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The Public Papers of Governor Bert T. Combs

The Public Papers of Governor Bert T. Combs: 1959--1963

George W. Robinson Editor
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 570
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  • Book Info
    The Public Papers of Governor Bert T. Combs
    Book Description:

    This volume presents the most important public papers of Bert T. Combs during the four years he served as governor of Kentucky. Arranged chronologically, the papers reveal the policy of the Combs administration as it evolved in the early years of the 1960s and show how the governor dealt with varying concurrent problems.

    Although this collection is not intended as a definitive statement of the Combs administration, it provides important source material that will enable historians to study the broad spectrum of issues faced by the people of the Commonwealth at a time when considerable government-inspired change was occurring.

    John Ed Pearce has provided a perceptive introductory essay to the volume. The appendix offers a complete listing of speeches delivered by Governor Combs during his term of office.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6249-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
    John Ed Pearce

    The governor of Kentucky has a great deal of power, more power, say some political scientists, than the governor of any other state. Thanks to the state constitution, he not only heads but controls an administration whose agencies touch the lives of practically every Kentuckian. He is the titular, and usually the actual, leader of his party. He is the state’s biggest employer, and as a result of these varied roles, he wields great influence with, if not actual control over, the state legislature and the laws it enacts.

    All of this makes the governor’s office a considerable prize for...

    (pp. xxiv-xxiv)
    R. F. S.
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
    G. W. R.
  6. GOVERNOR BERT T. COMBS December 8, 1959, to December 10, 1963
    (pp. 1-4)

    The forty-sixth governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Bert Thomas Combs, was born August 13, 1911, near the small mountain town of Manchester in Clay County, Kentucky. He was the first governor of Kentucky in more than thirty years to come from the eastern Kentucky mountains, and the first Baptist governor in over one hundred years.

    Young Combs attended Upper Beech Creek School until he finished the sixth grade, and then he studied for the next two years at Oneida Institute. He graduated from Clay County High School in 1927 at the age of fifteen, despite his having to work...

  7. INAUGURAL ADDRESS December 8, 1959
    (pp. 5-12)

    For myself and the other members of the incoming administration I want to thank those thousands of loyal Kentuckians who have helped to make this day a reality. Especially do I want to thank you who have come here today to be a part of this ceremony which carries with it so much of the history and tradition of Kentucky.

    If any of you have been subjected to inconvenience or annoyance by reason of the convergence of this multitude of people upon the peaceful city of Frankfort, I extend my regrets as well as those of the inaugural committee. To...


    • Extraordinary Session of the Kentucky General Assembly: Constitutional Convention Call December 22, 1959
      (pp. 15-19)

      You have been called into extraordinary session to consider the advisability of acts necessary to take the sense of the people on calling a convention for the purpose of a limited revision of the state constitution.¹

      The present constitution is the fourth since Kentucky became a state in 1792. Our first constitution remained in effect only seven years. The second was in force for approximately fifty years. The third met the needs of the state for forty-one years. The present constitution is now sixty-eight years old. It contains more than 16,500 words. It is approximately five times the length of...

    • State of the Commonwealth Address January 5, 1960
      (pp. 19-25)

      We are meeting here today to begin what in my opinion can become one of the most significant sessions of the General Assembly of Kentucky in history. It is not mere oratory to say that the opportunities that are presented to us are tremendous in scope.

      I am confident, too, that we are met here in an atmosphere of mutual trust, candor, and confidence. It is my intention now, and will be my intention always while governor of Kentucky, to be frank with you concerning my plans for legislation. I trust that you will feel sufficient confidence in me and...

    • Budget Message February 17, 1960
      (pp. 25-32)

      It is my gratifying privilege today to present for your consideration a budget for the operation of Kentucky’s government for the coming two years. Some of you, I know, have awaited this budget with impatience. So, to tell the truth, have I. Indeed, in a very real sense, this is the budget which Kentucky has needed for the past half-century. Today, with this budget, Kentucky leaves her old depressing place at the bottom of the ladder. As of today, Kentucky will go forward.

      This, of course, is not solely my budget. Your courage in enacting tax legislation, your wisdom in...

    • Extraordinary Session of the Kentucky General Assembly: Amending the Veterans’ Bonus Law September 19, 1960
      (pp. 32-37)

      You have been asked to convene here today for the purpose of considering an amendment to the veterans’ bonus law removing the residency requirement and extending rights and benefits to Kentucky veterans now residing outside of the state.

      This has not been a sudden decision on my part. It was made after careful study of facts that experience has made available concerning the bonus, its predictable cost, and the ability of the state to meet that cost. I am aware, of course, that I have been accused, and will be accused again, of having political motives in calling you into...

    • State of the Commonwealth Address January 2, 1962
      (pp. 37-48)

      Since I spoke to you in 1960, the face of Kentucky, the mood of Kentuckians, and the spirit of the people have all been deeply and significantly affected. In a pressingly brief space of time, we had to prepare Kentucky for its place in the space age. We can be encouraged by our accomplishments so far. At this point I would ask your patience with and considered judgment of those programs which are still in the development stage.

      Your lieutenant governor and I were elected on a platform which had been submitted to and approved by the people. We have...

    • Budget Message January 9, 1962
      (pp. 48-59)

      I am grateful for another opportunity to discuss with you briefly some of the problems of the Commonwealth. I, like other citizens of Frankfort and of Kentucky, have a feeling of inferiority to be around the Capitol during a session of the legislature, not being a member thereof. And I am always grateful for the opportunity to stay within the walls of these assembly rooms, even for a brief time, to think about and discuss our problems.

      It has been suggested that I have no other political ambitions, and actually I have said that, and for the most part that...

    • Congressional Redistricting February 20, 1962
      (pp. 59-62)

      This marks the third time in the last four decades that the Kentucky General Assembly has had to face the problem of redistricting. It is an unpleasant and politically painful assignment — but it is no less a duty.

      The federal statutes require redistricting but they do not dictate how it should be accomplished. The General Assembly, according to the statutes and the judicial decisions, has broad latitude in determining the composition of congressional districts.

      There are those who would have us shirk this duty and permit Kentucky’s members of the United States House of Representatives to be selected from the...

    • Extraordinary Session of the Kentucky General Assembly: Legislative Reapportionment January 28, 1963
      (pp. 63-70)

      Section 79 of the Constitution of Kentucky provides that the governor shall “give to the General Assembly information of the state of the Commonwealth and recommend their consideration of such measures as he may deem expedient.”

      This is the fifth time that I have met with you pursuant to this provision, and I must confess that I come here with feelings of both satisfaction and gratitude. The programs initiated by you in 1960 and expanded by you in 1962 have planted seed corn in the fields of education, highway construction, parks expansion, economic development, health, and welfare. If these programs...

    • Extraordinary Session of the Kentucky General Assembly: United Mine Workers’ Hospitals June 17, 1963
      (pp. 70-76)

      It is a significant commentary on our times that you have been called into special session for the fourth time within three and a half years. I have never believed that the power to convene the General Assembly in extraordinary session should be abused or that demands should be made on your time and the funds of the treasury without clear and pressing reason. But I have always believed that when the people elect a man to a four-year term, they are due four years of service, regardless of whether he be a member of the executive department, a member...

    • Extraordinary Session of the Kentucky General Assembly: Judicial Salaries and Vehicle Inspection November 18, 1963
      (pp. 77-82)

      Permit me to explain why I have called you into extraordinary session. The Constitution of Kentucky limits your regular deliberations to a period of sixty days each two years. Such a limitation makes it obvious, when we consider the many and varied problems facing Kentucky, that the framers of our basic charter contemplated frequent use of the power given the governor to call the General Assembly into special session. I feel that this power should be used with care, but I do not feel that a statewide emergency is necessary to justify your consideration of pressing legislative matters.

      Some may...


    • Executive Order: The State Merit System December 9, 1959
      (pp. 85-86)

      Whereas, it is desirable, fitting and necessary for a civil service system to be based upon law; and

      Whereas, the present “merit system” is without legal foundation and subject to the whim and caprice of arbitrary action; and

      Whereas, civil service status, bedded in statutory authorization, is necessary for certain employees of the Commonwealth in order to qualify for federal funds; and

      Whereas, the Kentucky Personnel Council has done valuable work in the field of screening and testing, the benefits of which should not be lost or neglected; and

      Whereas, I am firmly committed to a merit system created, authorized...

    • Separate Judicial District for Franklin County January 4, 1960
      (pp. 86-89)

      I want to clarify the matter of a separate judicial district for Franklin County. Ever since I came to the Court of Appeals in 1951, there has been talk about the great need that Franklin County be a separate judicial district. On December 11, 1959, the Judicial Council of Kentucky, in a “Report of the Judicial Council to the 1960 General Assembly,” recommended the creation of a new judicial district composed of Franklin County alone. The reason, as stated by the council, being that “there is an abnormal amount of important litigation and the volume of court business therein is...

    • Veterans’ Bonus and Sales Tax January 27, 1960
      (pp. 89-91)

      The people of Kentucky on November 3, 1959, directed the General Assembly to pay the war veterans of Kentucky a bonus. They also voted for a retail sales tax to pay for the bonus. That is the reason I have recommended to you the enactment of a bonus bill and the required tax to finance it. I had no choice.

      Some people have criticized this bill because it will raise more money than it may take to pay the bonus. They would have us believe that the people of Kentucky are willing to shoulder a sales tax for paying war...

    • Use of State-Owned Automobiles February 9, 1960
      (pp. 92-92)

      Regulation of the use of state-owned automobiles has long posed a problem for state government, in Kentucky and elsewhere. The problem has been how to confine their use to strictly state business without impairing the efficiency of state officers and employees using such vehicles.

      I recognize that despite the best of controls, it is difficult to prevent abuse. The best we can do is to take every precaution possible.

      I am creating a Board of Transportation, composed of the commissioner of public safety, the commissioner of economic security, and the commissioner of highways. This board will have authority to consider...

    • Agricultural Cooperative Conference: Problem Areas in Kentucky Agriculture February 16, 1960
      (pp. 92-95)

      We can invite disaster by neglecting the agricultural sector of our economy. The parity ratio for farmers now stands at seventy-seven. This is even six points lower than it was a year ago and places it near the 1939 level.

      While the farmer’s income has gone down, consumer prices have gone up. For illustration, it takes 12.41 cents now to buy what 10 cents would buy in the 1947–1949 period. Yet, the farmer’s share of the food dollar has declined to 39 cents, a drop of 18 cents from 1949. In 1947 the farmer got 2.7 cents for the...

