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The Public Papers of Governor Edward T. Breathitt, 1963-1967

The Public Papers of Governor Edward T. Breathitt, 1963-1967

Kenneth E. Harrell Editor
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 632
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  • Book Info
    The Public Papers of Governor Edward T. Breathitt, 1963-1967
    Book Description:

    Edward Thompson Breathitt Jr. served as governor of Kentucky from December 12, 1967. The Breathitt administration was notable for its close ties with the national administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and with Johnson's Great Society programs. Governor Breathitt led successful campaigns for economic and industrial development, civil rights legislation, increased support for education, and expansion and improvement of the state highway and park systems. His most significant defeat was the rejection in 1966 of a new state constitution. His administration won several national awards, including: a Lincoln Key Award (1966) for leadership in the passage of civil rights legislation; Society of Industrial Investors' award (1964) for the best industrial development program; the Midwest Travel Writers Association award (1965) for the best travel promotion program; and the U.S. Department of Interior Distinguished Service Award (1967) for contributions in the field of conservation.

    Governor Breathitt's papers are of historical importance for the light they shed on one governor's attempts to mesh state and federal actions and to fit federal programming to the needs of his state.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5691-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. GOVERNOR EDWARD T. BREATHITT December 10, 1963, to December 12, 1967
    (pp. 1-4)

    Edward Thompson Breathitt, Jr., the only child of Edward Thompson and Mary Wallace Breathitt, was born November 26, 1924, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The Breathitt family had a long tradition of Kentucky political activity. A distant ancestor, John Breathitt, was elected governor in 1832; James Breathitt, Sr., Governor Breathitt’s grandfather, won election as attorney general in 1907; and James Breathitt, Jr., an uncle, was elected lieutenant governor in 1937.

    Breathitt was educated in the public schools of Hopkinsville. Following his graduation in 1942 he served three years in the United States Army Air Force. After the war he enrolled at the...

  6. INAUGURAL ADDRESS Frankfort / December 10, 1963
    (pp. 5-8)

    This is not a day of exultation. This is not a day of triumph. This is not a day of unseemly rejoicing. This is a day of soul-searching. This is a day of dedication. Such words, coming as they do from the depths of a full heart, would be true under all circumstances. They are even truer as we stand under a flag at half staff, taking to ourselves in gratitude and humility the wounds and scars of a fallen leader who, in the prime of a brave young manhood, laid down his life not merely for his country but...

    (pp. 9-72)

    I am pleased to be with you here today as you open the 1964 regular session of the General Assembly—a session that will have great bearing on the future course of our Commonwealth. First of all, it is gratifying to me that we function under a system of government that, although it separates the executive and legislative branches, provides opportunity for the chief executive to report to the legislature and to lay before both its houses his recommendations on needed law.

    This system—which provides separation, but allows and promotes cooperation—is the best ever devised, and I intend...

    (pp. 73-121)

    It is a pleasure to be here tonight to visit with leaders of one of Kentucky’s most progressive communities and one that holds such great promise for the future.¹ The growth of your area is among the fastest in the state. Your industry thrives. You are an important trading center for a large segment of Kentucky. You are among our state’s leaders in education and culture. Your farms are prosperous and productive. Your leadership is active and imaginative. Your landscape has great natural beauty and your streets and buildings are inviting. You live in a place that is a good...

    (pp. 122-165)

    This is one of many speaking appearances I expect to make during the four years of my administration to a group that has a primary concern for Kentucky agriculture and an ability to make a major contribution to it. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you this morning, not only because your invitation gives me a chance to be among many old friends but because it gives me a chance to enlist your support in a program that I hope will make a lasting impression on the farm economy of our state.¹

    It is a program that is designed...

    (pp. 166-205)

    Adequate transportation is a cornerstone of any thriving, progressive society; and the people of the United States and other nations of the civilized world are, as they become more mobile, growing increasingly dependent on modern, safe systems of highways. Every state in the United States, every city and every county in every state spends a substantial portion of its income to build and maintain good highways and streets. Every family and every business is affected by the social and economic ramifications of our expanding highway systems and most contribute monetarily to their building and their upkeep. Linked inextricably with the...

    (pp. 206-234)

    The Declaration of Independence 188 years ago set forth what we as Americans believe: that every man, woman, and child in this country has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One-fifth of our population, however, is, in effect, barred from this pursuit by poverty. The abundance, the comforts, the opportunities they see all around them are beyond their reach and their children’s reach.

    Here in Kentucky, our Appalachian counties are tightly bound by the chains of isolation, poverty, and inaccessibility. The problems of eastern Kentucky, like so many of Kentucky’s other problems, point to the fact...

    (pp. 235-260)

    This beautiful new lodge is a welcome addition to Kentucky’s park system. It is a credit to the people of Kentucky. It is one more piece of evidence that Kentucky has the nation’s outstanding state parks. New Hemlock Lodge is also a fitting and lasting tribute to the vision and the diligence of Bert Combs and to his administration of the affairs of Kentucky. While honoring Governor Combs, this building also honors those who were members of his state parks board—Henry Ward, John Ed Pearce, Herndon Evans, and Marvin Music—and those who guided the Department of Parks during...

