Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: May 15, 1967

222
Remarks in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at the New England Governors Conference.
May 15, 1967

I CAN think of no more fitting place to talk about the problems and opportunities of self-government than New England.

This is where it all began in America-the idea that free men should order their own affairs, that government should be their servant, not their master.

From the Massachusetts Bay Colony-from the constitutional debates of 1787 to this day—New Englanders have wrestled with questions of liberty and order, of local autonomy and national needs.

Those questions were just as meaningful for our great-grandfathers as they are for us today. Finding a way to preserve hometown democracy and still answer the concerns of an expanding nation was just as important in 1830 as it is now.

Only the problems are different—so much greater in quantity, so much more complex in character. Certainly we need the advice of political scientists and technicians if we are to meet them; but we need more than that.

We need the devoted and single-minded attention of those who have been elected to lead their people—the Governors, the State legislators, the mayors and city councils.

We need, too, understanding and responsive Federal officials, who realize that neither Federal dollars nor Federal directives alone can meet the needs of our communities. And those needs are urgent:

—31 million Americans still living in poverty.

—millions of children still suffering from poor education and poorer diets.

—great urban areas that are eyesores to look at and misery to inhabit.

—air that is heavy with poisons, lakes and streams that are ruined by refuse.

The Federal Government has acted to meet each of these needs, and this year we are asking Congress to give us still stronger tools—to make good on the promises we have made and the hopes we have aroused in the decade of the sixties.

Much of what we are trying to do can only be done through your governments-through the States and cities. One look at the history of grants-in-aid shows what has happened.

—in 1920, Federal grants-in-aid totaled only about $30 million.

—this year they will reach $15 billion-500 times as much as then. How is this money being used? What are the problems we are encountering between Federal and State Governments in managing these vast sums? How do those problems affect the children, the mothers and fathers, the homeowners and university students and older citizens we are trying to serve?

We are not engaged in an abstract lesson in political science. We are trying to improve lives. We will not be graded on the neatness of our organizational charts—but on the health and happiness of our people.

We cannot say, "These are State problems, and none of Washington’s business." Or, "The States cannot do this job; let the Federal Government do it." We must find out what we must do together—and how we can do it most effectively.

Governor Bryant has been traveling about the country seeking answers to those questions. He has had with him a team of officials who are versed in the Federal programsthat bear on the problems of the States. They have already visited 31 States—and they have learned a great deal.

Now they have come to that beautiful part of America where the first town meetings were held—where Americans first learned to put government to work for them. I am glad that I have been invited to sit in with Governor Bryant and the leaders of New England during this meeting. I look forward to sharing ideas with them, and working with them to make the system that began here capable of meeting the problems of today’s America.

NOTE: The conference was held at Bradley Field, near Windsor Locks, Conn. Attending were Governors John N. Dempsey of Connecticut, Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine, John A. Volpe of Massachusetts, John W. King of New Hampshire, John H. Chafee of Rhode Island, and Philip H. Hoff of Vermont, and Farris Bryant, Director of the Office of Emergency Planning and former Governor of Florida. The President met privately with the Governors and then participated with them in a briefing for the press (see Item 223).

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "222 Remarks in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at the New England Governors Conference.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1196 532. Original Sources, accessed September 20, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CQLR91FDU64Q9WZ.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "222 Remarks in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at the New England Governors Conference." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1196, page 532. Original Sources. 20 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CQLR91FDU64Q9WZ.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '222 Remarks in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at the New England Governors Conference.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1196, pp.532. Original Sources, retrieved 20 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CQLR91FDU64Q9WZ.