    • Executive Order: Authorizing Payment of the Veterans’ Bonus February 25, 1960
      (pp. 95-96)

      Whereas, the majority of the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, voting in the general election on November 3, 1959, were clearly in favor of financing and paying a bonus to Kentucky veterans of the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean Conflict; and

      Whereas, the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, during the 1960 regular session, did enact a law (House Bill 85) authorizing the financing and payment of a bonus to Kentucky veterans serving in the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean Conflict; and

      Whereas, the...

    • Road Fund Tax March 7, 1960
      (pp. 96-97)

      Tonight there is being introduced in the House of Representatives two bills that complete the administration’s road-fund tax program. The provisions of these two bills, together with the road-fund tax provisions contained in House Bill 75, should increase road-fund tax revenues by a total of $9,210,000 for the biennial period.

      If no changes had been made or proposed in respect to road-fund taxes, the road-fund tax estimates for the two-year period would have been as follows: 1960–1961 — $87,000,000; 1961–1962 — $91,000,000.

      As a result of the revisions contained in House Bill 75 and those proposed in the two bills...

    • Modification of Revenue Laws March 8, 1960
      (pp. 98-100)

      I have today presented to the General Assembly a proposed revenue and taxation bill containing some eighty typed pages. Although this bill contains several important provisions, its bulk is largely attributable to the necessity of reenacting at length various statutes that are subject to only minor revisions.

      The additional revenues provided for in this bill will enable us to finance the Industrial Development Authority and the Research Center Plant at the University of Kentucky. It will also provide sufficient revenue for helping Children’s Hospital in Louisville solve its immediate financial crisis. Any surplus will be used for capital construction, including...

    • Accomplishments of the General Assembly March 23, 1960
      (pp. 100-103)

      All of us can be proud of the 1960 General Assembly which completed its work this past Friday. In the opinion of most observers, it was the hardest-working and lightest-drinking legislature in Kentucky in many years.

      Senator Alvin Kidwell¹ of Sparta, president pro tern of the senate — a man who has served continuously in that body for eighteen years — made the very candid remark that he had never worked so hard in any previous session. He is, as most of you know, one of the most dedicated and modest members of the General Assembly and not prone to exaggeration or...

    • Cancellation of Truck Transaction April 19, 1960
      (pp. 103-104)

      I am directing cancellation of the state’s contract with the Louisville Equipment Rental Company for the following reasons:

      First, the air of mystery and secrecy surrounding the location, origin, and organization of the Louisville Equipment Rental Company. The state must know with whom it contracts.

      Second, the vagueness surrounding the ownership of the trucks. It is necessary and desirable that the business of the state be conducted in the light of full publicity and without any atmosphere of secrecy or mystery. The people are entitled not only to get value received for every dollar spent, but are entitled to know...

    • Governors’ Conference: Federal Aid to Appalachia June 28, 1960
      (pp. 105-106)

      Kentuckians and Kentucky delegations in Congress have supported the theory and practice of foreign aid since it was first enunciated by the great George Marshall¹ and put into effect under President Truman. It makes sense, I think, to strengthen the economics of our allies, so that they may stand with us against the threat of communist aggression. It makes sense to build their economies so that they may buy from us and sell to us, developing in the process a strong free-world economy. It makes sense to help the neutral nations of the world become self-sufficient, able to stand against...

    • Mayo State Vocational School Commencement July 28, 1960
      (pp. 107-109)

      We are here today to honor these graduates of Mayo Vocational School, but our presence here also signifies something deeper. It signifies our intention to furnish new industry shortly to be coming into your area with the trained manpower it needs. And, make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, eastern Kentucky is to get more industry under our plans for a brighter day in Kentucky and the program of economic expansion which will bring that day about.

      I hope you graduates realize what a highly regarded school you are graduated from. Mayo’s record for placing its graduates is 98 percent. In...

    • Rotary Club Luncheon: Constitutional Revision July 29, 1960
      (pp. 109-115)

      Gentlemen, it’s real good to be here with you today. I enjoyed my lunch and I thank you for inviting me. When I’m in the Capitol, you know, I have to pay for my lunch. A lot of people think the governor can just walk through the line and eat whatever he wants for free. That’s what I thought until I tried it. Why you’d have thought I was trying to steal the cafeteria, all the fuss they made. There’s a lot of aspects to my job that aren’t as easy as they look and I don’t have anything like...

    • Magistrates’ and Commissioners’ Convention: Constitutional Revision July 29, 1960
      (pp. 116-118)

      We must bring the Kentucky Constitution up to date. This administration is working to show people of Kentucky how revising the constitution in only twelve limited areas can help them on their road to progress. We hope to encourage the people of Kentucky to want to make the necessary changes.

      Kentucky’s population has increased since 1891, but not enough. Business and commerce in Kentucky have expanded, but not enough. We have progressed, but we could have progressed more. In our progress so far we have outstripped our outdated constitution until now it is hampering us from progressing further.

      Entirely new...

    • Ground Breaking for Kentucky Power Company Plant August 2, 1960
      (pp. 118-119)

      I have had a hand in numerous ground breakings and ribbon cuttings, but never before have I approached one with the eagerness and enthusiasm that I possess for today’s ceremony.

      We are gathered to launch formally the construction of a huge electric generating plant for the Kentucky Power Company, but more than that is involved. This is an event of special significance not only to eastern Kentucky but to the three million citizens throughout all of Kentucky. This power plant will become a monument representing a vastly important milestone in the economic progress of Kentucky. It will stand as proof...

    • News Reporting August 15, 1960
      (pp. 120-121)

      A week ago today I met with you in order to clarify a situation which had become muddled through mistake on our part and sloppy reporting by some of you. We admitted our mistake and are trying to correct it. An erroneous story on that subject by the Associated Press still stands uncorrected. I refer to the AP story of August 5 in which it was stated that the Department of Rural Highways was encouraging county officials to omit competitive bids on the purchase of equipment. That story not only reflected on the rural highway commissioner’s integrity, which in my...

    • Earle Clements’s Resignation August 18, 1960
      (pp. 122-123)

      Earle Clements¹ notified me more than a week ago that he intended to resign as highway commissioner effective September 1, 1960, in order to go to the Washington Kennedy-Johnson headquarters and work in the national campaign. No written resignation has been received, and I have withheld an announcement pending decision on Clements's successor. I consider it appropriate now to make the announcement of his resignation. For the past several days, I have been quietly looking for Clements’s successor, but I have no announcement to make on that subject at this time.

      We have now in the making the greatest road-building...

    • Aid to Education September 18, 1960
      (pp. 123-125)

      The legislature, at its last session, made the greatest appropriation to education in the history of Kentucky — almost $100 million. To obtain the money, the legislature enacted a new tax program. For that I make no apology. It was absolutely necessary that we do something about education in Kentucky.

      The people of America during the past decade have neglected the education of their children, and Kentucky has been one of the worst offenders. We have overcrowded our schoolrooms. We have underpaid our teachers. We have cut back our research. We have harassed our scientists. We have let brilliant students drop...

    • Appalachia September 19, 1960
      (pp. 125-128)

      Unemployment in Kentucky is not simply a state problem. It is a symptom of conditions that are regional and national, as well as local in character, and our efforts at the state level cannot be effective unless they are part of a regional and national program. For that reason, we are greatly encouraged by the significance of this conference called by Senator [John] Kennedy to consider the problem of new jobs and economic growth.

      The present administration in Washington has shown no understanding of our problems and no desire to deal with them. It seems to regard federal aid as...

    • Southeastern Regional Conference of the American Public Welfare Association: Welcoming Remarks September 21, 1960
      (pp. 128-130)

      It is with great pleasure that in behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I welcome the visitors from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and our own state of Kentucky, who will be with us for the next three days to participate in the Southeastern Regional Conference of the American Public Welfare Association. I also understand that there are some visitors here from north of the Mason-Dixon line. You too are likewise most welcome.

      Kentucky is honored to serve as host state for this conference. The American Public Welfare Association has always been known...

    • Dedication of the University of Kentucky Medical Center September 23, 1960
      (pp. 130-133)

      It has been said that Kentucky can’t afford this center. I say we can afford it. Actually Kentucky cannot afford to be without this center. While I had nothing to do with starting the project, and claim no credit for it, I approve of it 100 percent and will do everything in my power to make it a complete success.

      Many people are entitled to credit for the inception and building of this great monument to medical progress in Kentucky. Among them are Lawrence W. Wetherby, Dr. H.L. Donovan, and the members of the university’s board of trustees in 1954.¹...

    • Kentucky Association of Mental Health: State Government and Mental Health October 4, 1960
      (pp. 134-140)

      Thank you for inviting me to be with you tonight. I have watched the progress — and the problems — of the Department of Mental Health since its beginning eight years ago when I sat on the Court of Appeals. In the last two or three years, however, I have followed the course of the program more carefully. I have met with Commissioner McPheeters¹ several times; I have visited with representatives of your association; and I have toured Lexington’s Eastern State Hospital twice within the last year. I hope to visit the other three hospitals and some of the mental health centers...

    • Kentucky Bankers Association: Kentucky’s Economic Progress October 18, 1960
      (pp. 140-144)

      The economic progress of Kentucky can be viewed in two lights: what has gone before, and what can be expected in the future. Let us examine first the changes of the past ten years.

      During the fifties, the economic profile of Kentucky underwent great changes. Mining dropped off, at least in terms of employment, by about half. Farming also declined as a supplier of jobs and also relatively as a producer of income. On the other hand, farm methods showed great improvement, and farm output showed a significant trend toward greater diversification with dairying making important strides. Although these segments...

    • Democratic Rally October 27, 1960
      (pp. 144-145)

      We are now making great progress in education in Kentucky, but if we are to do the job which must be done and meet the challenge of the space age, we must have the sympathetic cooperation of the federal government. This cooperation should be in the form of federal grants — without federal control — for construction of school buildings and for teachers’ salaries, as recommended by the National Education Association and the Kentucky Education Association. Both Senator John F. Kennedy and Senator Lyndon Johnson have demonstrated that they favor federal aid for both construction and teachers’ salaries. They voted for such...

    • Kentucky Welfare Association: Child Welfare in Kentucky November 2, 1960
      (pp. 146-148)

      Perhaps the most crucial and perplexing welfare problem is the youth problem. We must face the fact that there is a group — a growing group — among our young people who need special help to attain normal development. Some of these children are homeless. We don't have many orphans anymore, but we do have many children from broken families, children born out of wedlock, children who can’t grow up as a part of a family unless we make special provision for them.

      We also have children with special handicaps who are unable to compete and adjust normally. We have children who,...

    • National Conference of State Legislative Affairs: The Relationship between a Governor and His Legislature November 12, 1960
      (pp. 148-152)

      The legislative body of a state has as its primary task the enactment of laws for the welfare of all the people, with each legislator reflecting the sentiments of the people of his area. The legislative branch also has an obligation to review the administration of the laws and, when necessary, take remedial action helpful to the executive branch. In this the legislature and the executive branch must cooperate.