    (pp. 261-309)

    I know of no better way to emphasize and dramatize the vital importance of developing and protecting our natural resources than through gatherings such as the Conservation Congress. The fine attendance at this fourth annual congress speaks well for the goals we have set for doing the job that lies ahead. No job is more important, and your presence here—as delegates from all sections of Kentucky—is proof of your deep concern for the God-given treasures that are the Commonwealth’s land, water, forest, and mineral resources.

    When I was campaigning to be your governor, our platform pledged full cooperation...

    (pp. 310-325)

    As governor of this Commonwealth, I have recommended to the people a bond issue totaling $176 million. They will register their judgment upon the recommendation in the general election in November of this year.¹ Taxes, debt, and bonds are sensitive matters in this state, as in all states. The people are always, as indeed they should be, vitally interested in the taxes they pay, the expenditure of those taxes in the public good, and the public debt which is contracted and the bonds which are, from time to time, sold as the instrument of that debt. I am well aware...

    (pp. 326-380)

    Although I am unable to be with you this morning, I appreciate the opportunity of speaking to you, and I appreciate your indulgence in permitting me to address you in this fashion, which is, I am sure, less than satisfactory to all concerned. I must apologize for not appearing in person, but this is a week that comes to all governors once every two years, during which the last minute press of legislative affairs precludes practically all other activity.¹ I am sorry that it had to occur at the same time as your annual convention.

    My inability to be there...

    (pp. 381-421)

    As is the case so often when I address professional groups, the roster of those who are appearing at this congress today reminds me that when it comes to the subject under discussion I am a nonexpert speaking to a group of experts. It would be difficult for me to contribute to your knowledge of any health subject, and it would be doubly difficult for me to increase your understanding of mental health principles today after you have listened to some of our nation’s most knowledgeable men on the subject. I am not here to pretend special knowledge on this...

    (pp. 422-439)

    I welcome this opportunity to discuss civil rights with you. As ministers, rabbis, and priests you have shown your dedicated and devoted concern to the cause of human liberty through your past efforts and by your appearance here today. You and other religious leaders are to be commended for your efforts to eliminate discrimination against individual citizens. I have an important announcement to make to you. Senator Shelby Kinkead today has introduced a bill in the Senate which prohibits discrimination against individual citizens in public businesses.¹ Representative Norbert Blume and the cosponsors of his bill are supporting a committee substitute...

    (pp. 440-460)

    Kentuckians are reluctant to alter their constitution.¹ And rightly so. For these changes cannot be redone in the day-to-day decision making process, be it legislative, judicial, or executive. These changes affect the basic rights of the individual, the basic relationships of man-to-man, the basic workings of government and its ability to serve the people. But today we have reached a point where we are hobbled by an instrument loaded with nineteenth century restrictions while we prepare for the twenty-first century.

    Presently, we have a real opportunity in the success of the efforts of the Constitution Revision Assembly. This assembly reflects...

    (pp. 461-495)

    I want to welcome you to the first meeting of the Task Force on Criminal Justice and express to you my deep appreciation for you giving your time and talents to help solve the dilemma of the poor man in our courts. Your main purpose, as a task force, will be to begin a drive to eliminate distinctions between rich and poor criminal defendants.

    I don’t need to tell you that some Kentuckians live in a poverty nightmare where it is a struggle merely to exist. These people are not poor because they want to be poor, because they can’t...

    (pp. 496-522)

    In order to clarify my position on the purchase of ten new automobiles by the state, I feel that I should put the record straight on several matters involving this purchase. First, I feel very strongly that we should adopt a system of uniformity on the purchase of automobiles whenever we can because of economy. I am opposed to buying one car at a time, or maybe two, or even three in one order—all of various makes and models and equipment. I believe we should, whenever possible, combine these purchases in one, larger order and specify the exact standards....

    (pp. 523-557)

    Mr. Chairman, reverend clergy, my fellow delegates, my fellow Americans, “The World’s great age begins anew.” So wrote the poet Virgil two thousand years ago, as he foreshadowed an era of Roman greatness.

    We are a party of perpetual renewal, a party which has not only seen great visions but made those visions into growing, breathing realities and brought them into the lives of ordinary people. The history of this nation records that the great ages of America have been the ages of Democratic leadership—or of Republican leadership like that of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, which carried the ideal...

    (pp. 558-560)

    Four years ago we met here under sorrowful and somber circumstances. The death of a noble leader had turned what would have been a day of rejoicing and pagentry into a quieter day of soul-searching and dedication. A flag at half-staff was a silent reminder of the loss so recently sustained by all Kentuckians and all Americans.

    Today, as we assemble for the quadrennial renewal of the process that gives leadership and direction to our Commonwealth, that day, four years past, seems long ago. And yet, measured in the perspective of Kentucky history, it was almost yesterday—scarcely the turning...

  23. APPENDIX 1 The Breathitt Administration
    (pp. 561-571)
  24. APPENDIX 2 Calendar of Governor Breathitt’s Speeches
    (pp. 572-594)
  25. INDEX
    (pp. 595-616)