit ourselves to a fight against the problems as suggested by automation. I spent a month running in the primary in West Virginia. You have seen it in Pennsylvania, a machine comes in, it takes the job of ten men. What happens to those ten men? Where do they go to work? They may be 45, they may be 50. They may have worked in a steel mill or in a coal mine. Where do they get a job in the United States when there are more than four and a half million people out of work? Too young to retire, too young to die, too old to work, and this administration has never discussed the problem of automation. I believe the President of the United States in January, 1961, should recognize this as a national problem and in every basic industry set up committees of labor, management and the government. (Applause)

I do not suggest these problems are new. Those of you who work in this area know the steel industry. We are going 50 per cent of capacity, and yet we are producing almost as much steel as we did six years ago. So great has our capacity increased, and yet we are employing less people than we did five years ago.

What is happening in coal, steel, paper, pottery, printing - name it. It is going to happen in every industry across the United States in the next ten years. Machines are coming in. I visited factories in recent weeks where three or four men - a tremendous factory over an acre, all machines. This is a problem which is going to face this rich country of ours. It is the kind of problem which is new, different. It is the kind of problem that is difficult of solution, but it is the kind of problem that the Republicans never think about. They have never concerned themselves in the last 25 years with the problems of employment, of social security, of housing, of minimum wage, of social justice, of equality of treatment, of aid to education, of a stronger and better America, to which we are committed.

So I come here to Pennsylvania, a state which as not gone Democratic in a Presidential election for 20 years, and I come here and ask your help in this campaign. (Applause) The United States Senate is going to be Democratic. If we lost every Senate seat this year the Democrats would still control the Senate. It would take the greatest landslide since 1952 for the House to be Republicans. So you are going to have the Senate Democratic and the House Democratic, and people are thinking of electing a Republican who stands in opposition to everything that the majority of the Democrats in the House and Senate stand for. And divide our country between the executive and the President and the Congress for four years, the most difficult four years in our history. If there was ever a formula for inaction, for standing still, for those Americans who don't want anything done, that is the solution. But for those Americans who recognize that this is the most dangerous time in the life of our country, that we must build our strength here, that we must develop our resources, that we must begin to move off dead center, then I ask you to join us in moving this country ahead, in giving this country new leadership (Applause)

During the American Constitutional Convention, there was behind the desk of General Washington a painting of a sun, low on the horizon, and many of the delegates wondered whether it was a rising sun or a setting sun. And at the conclusion, Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania, stood up. "We now know that because of what we have done here today it is a rising sun, and the beginning of a great new day."

I think in 1960, if we choose progress, it can be a rising sun for this country and the beginning of a great new day. Thank you. (Applause)

Source: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files, Box 913, "Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, 15 October 1960." John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.