      It is the duty of the chief executive of a state, in my opinion, to exercise decisive leadership, to formulate programs for the welfare of the citizens, and to provide the...

    • Louisville Urban League Equal Opportunity Day November 19, 1960
      (pp. 153-155)

      It is appropriate, I feel, that for your equal opportunity day program you chose the anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A guiding principle of the Louisville Urban League’s personnel placement efforts can well be found in the first paragraph of Lincoln’s immortal speech of ninety-seven years ago: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

      Equal opportunity day is an apt occasion for us to review just what we mean by the term. One of the fundamentals of...

    • Presentation of Community Development Plaque December 2, 1960
      (pp. 155-157)

      Monticello and its business and civic leaders are deserving of more than congratulations for winning third place in the five-year community development contest of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. You are deserving of the gratitude of the people of Kentucky for an important contribution to a program which affects the welfare of all the people. I refer to our efforts — the efforts of your state government, the Kentucky Chamber, the Monticello-Wayne County Community Development Board, and similar organizations — to obtain new industry for our Commonwealth. New industry means more jobs and more wealth.

      Some business and industry leaders feel that...

    • Ground Breaking for Eastern Kentucky Resources Development Building December 6, 1960
      (pp. 157-159)

      This is a significant and encouraging step forward in the development of a region rich in resources. When this headquarters building for the Eastern Kentucky Resource Development project is completed, we will have a splendid laboratory center in which to help science put to profitable use the agricultural and forestry assets awaiting our attention.

      It is good to see here representatives of the thirty counties which stand to benefit from this program directed by the University of Kentucky. Many of you met with me and representatives from Washington on June 20. At that time I pledged the state government’s support...

    • Plans for State Park Development December 7, 1960
      (pp. 159-163)

      I want to welcome all of you here today. You have been asked to come here so that we could tell you of our plans for developing Kentucky into the recreational center of America and to ask your advice, your suggestions, and your assistance, without which even this sound program cannot succeed.

      We think that what I am going to outline to you today constitutes the greatest parks expansion and construction program ever undertaken by any state at any time. It is a program which many people have worked diligently over many months to prepare, and we think it is...

    • Civil War Centennial December 8, 1960
      (pp. 163-164)

      I am announcing the appointment of Paul Brannon¹ as executive coordinator of Kentucky’s Civil War Centennial activities, effective today. He also will serve as the liaison between the National Civil War Centennial Commission, the Kentucky Civil War Centennial Commission, and the Commonwealth’s communities participating in centennial activities. Mr. Brannon is resigning as commissioner of public relations to accept the appointment.

      Throughout this section of the United States, major emphasis will be placed, from now through 1965, on the observance of the one hundredth anniversary of the Civil War. Kentucky can and should play an important role in this observance. The...

    • Elimination of Waste December 12, 1960
      (pp. 165-165)

      Today begins the second year of our administration. I want at this point to express to you and to each of you my thanks for the good job you have done in this year and to talk with you concerning our aims for the coming year. Working together we have been able to initiate many programs desired by the people of Kentucky to improve conditions in our state. Our task for the coming year is to achieve the smooth operation of these new programs and to continue making every improvement possible in programs which were already in effect when we...

    • Chamber of Commerce: Support of the Sales Tax January 2, 1961
      (pp. 166-167)

      It is customary on this day to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year. This I do, but it is more than a wish. It is a prediction. I sincerely believe that 1961 will bring great progress and prosperity to Kentucky.

      Some of this progress is brand new, starting with the new year. I refer to the income tax reduction which took effect at midnight Saturday. This week alone Kentuckians will save $384,615 on their state income tax. The saving for the year will be at least $20 million. The average reduction is about 40 percent. Starting at midnight...

    • State Government January 12, 1961
      (pp. 167-171)

      I’m glad to have the opportunity to talk to you, the business and professional leaders of the leading business community in Kentucky. And not only is Louisville the state’s first seat of commerce, but in addition — at least for two days — it’s the seat of state government. And if you’ve been under the impression that things are relatively normal with a minimum of human problems in the Louisville area, you need only sit with me through some of these sessions to learn that there are nothing but problems.

      Seriously, January is a time for appraisals of the past and resolutions...

    • Bonus Payment Litigation February 6, 1961
      (pp. 172-174)

      For nearly an entire year payment of the bonus has been delayed by litigation. News accounts have quoted Mr. Huddleston as indicating he and his clients, Doctors Grise and McCloy, will carry their attack against the bonus to the Supreme Court of the United States.¹ I am asking Doctor Grise, Doctor McCloy, and Mr. Huddleston, individually and collectively, to forgo that appeal and any other litigation they may contemplate against the bonus.

      The following considerations justify both my request and the favorable response I ask of Doctors Grise and McCloy and their attorney.

      For several decades prior to November 1959...

    • Area Redevelopment Bill February 28, 1961
      (pp. 174-182)

      My purpose here is threefold: 1) to testify in favor of S 1; 2) to emphasize that an emergency exists in many parts of the country, and to urge that the entire program for economic recovery heretofore recommended by the president be expedited; 3) to discuss other measures necessary to meet the specific problems of the Appalachian states including Kentucky.

      The Area Redevelopment bill is, in my opinion, a necessary and effective part of the solution to the nation’s economic problem. The general slowdown in the nation’s economic processes seems to be concentrated in the so-called distressed areas. Action aimed...

    • Kentucky Tourist Conference: The Importance of Tourism to Kentucky March 1, 1961
      (pp. 183-185)

      If there is one thing we can agree on in Kentucky, it is the importance of tourists. Last year over 17.25 million tourists came from outside Kentucky and spent $180 million in our state. I think the money tourists spend in Kentucky is the best money they spend anywhere, and the more they spend in Kentucky the smarter I think they are. And if we are half as smart as we ought to be, those people will go home happy and enthusiastic. They’ll tell their friends about us and they’ll come back the first chance they get.

      I want to...

    • Kentucky Highway Conference: Financing Kentucky’s Highways March 2, 1961
      (pp. 185-188)

      Henry Ward¹ has sketched for you our efforts — and problems — in undertaking to build a modem network of highways adequate for Kentucky’s needs. Prominent among those problems, as always, is the need for adequate funds. I agree with Mr. Ward that we cannot further speed up the federal aid highway program unless additional federal funds are made available to us.

      Right now we are running ahead of schedule — $30 million ahead of schedule. We accomplished this, in planning for construction contracts, by using part of the $90 million bond issue to finance temporarily both the state’s and the federal government’s...

    • Ground Breaking for Northern Kentucky Vocational Training School Building March 11, 1961
      (pp. 189-192)

      In Kentucky human resources are our most important product. How well we develop and utilize those resources will determine, in a vast degree, the extent of progress which our Commonwealth will achieve, in competition with other states, in the critical years ahead.

      To develop and make the best use of these resources, we must train our people for profitable employment and teach them how to live a fuller and richer life. Those two obligations represent the basic idea of the subject with which we are happily concerned today — vocational education.

      In breaking ground for a million-dollar installation, which will be...

    • Kentucky School Boards Association: The Importance of Local School Boards March 14, 1961
      (pp. 192-196)

      The job of school board member is one of the most important in our democratic system of government. I know of no position, so basic in our democracy, in which the citizen can better apply his talents with such far-reaching effect on the future of our civilization.

      The school board member, through the system of education which he directs, influences if not controls the studies, the thinking, and the degree of knowledge of our future citizens in their most impressionable period of life. Indeed, he can wield awesome power for community good and community development.

      The operation of schools is...

    • Beaver Valley Kiwanis Club: Progress in Education March 20, 1961
      (pp. 196-198)

      We can proudly say that Kentucky is now making progress — substantial progress — in education. Dr. R.L. Johns¹ of the University of Florida, an authority on school finance and legislation, has said he knows of no state which made more progress than Kentucky in education in 1960. Because we have so far to go to make up for the years of neglect, it is a matter of absolute necessity that we continue to make substantial progress in education. In order to continue that progress, we must retain the sources of revenue which are financing improvement of our schools.

      The sales tax...

    • Executive Order: Memorandum Opinion on Authority of Governor to Remove a Circuit Judge, a County Judge, or a Mayor of a City of the Second Class April 12, 1961
      (pp. 198-199)

      Whereas, for ouster purposes, affidavits have been officially lodged in this office, charging certain local officials of the county of Campbell and the city of Newport with willful neglect of duty; and

      Whereas, the governor has no authority to remove a circuit judge, a county judge, or a mayor of a city of the second class; and

      Whereas, a memorandum opinion has been prepared to this effect;

      Now, therefore, I hereby direct that said memorandum opinion, which is attached hereto, be entered in the Executive Journal and made a part of the public record.¹...

    • Desegregation in Louisville April 27, 1961
      (pp. 199-200)

      It is important to Kentucky that the problem of desegregation in Louisville be settled peacefully and without delay. I have followed the activities in Louisville in the past weeks very closely. Some progress had been made, but the mayor’s¹ proposal of Tuesday which sets up a timetable for complete integration of downtown eating facilities seems to me a sensible solution.

      I heartily endorse the mayor’s proposal and urge the restaurant operators and the Negro community to carry out the plan quietly and according to the timetable suggested by the mayor.

      This problem is not only Louisville’s, it is Kentucky’s. It...

    • Paducah Junior College Commencement May 31, 1961
      (pp. 200-201)

      My text is a short one. Commencement speeches ought to be abolished. I like to make commencement speeches. Everybody likes to give advice. However, after making a great many commencement speeches over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the whole subject of commencement speeches needs to be reappraised. And the agonizing of the seniors as they twist and squirm during the speech should be an important factor in the reappraisal.

      You are here for one purpose: to get your diploma. You have earned your diploma. Through the years you have listened to a great deal of advice....

    • Executive Order: Hearings on Charges of Failure to Enforce the Law June 7, 1961
      (pp. 201-203)

      Affidavits of nine persons have been filed in my office to the effect that George Gugel,¹ chief of police, Newport, Kentucky, has been guilty of neglect of his official duties as chief of police. It is charged in the affidavits that George Gugel has failed to enforce the statutory laws of Kentucky prohibiting prostitution, the setting up and operation of games of chance, off-track wagering on horse races, and the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages. If the affidavits are true, such neglect of duty would authorize me to remove Mr. Gugel from his office under the provisions of Section 227...

    • Governor’s Safety Conference: The Highway Death Toll June 13, 1961
      (pp. 203-206)

      You represent a true cross section of the responsible civic element, the citizens who actually influence Kentucky’s way of life. I will not try to cover all the phases of safety education. The cost of what we group under the termaccidentsis a staggering total. It is running about $250 million a year. The entire general fund of the Common wealth of Kentucky isn’t that much. Not counting revenue for highways, Kentucky will take in only $211 million in taxes of all kinds this year.

      Fortunately progress is being made in accident prevention. Industry is doing a splendid job....

    • United States Junior Chamber of Commerce: Participation in Politics June 20, 1961
      (pp. 207-211)

      Charles Dickens had one of his characters say, “These are the best of times and the worst of times.” Those words are just as true now as when Dickens said them almost a hundred years ago. It is true that a majority of Americans enjoy the highest per capita income the world has ever known. We have more of the luxuries and conveniences of life. Yet fifteen million American families live in substandard houses; five million urban homes still lack plumbing; seven million urban homes should be tom down and rebuilt. Many of our streets and highways are inadequate and...

    • Eastern Kentucky State College Commencement: Public Educators Must Be Honest July 5, 1961
      (pp. 211-214)

      When the electromagnetic telegraph was introduced in 1844, the first words transmitted were: “What hath God wrought?” Looking over the graceful, tree-shaded campus of Eastern Kentucky State College, I feel it is appropriate to observe: “What hath God wrought to Eastern?” When the Kentucky General Assembly in 1906, in the administration of Governor Beckham,¹ established the Eastern Kentucky Normal School, it provided $20,000 for operation and maintenance and $5,000 for building additions in that year.

      Today, the buildings and other properties of Eastern Kentucky State College — once known as the Normal School — are valued at more than $7.2 million. The...

    • Commission on Human Rights: Discouraging Discrimination July 7, 1961
      (pp. 214-216)

      Canon Estill,¹ members of the commission, ladies, and gentlemen, I want to welcome all of you to this our first conference on human rights. We are pleased at the enthusiastic response to the call for the meeting. Our new Commission on Human Rights needs the benefit of your experience, advice, and support.

      Several years ago, Robert Penn Warren,² a native of Guthrie, Kentucky, wrote a book calledSegregation: The Inner Conflict.He told about his talks with people all over the South and included a conversation with a Kentucky school superintendent just before desegregation. The superintendent said, “The people here...

    • Louisville Rotary Club: McGuire Should Resign July 20, 1961
      (pp. 216-220)

      I am reminded of two significant beginnings related to this occasion: the beginning of Louisville, and the beginning of Rotary International.

      What a stretch of the imagination it would have been for George Rogers Clark, when he ordered the construction of a temporary stockade on Com Island in 1778, to envision the Louisville of 1961. Probably it would have required an equally great stretch of the imagination for Paul Harris¹ at the birth of Rotary International in Chicago in 1905 to envision what his child would become by 1961. I understand that today there are 11,015 Rotary clubs in 123...

    • Kentucky Education Association: Proper Safeguards for Educational Administration August 9, 1961
      (pp. 220-224)

      Education in Kentucky is on the march. Evidence of that progress is all about us: a new spirit of optimism and progress; new school buildings and classrooms; more laboratories and gymnasiums; more free textbooks; more modern school bus transportation; and, what is even more important, better qualified and better paid teachers.

      Generally speaking, we are fortunate, too, in the caliber of our public school administrators. Wendell Butler has done an excellent job as your state superintendent. For the most part, district superintendents and boards of education have performed their duties with the single-minded purpose of providing adequate education for the...

    • Middle Atlantic Associated Press: The Public’s Right to Know August 17, 1961
      (pp. 224-229)

      The vastness and complexity of modem-day government and of the laws regulating its conduct make it imperative that the fullest possible information be disseminated on all aspects of the public’s business.

      Although Kentucky is comparatively small in population, our state government is a $500 million-a-year business. It touches virtually every facet of the lives of the more than three million Kentucky citizens. To operate this machinery, we have some thirty-five major departments and approximately 18,000 employees. If this machinery is to function smoothly, the right hand must know what the left hand is doing. By this, I mean that not...

    • Kentucky Association of Student Councils: The Duties of Elected Officials September 29, 1961
      (pp. 229-231)

      It is a special pleasure to be with you today. It is not often that a governor can enjoy being with so many people with whom he has so much in common. You are here because you were elected to office. I am here because I was elected to office. Despite the difference between your ages and mine, I feel a sort of kinship. Because we have traveled the same road of politics to get to where we are now, I think we are better able to understand each other.

      There also is a similarity of the problems which confront...

    • State Employees’ Picnic: Efficiency of the Merit System October 9, 1961
      (pp. 231-232)

      As far back as I can remember, candidates for state office in Kentucky — both the “ins” and the “outs” — promised job security to state employees. Now we have it — not in a temporary administrative regulation but in a law voted by the General Assembly.

      The new merit system is an important part of a program of progress for Kentucky. Three-fourths of the states have merit systems. The federal government has had a similar system for twenty years. The purpose of the merit system is not merely to protect the jobs of state workers. Just as important — and perhaps more important...

    • Executive Order: Removal of George Gugel from Office October 10, 1961
      (pp. 233-233)

      George Gugel, chief of police of the city of Newport, Kentucky, having been charged with neglect of duty persuant to KRS 63.090 through 63.160, the Honorable John L. Davis, attorney of Lexington, was appointed as special commissioner to preside at hearings in the matter. Commissioner John L. Davis has filed his report with this office, finding the said George Gugel guilty of neglect of duty and recommending the penalties applicable under the above-cited statutes.

      Having reviewed the report and recommendations of the commissioner, I find that the recommendations are supported by the record, specifically that the actions of George Gugel...

    • Seventh District Meeting of Congress of Parents and Teachers: Findings of the Commission on Public Education October 12, 1961
      (pp. 234-235)

      A Frankfort newspaper editor — S. C. Van Curon¹ of theState Journal— in commenting on the study of our public schools now being conducted by the Commission on Public Education, asked an interesting question. He asked: “Whose responsibility is it to have good public education for the children of Kentucky?” Then he went on to answer his own question by saying it was the citizens’ responsibility, and stated that they had abdicated it to the professional educators.

      Editor Van Curon commented further: “Sanctimonious citizens decry the conditions of the public schools on their way to the courthouse to contest an...

    • Kentucky State AFL–CIO: Progress in Kentucky Labor Legislation October 19, 1961
      (pp. 236-237)

      A year ago on this platform I informed you that I had requested the commissioner of industrial relations to expedite revisions of the antiquated minimum wage rates being paid in Kentucky. Now the twenty-year-old Laundry and Drycleaning Order¹ which called for wages as low as twenty cents an hour has been abolished.

      Starting September 1, it will be a violation of state law to pay any woman or child employed in this industry less than seventy-five cents an hour in the larger cities and less than sixty-five cents an hour in the remote, rural sections. Furthermore, beginning November 1, it...

    • Fifth District Education Association: School People Must Maintain Unity November 3, 1961
      (pp. 238-239)

      The vigorous reaction to the reports of the two state commissions which analyzed our public school system, our university, and the state colleges was not unexpected. Let us hope, however, that those who are critical of the reports will be considerate in their judgment and judicious in their statements. Hasty judgment and intemperate speech can produce a division in the forces of education which would be harmful to the progress we have achieved and handicap our efforts for the future. This is no time for our school people to become divided. Never before have we accomplished so much and never...

    • Fayette County Teachers Association: Progress toward a Sound Educational System November 13, 1961
      (pp. 239-241)

      Of teachers, Henry Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” This observation certainly applies to today’s teachers. Never before in history have teachers performed such an important role in determining our nation’s fate.

      The victor in the struggle between communism and democracy will emerge, not from a fallout shelter, but from a classroom. The cold war is being fought, not on a nuclear battlefield, but in science, engineering, economics, political science, and even in art classes.

      You, the teachers, are leaders in this conflict. As it is our duty as a nation...

    • County Attorneys Association: Politics and the General Assembly November 15, 1961
      (pp. 241-242)

      It is my hope that, for the most part, we can avoid controversial issues during the 1962 session of the General Assembly. The programs of this administration were recommended to the 1960 legislature and enacted into law. It would be unwise, I feel, to embark upon other far-reaching, untried programs at a time when we have a job of carrying to completion the programs already initiated.

      The session will be an explosive one at best. We live in a political form of government. It is as dangerous to ignore the political realities as it is unwise to bow to political...

    • Dedication of New Building of Northern Kentucky Center November 19, 1961
      (pp. 243-244)

      Dedication of this new building of the Northern Kentucky Center climaxes years of efforts by public-spirited citizens in one of the state’s most progressive sections. This area long has been noted for its elementary and secondary schools. They rank among the best in the state. This branch of our state’s university, along with Villa Madonna College, headed by the able Monsignor Murphy,¹ will enhance northern Kentucky’s reputation for educational advancement.

      From the campus of the Northern Center we can look across the valley to the opposite hilltop, where the new vocational school building is under construction. There young men and...

    • Baptist Ministers Conference: The Ministry and State Government November 27, 1961
      (pp. 244-246)

      In appraising the results so far of the campaign for decency, honesty, and law enforcement in one of your counties and in charting a course for the future, I believe all of us might humbly observe these words from the book of Joshua: “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the laws.” Members of the clergy demonstrated great courage and leadership in the campaign. Their followers and other citizens of the Commonwealth rightfully can be proud of them.

      And let me digress to compliment you for the humility with which you...

    • School Superintendents Conference: Local Control of Schools November 27, 1961
      (pp. 246-251)

      Let us talk tonight about the problems, and especially about the pitfalls and dangers, which we face in working together to advance the cause of education in Kentucky. On this particular occasion I shall not take up your time in recounting the progress which we have made in Kentucky over the past two years. You know that story as well as I do. Each week — each month — the story is unfolded, in the paychecks of our teachers, in the new classrooms and new buildings which are springing up in our local communities, in better transportation for our pupils, and in...

    • Lexington League of Women Voters: What to Expect from the Next General Assembly December 6, 1961
      (pp. 252-255)

      I have observed that the Lexington League of Women Voters is an aggressive organization, that its members are deeply interested in the working of democracy, and that you strive hard to obtain the maximum beneficial results from the system.

      Bless your hearts, I am for you. You also are helping satisfy one of the greatest needs of that system — more active participation by our citizens in politics.

      Last night, in a talk before the Kentucky School Administrators at Louisville, I expressed the hope that our Commission on Public Education would not recommend legislation to restrict the right of schoolteachers to...

    • Executive Order: Removal of Norbert Roll from Office December 7, 1961
      (pp. 255-256)

      Norbert Roll,¹ sheriff of Campbell County, having been charged with neglect of duty, pursuant to KRS 63.090 through 63.160, the Honorable John L. Davis, attorney of Lexington, was appointed as special commissioner to preside at hearings on the charges.

      Commissioner Davis held a number of hearings and has filed his report. The commissioner advises that Sheriff Roll “has at least been guilty of careless failure to exercise due diligence in the performance of his official duties as sheriff.”

      I have reviewed the report and considered the commissioner’s conclusions. The report and conclusions are supported by the record. The applicable statutes...

    • University of Kentucky Convocation: Past Accomplishments and Future Hopes December 13, 1961
      (pp. 256-260)

      In Kentucky, as elsewhere, human resources are our most important product. The extent of Kentucky’s progress must depend, to a great degree, on how well we develop and utilize those resources.

      By the yardstick of population increase, we have not fared well. In the decade of the 1950s, when the nation’s population grew 19 percent, Kentucky’s population increased only 3.2 percent. As you know, this may cost us one of our eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The more serious cost, however, is to be found in the causes for this slow rate of growth.

      Between 1950 and...

    • Kiwanis Club: The 1962 Legislative Session January 17, 1962
      (pp. 260-262)

      Every two years on the first of January the executive department of state government grinds to a halt and the legislature takes over. The constitution provides that the legislature shall meet for sixty legislative days every second year. It is said that by reason of limitation on time and lack of continuity between sessions, the legislature has historically been subject to domination by the executive department. This is true, but during the sixty legislative days, the legislature is supreme. The members walk the corridors of the state Capitol and huddle in Frankfort hotels, with the feeling that they are lords...

    • Executive Order: Removal of Harry Stuart from Office January 20, 1962
      (pp. 262-263)

      Harry Stuart,¹ chief of police of Campbell County, has been charged with neglect of duty under KRS 63.090 through 63.161. The Honorable John L. Davis of Lexington was appointed by me as special commissioner to hear evidence and make recommendations. Mr. Davis has filed his report and has recommended that charges against Chief Stuart be dismissed. The commissioner’s recommendation is based on an order of the Campbell County Court which directed that Chief Stuart limit his duties to the unincorporated areas of the county and assist in incorporated areas only when his services were requested.

      The commissioner found no substantial...

    • Lincoln Institute: Employment of Negroes in State Government January 28, 1962
      (pp. 263-264)

      The Department of Personnel is now completing a survey on the number of Negroes employed by state government, and tentative finds show an encouraging picture. Of the approximately 850 Negroes employed by all agencies of state government, approximately 500 of them are in skilled or professional capacities. Commissioner Gattis¹ informs me there has been an increase of at least 25 percent in the employment of Negroes for skilled positions.

      Ironically the Personnel Department’s survey has been handicapped by its new policy aimed at abolishing discrimination. Under the new merit system law, the state’s personnel forms and records do not show...

    • Farm-City Committee: Elimination of Litter January 30, 1962
      (pp. 265-266)

      One program which is most important to the future progress of Kentucky, and one that both rural and urban groups should work together on, is our beautification and clean-up program. One of Kentucky’s biggest and most expensive problems is litter. Not only does this needless littering look unsightly, but it is a great expense to Kentucky taxpayers. Money that could be so well spent on such things as education, better roads, and better facilities for retarded children must be spent to clean up our highways. More than one-half million dollars is spent each year by the Kentucky Highway Department to...

    • Reorganization Bill February 1, 1962
      (pp. 267-268)

      The reorganization bill which is being introduced today contains two sets of proposals. First, several sections of the bill would simply confirm executive action taken since the last session of the General Assembly. The other provisions result from recommendations of my advisory committee on reorganization.

      I asked the committee for two things — to suggest new patterns of organization which would meet the needs of a modern state government and for their recommendations as to the steps which could be taken at this session of the General Assembly toward implementing such a new plan.

      The combination agency-department structure appears to me...

    • Keep America Beautiful Meeting February 16, 1962
      (pp. 268-269)

      Two years ago I initiated the program to make Kentucky a cleaner, greener land because three great values lay in the grasp of such a campaign. The values are aid to the state’s economic development, a savings in maintenance costs for highways and parks, and an additional source of pride for our citizens.

      Kentucky, like many other states, has problems of unemployment which stemmed in large measure from national recession. We are currently engaged in an intensive, nationwide push to attract new industries and new jobs to our state.

      The day has passed when an industrial prospect considers only the...

    • Conference of the Council of the Southern Mountains: Coping with the Problems of Appalachia February 23, 1962
      (pp. 269-273)

      The problems of the Appalachian region are not dissimilar to those of other regions. The trouble is we have more of them — and in greater degree. In all the factors contributing to the Appalachian problem, we will find consistencies of the major national problems. For instance: automation, decline in farm employment and farm income, mobility of population, difficulty in constructing and maintaining basic community facilities from current revenues, not enough new industry, and not enough jobs.

      In virtually every case, as your survey shows, these problems exist with greater intensity and in greater combination in this region. It is the...

    • Joint Legislative Investigating Committee on Truck Deal March 5, 1962
      (pp. 273-279)

      I want the record to show that I am appearing as a witness before this committee at my own request. I believe firmly in the theory of separation of powers of government. I believe that the governor, as head of the executive department, is not subject to subpoena, either by the legislature or by a body created by the legislature.

      I have requested the opportunity to appear as a witness because I, as governor, requested the legislature to set up this committee to make full inquiry into all the facts concerning the subject at hand. That being so, and my...

    • Newspaper Account of Truck Deal March 11, 1962
      (pp. 280-280)

      The political story in Sunday’sCourier-Journalis just anotherCourier-Journalpipe dream. This story is apparently one of a series and all of us are looking forward to future installments.

      It has been said that a blind hog will occasionally find an acorn. If the boys keep trying, they eventually may come close to the truth.

      It is getting a little monotonous denying theCourier-Journal’spolitical stories. I want to announce now that failure to deny stories should not be construed as confirmation....

    • Midway Junior College: Community Colleges in Kentucky March 17, 1962
      (pp. 280-283)

      My interest in junior colleges is more than academic. It is personal. Were it not for a junior college, which also provided a job for earning tuition, board, and room back in the depression days of the early 1930s, I might not be standing before you today.

      Cumberland College, at Williamsburg, Kentucky, provided that opportunity. It enabled me to obtain two years of college training, which in turn enabled me to get a better-paying job and to earn enough money to complete my college education at the University of Kentucky. At that time there were only 178 junior colleges in...

    • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: Management, Labor, and State Government April 10, 1962
      (pp. 283-286)

      Against the advice of some friends, I want to take up a subject they consider indelicate for a gathering of this kind. That subject is the legislature and what it did in the fields of management and labor.

      I understand some of you are calling Combs pro-labor. When the labor folks read the March 27 issue ofAmerican Banker,I imagine some called Combs pro-capital. TheAmerican Bankerreported that Ralph Fontaine,¹ executive vice president of the Kentucky Bankers Association, was “mildly and modestly jubilant” over the association’s efforts in the recent legislative session. Fontaine was quoted as follows: “The...

    • Kentucky Public Health Association: Public Health in Kentucky April 11, 1962
      (pp. 286-289)

      Today you are doing much in the prevention of disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical and mental efficiency through organized community effort. Dr. Teague¹ recently reported that both the quality and quantity of services have been greatly improved in the areas of prevention, medical services, and control of the environment. The direct services which you are providing to citizens of the Commonwealth are indeed an important contribution.

      Your programs are receiving substantial support from state government. For example, at the beginning of my administration the general fund appropriations for the Department of Health was raised to $4,547,335, an increase of...

    • Frankfort Kiwanis Club: The Future of Kentucky State College April 12, 1962
      (pp. 289-290)

      The Council on Public Higher Education has launched a study of Kentucky State College to ascertain its future role in our system of higher education. As you know, this study was undertaken at the request of the college’s regents. The council will employ consultants and invite the opinions of interested persons. It will be a sound, thorough study, and it will be completed by June 30.

      I think we can all agree that Kentucky State College is a valuable asset to the community, culturally, economically, and educationally. And we owe gratitude to Dr. Atwood,¹ who has devoted thirty-three years to...

    • Dedication of Garrison Elementary School Library April 21, 1962
      (pp. 290-292)

      Within the last few years more knowledge and information about this amazing world have been discovered than in all the past eras of mankind’s existence. Kentucky’s citizens are faced with the responsibility of using this knowledge. We cannot go forward if we do not unlock the doors of the world’s knowledge. Without libraries and bookmobile service, the doors will remain shut.

      In 1960 we passed a law in Kentucky making libraries a requirement in elementary schools. Here is where children develop reading habits which stay with them throughout life. The minimum foundation program has received enough funds to make the...

    • Kentucky Federation of Chapters of Council for Exceptional Children: The Education of Exceptional Children May 12, 1962
      (pp. 292-293)

      Kentucky’s state government recognizes that every child is entitled to an education to the extent of his capabilities. Satisfying the needs of the exceptional children, such as the deaf, the blind, the crippled, and the mentally retarded, presents one of education’s greatest challenges. These children must be helped, not only as a moral obligation, to develop their talents and skills so that, within the limits of their capabilities, they can become self-sufficient citizens and make a contribution to society. The rewards to society are well worth the cost of this education.

      It is estimated that Kentucky has approximately 79,000 exceptional...

    • Committee of 500: The Need to Defend Decency May 16, 1962
      (pp. 294-296)

      In the past twelve months, the moral climate of your county has improved beyond what many would have believed possible. Now the air of Campbell County is freer and cleaner. No longer are flagrant violations of law openly connived at by public officials. No longer are those citizens who struggled against great odds for the application of equal justice under law subjected to assault. No longer is the solemn oath which citizens take when they assume their responsibilities as public officials regarded as a hypocritical sham.

      But the victory which decency has won in Campbell County is not yet permanent....

    • Conference on Human Rights: Human Rights in Kentucky June 6, 1962
      (pp. 296-298)

      This state is committed to a public policy of encouraging fair treatment for, and discouraging discrimination against, any racial or ethnic group or its members. While we have a long way to go, I believe we are making considerable progress.

      The implementation of this policy should not be left to the Commission on Human Rights alone. Rather we must involve the many units of government and many private organizations to reach the goal of equal opportunity. We have given particular attention to state government as the proper leader in this effort.

      Let me mention just a few of the departments...

    • Tennessee Municipal League: Economic Progress in Kentucky June 12, 1962
      (pp. 298-301)

      There is a marked similarity between our two states geographically; economically, our assets and problems are common. The people of Kentucky and Tennessee have the same hopes and aspirations, for they both seek a better life for themselves and their children.

      The 1960 census showed that the trend in America, and in our states, was toward larger urban areas. A predominantly rural state is like a large circus — a thing of the past. And as communities grow, many problems are created — problems that can only be solved by the state. So I would speak today about the services the state...

    • Reapportionment June 19, 1962
      (pp. 301-302)

      The meeting yesterday was very informative, and information was developed which will be useful in making a decision. I intend to give the subject mature thought before making a judgment. I am prepared to do my duty as I see it, but I do not intend to play to the grandstand, nor will I be stampeded.

      It is true the constitution provides for reapportionment every ten years, and we have had no reapportionment in Kentucky since 1942. It is also true that all citizens of Kentucky are entitled to equality in legislative representation. I am of the opinion, however, that...

    • Kentucky Welfare Association Regional Meeting: A “New Look” in Welfare Administration June 21, 1962
      (pp. 302-304)

      Our purpose here today is to do some constructive and effective planning toward obtaining the best possible services for eastern Kentucky. Needless to say, all Kentucky will benefit from what is learned here.

      Some twenty-five years ago, our state, like others, was faced with a challenge to organize and launch a new program of public assistance. Today a new challenge is facing our state in discovering the weakness and gaps in our present program and devising new schemes to guarantee greater services to those of our fellow citizens unable to help themselves.

      The Commonwealth is trying for a “new look”...

    • Solutions to Old and New State Problems July 2, 1962
      (pp. 304-306)

      It has been said with a degree of accuracy that a governor’s office is a political graveyard. This is especially true when it becomes necessary for a governor to sponsor an unpopular program, such as an increase in taxes, in order for the state to maintain its fiscal responsibility.

      It was apparent when I became governor of Kentucky that if we were to make any real progress in the fields of education and highways, as well as in other related fields, it would be necessary to obtain a substantial increase in state revenue and also to initiate a program of...

    • Chamber of Commerce Dinner Honoring Campbellsville College July 12, 1962
      (pp. 306-309)

      The institution that has become Campbellsville College was christened Russell Creek Academy at its birth in 1907. That, incidentally, was four years before the present governor of Kentucky was born. Hence, when I contemplate changes that have occurred in the hills and valleys of Kentucky since my childhood days, I am thinking at the same time of changes that have come about during the lifetime of this institution that we are honoring today.

      In 1907 the Russell Creek Baptist Association was keenly aware of the need of better trained teachers and of ministers of the gospel in Taylor County and...

    • West Frankfort Kiwanis Club: Bonded Indebtedness July 16, 1962
      (pp. 309-312)

      A governor and his administration have, in my opinion, two important responsibilities as servants of the people. Those responsibilities are: 1) To provide for the reasonable needs of the people that fall within the framework of state government; and 2) To provide for those needs in the most expeditious, efficient, and economical manner possible.

      I would like this evening to discuss with you, who are businessmen and civic leaders, what has been done to meet these responsibilities since I took office in December 1959, and how and why.

      It is a significant fact that since the tum of the century...

    • Kentucky Commission on Reapportionment July 16, 1962
      (pp. 312-313)

      I am willing to call a special session of the legislature if and when I become convinced we are in position to obtain from the legislature a redistricting law which would be fair to the people of Kentucky and acceptable to the courts.

      I am frank to say, however, that I will not be stampeded into permitting this issue to become involved in the political fights of the moment. To deal soundly with reapportionment is one thing; but to allow this issue to be traded upon in the emotional setting of a partisan or factional battle is to risk the...

    • Southeastern Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous: A Major Public Health Problem August 16, 1962
      (pp. 313-314)

      Tonight I feel that I am addressing not just a group of Kentuckians and visitors to Kentucky. I am speaking to a very special assemblage — people who through their individual trials and their recovery have become a very special type of people. Your illness and recovery, with the help of the AA program, have given to you a new life and, perhaps for some of you, the gift of life itself.

      You have found a freedom from doubt and despair through faith in a better future. You have been given a gift of understanding and have learned that in the...

    • Luncheon for Wilson Wyatt: A Democratic Senator for Kentucky August 25, 1962
      (pp. 314-317)

      This is not a formal campaign opening, but in a very real sense it opens a campaign — the campaign of the Democratic party to elect Wilson Wyatt United States senator and to elect all the Democratic congressional nominees in Kentucky this coming November. But this is not merely a campaign on behalf of the Democratic party. It is a campaign on behalf of every Kentuckian who wants to see his state represented effectively in the nation’s legislative councils and on behalf of every American who wants to see his country move forward under the leadership of John F. Kennedy.


    • Dedication of Carter Caves State Park Lodge August 25, 1962
      (pp. 317-319)

      We are here to dedicate one of America’s most beautiful recreational parks. By coincidence we are here at the beginning of one of the most beautiful seasons in Kentucky. The brush of autumn treats Kentucky with a kind and artistic touch and brings our countryside into one of its peaks of greatest beauty. As a mountain man I have always thought Kentucky hills are most beautiful in the brilliant colors of fall and in the wakening hours of spring.

      Thousands of travelers have waited for fall’s unusual beauty and to this less crowded season for their vacation. We welcome them...

    • Wyatt Campaign Opening September 21, 1962
      (pp. 319-320)

      Back in the days when labor unions did a lot of singing, there was a favorite song among the men which went like this: “Solidarity forever — Union makes us strong.” Tonight — as we open this campaign to elect a Democratic United States senator and Democratic congressmen — our slogan should be: “Solidarity forever — Unity makes us strong.”

      I want to add my words of welcome to those of Senator Kinkead¹ and the nominees, words of welcome to every Democrat here, regardless of previous factional allegiance.

      We need and we want — and the nominees are entitled to the active, vigorous, wholehearted support...

    • Land of “Nowhere” Dedication of Park Lodge September 22, 1962
      (pp. 321-322)

      May I welcome you to the land of “nowhere.” We are here in the land of “nowhere” to dedicate a substitute for the “back to nature” facilities originally approved for this park. I believe you will agree that this lodge will serve here in this land of “nowhere” as an appropriate substitute for those back-to-nature facilities, consisting of rustic-type cottages, with a central shower and outdoor toilets.

      I take the position that, even though we do live in the land of “nowhere,” our children and our people are entitled to park and recreational facilities equal to those in other parts...

    • Albert B. Chandler September 24, 1962
      (pp. 323-323)

      I must have struck a nerve with the “Chicken Little” story. Hap calls me “Birdeye Bertie” on Thursday and his people think it is very funny. On Saturday I tell a harmless little story about Chicken Little, Henny Penny, and Ducky Lucky, and Happy acts like the sky is really falling in. He must be losing his sense of humor....

    • Democratic Fund-Raising Dinner October 6, 1962
      (pp. 323-327)

      I know that many of you are wondering why you had to pay to hear Combs speak. I understand they had a high-level conference about who would speak at this dinner. They couldn’t agree on a speaker and finally decided they wouldn’t have any. It was then that Margaret Rose¹ said, “We will just get Bert Combs.”

      I understand there are a great many Baptists here, and you might be interested in knowing that I am the first Baptist governor of Kentucky in the last 100 years. This probably doesn’t prove anything except that we Baptists are poor politicians, but...

    • Wyatt’s Defeat November 7, 1962
      (pp. 327-329)

      I had hoped it would not be necessary for me to make a statement about yesterday’s election, but Mr. Chandler’s charge, prepared by his ghost writer, the pious Mr. Leary,¹ leaves me no choice.

      I have known both defeat and victory in politics and have learned to accept victory with equanimity and to accept defeat without bitterness. Chandler and Mr. Leary worked actively to defeat Wilson Wyatt while piously professing their allegiance to the Democratic ticket. When Wilson Wyatt was a candidate, they did a very efficient hatchet job on him. Now that Wyatt has been defeated, they have resumed...

    • Reaction to Chandler November 8, 1962
      (pp. 329-330)

      It is another Chandler lie, and he knows it. Unfortunately for Mr. Chandler, Mr. Breathitt¹ will run and in my opinion will win. Moreover, I will join those thousands of Kentucky people who are interested in good government and will support Mr. Breathitt to The best of my ability....

    • Civil Defense Conference of County Judges and Mayors: Preparations for Disaster November 9, 1962
      (pp. 330-332)

      People will look to you for leadership in time of emergency created by the threat of thermonuclear attack or natural disaster. We are aware, you and I, of our responsibilities to the citizens of Kentucky for protection.

      1. On June 27, 1960, I issued an executive order outlining the responsibilities of various state departments in the event of war or statewide emergency.

      2. On October 2, 1961, by executive order I created at the state level an emergency resource planning committee, whose membership includes outstanding representatives in the fields of transportation, agriculture, industry, labor, petroleum and fuels, food, government, and...

    • Kentucky Association of School Administrators: Protection of the Rights of Schoolchildren November 10, 1962
      (pp. 332-334)

      Kentucky ranks fourteenth in the nation in the percentage of personal income contributed to public schools. The figure is 2.1 percent in Kentucky, as compared with the national average of 1.5 percent. Kentucky ranks seventh in the percentage of state and local government revenue which goes to public schools. The figure is 38.1 percent, as compared with the national average of 33.9 percent. We are eighth in the percentage increase of public school instructors’ salaries in the last ten years (77.6 percent). We are sixteenth in the percent of increase in current expenditures per pupil in average daily attendance in...

    • Kentucky Welfare Association: Fifty Years of Welfare Progress November 14, 1962
      (pp. 335-337)

      It is a pleasure for me to be with you today at the beginning of your fiftieth anniversary conference. The Kentucky Welfare Association has been an integral part of Kentucky’s history during the past fifty years. It has contributed much to the well-being of all Kentuckians during that time. It continues to be a vital force today as you commemorate the golden anniversary of your founding.

      The welfare field and the many hundreds of people employed in it have always played an important role in the Bluegrass Commonwealth. Fifty years ago, when your organization had its beginning, welfare work consisted...

    • Kentucky Chapter, American Society for Public Administration: Public Administration in Kentucky December 14, 1962
      (pp. 338-339)

      This group is well aware that state government and related city and county governments constitute the largest, most varied, most complex business in the state. They touch the lives and fortunes of three million citizens in many direct and indirect ways.

      You people in this room tonight play an indispensable role in this business, performing a great variety of complex services for your fellow citizens. Over 4,000 of the 18,000 employees in state government are required now to have specialized skills and training which can be acquired only in college. Many of you obtained from four to eight years of...

    • Jefferson County Medical Society: Expansion of State Public Health Facilities December 17, 1962
      (pp. 340-346)

      Public health is a subject of major concern in state government, but it is a teamwork undertaking which requires also the responsibility of the communities and individuals — especially individuals in your profession.

      What state government can accomplish depends in part on the good counsel, efforts, and cooperation of those who are professionals and specialists in the field of health and medicine. As one example of what state government has accomplished with your help, ninety-nine counties now have health offices, as compared with seventy-eight counties three years ago. Since January 1, 1960, health centers have been constructed in nineteen counties. A...

    • Executive Order: Pardon of Harry Stuart December 21, 1962
      (pp. 346-346)

      Whereas, Harry Stuart was removed from the office of chief of police of Campbell County by executive order dated January 20, 1962; and

      Whereas, KRS 63.990 provides that any peace officer so removed from office shall be disqualified from holding any office in this state for a period of four years;

      Now, THEREFORE, I, BERT COMBS, governor of the Commonwealth, by virtue of the power vested in me by section 77 of the constitution, do hereby and now pardon Harry Stuart and restore all civil rights which were denied him by the penalty in KRS 63.990....

    • Statement to the Press on Stuart’s Pardon December 21, 1962
      (pp. 347-347)

      I have today restored to Harry Stuart all civil rights which were taken from him by reason of his removal from office by my executive order of January 20, 1962. My reasons are these: 1) Stuart’s ouster was ordered to attain certain results, to attack an intolerable situation which could only be corrected by positive action; 2) While Stuart was guilty of neglect of duty, he was in part a victim of circumstance and a product of a vicious system; 3) The commissioner who heard the case found extenuating circumstances in Stuart’s favor; 4) Stuart had paid sufficient penalty for...

    • Bluegrass Kiwanis Club: Education in Kentucky January 24, 1963
      (pp. 347-351)

      Informed Kentuckians know that we have made substantial progress in education in the last three years. Even so, the 1960 census shows that the educational level of Kentucky’s population over age fourteen was the lowest in the nation. The median educational level of Kentuckians is 8.9 years of schooling. The people of Mississippi and West Virginia — the next two lowest states in the nation — attained 9.1 years of school.

      Dr. Frank Rose¹ in a speech here in Lexington last Tuesday expressed grave concern about our failure to properly educate the youth of Kentucky and America. To quote Dr. Rose, “No...

    • Lincoln Trail Travel Conference February 13, 1963
      (pp. 351-353)

      If Mary Todd Lincoln¹ had not put her foot down, we would have a bigger job on our hands in this conference today. Instead of laying out a trail from Kentucky through Indiana to Illinois, we would be planning a transcontinental route to the West Coast. You may recall that after Lincoln completed a term in Congress in 1849, he was offered the governorship of the new territory of Oregon. He was sorely tempted to accept, but his wife said “no,” and Lincoln yielded to her wishes.

      We from Kentucky are grateful for this opportunity to participate in a project...

    • Chicago Conference for Brotherhood: The Death of Segregation February 24, 1963
      (pp. 353-357)

      To make brotherhood week more than a mere festive occasion, we must live by the tenets which make up Christian brotherhood. Unless we live by those principles, our voices are no more than sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

      Equality and cooperation are the lamps of civilization. As civilized people, then, we Americans must accept the challenge and lead the way. We must light the torch of freedom for oppressed people, both at home and all over the world. Only by so doing will our nation become equipped to take its rightful place in the vanguard of the present world liberation...

    • Subcommittee on Public Works Appropriations of the Committee on Appropriations: United States House of Representatives February 28, 1963
      (pp. 358-363)

      I am Bert Combs, governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I am here to discuss with you the urgent economic needs of the people of southern and southeastern Kentucky, as well as of neighboring areas of Tennessee, and of the unusual opportunity for effective development of a new economy for this area. This opportunity centers primarily upon the dramatic economic impacts which would result from the construction of the Devils Jump Dam in McCreary County, Kentucky.¹

      The creation of a great new dam and reservoir at Devils Jump — when added to all the development projects and programs we have working...

    • Frank Peterson Case March 4, 1963
      (pp. 363-366)

      Section 81 of the Kentucky Constitution provides that the governor “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

      KRS 164.130 provides that the governor shall be chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Kentucky.

      KRS 164.130 (3) provides that no member of the administrative staff of the Board of Trustees shall be directly or indirectly interested in a contract with the university for the sale of property, materials, supplies, equipment, or services. This statute became effective March 25, 1960.

      I consider it my duty to apprise you of certain business concerns in which it appears that...

    • Frankfort Business and Professional Women’s Club: Public Participation in Public Affairs March 4, 1963
      (pp. 367-369)

      I understand that the members of your organization engage in many activities in addition to promoting the best interests of business and professional women — activities such as the United Fund, the Heart Fund, lending money to deserving college students, and supplying linens to the Kennebec Hall Orphange. This, in my opinion, is splendid. “Woman power,” which you represent, can be applied effectively in undertakings where men would be strangers and less effective.

      Kipling once said, “A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.” That is why this evening I would like to suggest other areas in which...

    • Kentucky Highway Conference: Kentucky’s Best Highway Program March 5, 1963
      (pp. 369-374)

      The function of the Department of Highways is to build and maintain roads. This is the department's purpose. This is its reason for being. All other functions are secondary. What measure of success in this direction has been achieved in recent years?

      I think the Department of Highways in particular and the highway industry in general can justly share a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment as we review the events of the past three years. We can fairly say that this is the best highway program in the history of Kentucky. We can say that never has...

    • Kentucky School Boards Association: The Wise Spending of Public Education Funds March 12, 1963
      (pp. 374-377)

      Nothing worse could happen to Kentucky than to interrupt the progress we are making in education. We must do everything possible to make certain that this does not happen. This progress could be interrupted if the people of Kentucky became convinced that the money which they provide for the education of their children is not spent wisely.

      Kentucky taxpayers are making a greater sacrifice than ever before in order to provide an education for their children. In the last three years, the General Assembly, expressing the will of the people, has increased funds available to education by $75 million annually....

    • Introduction of Attorney General Robert Kennedy March 18, 1963
      (pp. 377-379)

      This meeting to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation should be much more than an occasion to take note of what happened in our country 100 years ago. It should be an occasion for an examination of the progress that has been made in 100 years as well as a recognition of our failures. The passage of time alone will not bring about the changes which are needed. President Lincoln knew this when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation and we must not wait for time alone to extend human rights as we consider what should be done...

    • Kentucky Hospital Association: Hospital Care in Kentucky April 2, 1963
      (pp. 379-382)

      Kentucky today has over 150 hospitals with nearly 18,000 beds. Most of these are voluntary, nonprofit, general, community hospitals that in recent years have assumed an increasingly important role in the health and welfare of our communities.

      We in state government are not unaware of the strategic role which the hospital can play as a central base from which personal health services are provided to our citizens. Public concern and interest in the development and operation of hospitals gives real evidence of the fact that hospital care (as a basic element of medical care) is today considered a commodity essential...

    • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: Protect Kentucky’s Progress April 9, 1963
      (pp. 382-385)

      We have not achieved all that Kentucky needs. But I think we have made progress. We have completed some programs and initiated others which, I hope, will be carried to completion by my successor.

      Education has received our major attention, because the need admittedly was greatest in that area and because the people indicated they wished education to receive number one priority. Appropriations for all education have been increased by more than $75 million a year. Teachers’ salaries have been increased by $1,100 a year. More than $71.5 million has been invested in public school building improvements, and some $38...

    • Committee for Fort Thomas: Electioneering Antics in Kentucky April 24, 1963
      (pp. 385-387)

      The story of the Committee for Fort Thomas, and the role your members played in protecting the respectable name of Campbell County, is an inspiring one. I have been proud to associate with people who have the fortitude to stand up in public for what is right and decent for their community. Yours is the sort of spirit which will overcome the problems of Kentucky and elevate our Commonwealth to the position of eminence which it deserves.

      We have made progress in Kentucky, I believe; and we have under way programs which should assure much more progress. Two examples, of...

    • Dedication Ceremonies for East Hardin High School April 28, 1963
      (pp. 387-389)

      The dedication of two fine school buildings in one county on the same day is an event of which any school superintendent should be proud. I’m sure that Mr. Burkhead¹ is as pleased as I am to note the many advantages that have come to Hardin County students through improvement of their schools.

      Mr. Burkhead tells me that when he became superintendent of the Hardin County schools about twenty-nine years ago, he had over 100 one-room elementary schools and six high schools. Today, with the opening of the East Hardin and West Hardin high schools, the consolidation program of Hardin...

    • University of Louisville Law Day: Law and Liberty May 1, 1963
      (pp. 390-392)

      While we are here commemorating Law Day U.S.A., the annual celebration of the first of May in the Soviet Union is drawing to a close. The tanks have rumbled their way past the reviewing stand. The rockets, planes, and troops have been displayed to the captive audience and once again, the government of men in the Kremlin rests assured that its show of brute force is the complete answer to all the ills of mankind, real or fancied.

      Undoubtedly our defensive weapons are in place and our soldiers are on a twenty-four-hour alert. The men of theThresher¹ have proved...

    • Dedication of Mountain Parkway May 8, 1963
      (pp. 392-394)

      We are here to do more than dedicate a superhighway. We are here today to reaffirm our faith in the future of the area in which we stand. We are here to bring new hope and confidence to the courageous people who reside in the shadow of these majestic mountains.

      These parallel strips of concrete cutting through rugged hills symbolize more than a modern highway. I think of them as twin messsengers of optimism and progress. With the completion of the eastem extension of the Mountain Parkway to Pikeville and the southern leg to Whitesburg, the people of eastern Kentucky...

    • Governor’s Conference on Housing for the Elderly: Decent Housing for Every Citizen May 13, 1963
      (pp. 394-399)

      I want to thank all of you who accepted my invitation to attend the first Governor’s Conference on Housing for the Elderly. The Commission on Aging sponsored a similar conference last year, and today’s meeting is a continuation of its work. Tom Ray has outlined for you the objectives of this workshop session. They are objectives which I consider extremely important.

      Every citizen is entitled to decent housing. Shelter is one of the essentials of life and housing for the elderly is one of the most urgent unmet social problems facing us today. It stands high on any current list...

    • Kentucky Fiscal Policy May 16, 1963
      (pp. 400-408)

      Four years ago you placed your confidence in this administration and supported its bold program for Kentucky’s future. During these four years we have been diligent and faithful in our efforts to fulfill that trust. When we took office we pledged a covenant with you which has guided our every act.

      In these past few weeks we have become disturbed about certain strong statements being made by Mr. A. B. Chandler against the integrity of this administration. Now, we welcome criticism. That’s what has made our American democracy strong. But these particular statements are not criticisms. They are accusations, accusations...

    • Kentucky School for the Deaf Commencement May 29, 1963
      (pp. 408-410)

      Many of Kentucky’s young people do not complete high school. You have done so under conditions that would discourage many people. The fact that you have succeeded in getting your diploma is a credit to your character and perseverance.

      Actually, everybody has a handicap, and some of these handicaps are more than physical disability, because they are handicaps of the mind, like arrogance, selfishness, greed, and envy. Fortunately, there are compensations for handicaps. It was Emerson who said: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else.” For this we find both proof and inspiration in the immortal works...

    • Governor’s Conference on Human Rights: Additional Laws for Human Rights June 7, 1963
      (pp. 410-412)

      It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to this third annual Conference on Human Rights. I think these conferences have proven to be helpful in bringing together Kentucky’s civil rights leaders. This will be my last such conference as governor, but I believe my successor will want to continue to call such conferences.

      It has been nearly three years since I spoke to the first meeting of the Commission on Human Rights and I think some review is indicated. I am also interested in mentioning efforts which we should be making in the coming months.

      I do want...

    • Voters League of Covington: The Responsibility to Vote June 19, 1963
      (pp. 413-415)

      Daniel Webster once said: “Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote.” I congratulate you for participating in this organization. You are giving your hearts and your hands to your obligations, as American citizens, to strengthen democracy.

      Last February, in a speech before an interracial organization known as the Chicago Conference for Brotherhood, I remarked that the American Negro can move faster toward economic and social equality by making himself strong at his polling place. We are more likely to succeed in correcting injustices if we deal from strength....

    • Dedication of Kentucky Tuberculosis Association’s New Building June 24, 1963
      (pp. 415-417)

      It is always a pleasure to take part in the dedication of a new building because almost always it signifies progress and the realization of the dreams of dedicated people. This dedication is no different. It is another milestone in our state’s long struggle against tuberculosis. And the struggle hasn’t been easy. For many generations Kentuckians have faced a vast tuberculosis problem. The cause of death stamped on death certificates of many of our forebears was tuberculosis. Today, this has been changed and even though TB still claims more lives in Kentucky than all other infectious diseases combined, it no...

    • Executive Order: Desegregation in Places of Public Accommodations June 26, 1963
      (pp. 417-418)

      Whereas, the denial of equal opportunity in an access to places of public accommodations because of race, color, creed, or national origin, is unfair, unjust, and inconsistent with the public policy of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as manifested in its constitution and in the Constitution of the United States; and

      Whereas, the executive branch of the government in executing the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the United States which prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, or national origin, is charged with an obligation and duty to assure that those laws are fairly administered and that benefits...

    • Kentucky School for the Blind Commencement July 6, 1963
      (pp. 419-420)

      I’m very glad to be back with you again and especially pleased to see the changes since my last visit. Your new building is coming along rapidly. The last time I was here, I said that if the building was not ready for use next fall, some heads would be knocked together. I’m sticking by that promise.

      I believe this new building will be a symbol of Kentucky's modern approach to the education of the blind. The graduates who come after this 1963 class will have a better environment in which to get their education because of this new classroom...

    • Guidelines for Implementation of Executive Order of June 26 July 7, 1963
      (pp. 421-421)

      1. The governor considers the executive order a middle-of-the-road approach and thinks that it should be given reasonable and equitable interpretation.

      2. The order will be construed to authorize only those steps which have been directed or clearly implied by decisions of the federal courts or the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

      3. First consideration should be given to the areas covered by the ordinance of the city of Louisville so as to have uniformity throughout the state.

      4. The executive order is not considered a permanent solution to the problem, but only a means of keeping Kentucky in a flexible...

    • Executive Order of June 26 July 15, 1963
      (pp. 422-424)

      One of the most critical problems in America today is that of civil rights. In Mississippi, Alabama, Maryland, Georgia, Chicago, and other places, there is turmoil and confusion. The National Guard is now on active duty in Maryland to maintain law and order. Police dogs, cattle prods, and fire hoses have been used against American citizens.

      Our national Congress is now considering civil rights legislation. A feeling of tension and uneasiness grips the nation. We have been fortunate in Kentucky in that we have had no open strife in the struggle for civil rights. The 1960 Kentucky Legislature created a...

    • Coal Industry July 22, 1963
      (pp. 424-426)

      Our states rank number one and number two in the production of bituminous coal,¹ but during the last decade coal markets have declined or have been stablilized at a level entirely too low, causing a high level of unemployment in coal-producing areas.

      Coal has a vital stake in policies affecting both imports and exports of our goods and commodities. Coal markets along the East Coast are seriously threatened by increasing imports of residual fuel oil. At the present time imports amount to the equivalent of some fifty million tons of coal annually.

      The amount is less serious than the manner...

    • Governors’ Conference: Racial Relations in Kentucky July 23, 1963
      (pp. 426-428)

      Kentucky, as you know, is a border state, but it is more south than it is north. About 8 percent of our population are Negroes.

      We have been putting great emphasis on programs for improving education and highways, developing state parks, attracting new industry, and other related programs. We feel that we should not permit these programs to be jeopardized by confusion and strife in the field of civil rights.

      We have had no serious problems in this border state, perhaps because the last three governors took a rather liberal position on the issue of civil rights. Under them, and...

    • Eastern Kentucky State College Commencement August 1, 1963
      (pp. 428-433)

      I want to speak to you tonight about education, and specifically about the education of Kentuckians. No one in a position of leadership in Kentucky can avoid a continuing concern with a subject that at once constitutes our greatest problem and greatest opportunity.

      I like to think that Kentucky is coming of age as a state. Most Kentuckians take pride in the fact that Kentucky is now a state other states watch with interest and admiration; that we have a new pride and awareness of our place in the nation. No man with a feeling for his state and its...

    • Kentucky Education Association Leadership Conference: Education, the Key to the Future August 4, 1963
      (pp. 433-436)

      Every poll, every survey of public opinion, indicates that education holds first place in the hearts of Kentuckians. The people of this Commonwealth feel, and feel deeply, that if there is a single key which can unlock the expanding and improving future which we covet for our children, education is that key.

      This poses a great challenge to the people of Kentucky and an even greater challenge to those of you who are intimately identified with education. The people of Kentucky have shown time and again that they are willing to sacrifice for the sake of their children and for...

    • Kentucky Development Council: Kentucky’s Unfinished Business August 15, 1963
      (pp. 436-439)

      In reviewing the programs discussed here today, I am reminded anew of the broad front upon which government operates in a modern state. I am reminded, too, as I know you are, of the progress which, in spite of many failures and frustrations, has been made during the past four years. I am reminded, too, of the selfless and productive contribution which you members of the Economic Development Council¹ have made to that progress. Let me extend to you once more the thanks of a grateful Commonwealth for what you have done and are doing to provide greater opportunities and...

    • Floyd County Council for Retarded Children: Programs for the Retarded September 2, 1963
      (pp. 439-442)

      Kentucky is awakening to the needs of the mentally retarded, and I think we are taking positive steps to restore them to their worth as valuable members of our society. With specialized and skilled assistance, large numbers of the mentally retarded can make substantial contributions in a wide variety of occupations. Research into the causes and prevention of mental retardation is vital to the solution of this tremendous problem, but our immediate need is to provide expert assistance to those for whom such research will have come too late.

      Since the majority of our retarded reside in the communities, emphasis...

    • Food Purchases for the Governor’s Residence September 17, 1963
      (pp. 442-444)

      Mr. Nunn’s criticism of the purchase of food for the governor’s residence shows woeful lack of knowledge of the state’s method of feeding not only those state employees of the residence and Capitol grounds, but the thousands of Kentuckians who visit the residence as guests of the state. The photostatic copies of requisitions made public by Mr. Nunn purporting to cover a period of fifteen consecutive weeks actually cover about seven months and were obviously not selected at random. Historically, trustees from the LaGrange Reformatory have been used as employees in the governor’s residence and on the Capitol grounds. As...

    • Accomplishments September 24, 1963
      (pp. 445-449)

      The motion picture we have just seen was made to present the story of your state government during the past four years. It shows how we have worked to keep the covenant I made with you four years ago. But this report is more than an accounting to you of four years of state government. It is a story of Kentucky. It is a story of your state. It is your story. The achievements, the aspirations are ultimately your own. You have helped Kentucky enter an era of progress unlike any in our state’s history. You have given your state...

    • Central Kentucky Education Association: Educational Television in Kentucky September 27, 1963
      (pp. 449-453)

      As it is true that the business of a free society is never finished, it is also true that the business of education is never fully achieved. And what we hope to accomplish in the field of education is limited only by our imagination. In moving ahead, the processes of advancement serve to open up new and larger goals. Kentuckians today feel that if there is a single key which can unlock the door to a brighter future, that key is education.

      At the beginning of this decade, many of our schools were inadequate and overcrowded. Our teachers were underpaid...

    • Democratic Fund-Raising September 28, 1963
      (pp. 453-458)

      I’m glad that all my old friends here still recognize me. After all the food I’m supposed to be stuffing myself with at the residence, I was afraid I might be so fat they might not know me.

      But wasn’t that something? The idea of Lard Tub Louie accusing anybody of overeating. You could put a wig on Louie and an honest look on his face and you couldn’t tell him from Kate Smith. Except that he couldn’t bring the moon over the mountain. He doesn’t want to bring anything to the mountains, not even a revenue agent to Floyd...

    • United Brick and Clay Workers of America: Labor’s Role in State Government October 1, 1963
      (pp. 458-460)

      Your vice president, Earl Ballew,¹ has been a valued adviser on labor policy and labor legislation. As legislative representative of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, he has been one of the hardest working lobbyists in Frankfort, both during sessions of the General Assembly and when the legislature is not in session. The executive secretary of your Kentucky AFL-CIO, Sam Ezelle,² was appointed by me to the Board of Trustees of the University of Kentucky. Another member of your union, John G. Clark,³ is a safety inspector for the state. With the good counsel of people like Earl Ballew and Sam Ezelle, we...

    • Unveiling of Barkley Statue October 3, 1963
      (pp. 460-461)

      It is fitting, I think, for us here in this rotunda to stop the clock for a few minutes; to tum off Valachi, forget Koufax and the Dodgers, cease our worry about Vietnam, tax reduction, the nuclear test ban, and Kentucky politics. It is appropriate that we honor one of Kentucky’s great.

      In many ways Alben Barkley was Kentucky. He was as much Kentucky as a Thoroughbred horse, a bluegrass pasture, the night riders, a mountain stream, or country ham. But Barkley was also America. He was not only Kentucky’s senator, he was a national senator. He was a Kentucky...

    • Democratic Women’s Club: Vote for Breathitt October 4, 1963
      (pp. 461-463)

      Two issues in this campaign that every Kentuckian ought to think about are experience or inexperience and inconsistency. Mr. Breathitt has long and valuable experience in state government. Mr. Breathitt has been consistent in his programs and in his promises. Mr. Nunn has no experience in state government, and he has been inconsistent in both his platform and his promises.

      Mr. Breathitt has served three terms as a member of the legislature. During this service he fought for progressive measures. During this service he acquired an intimate knowledge of state government and how it operates. Mr. Breathitt has served as...

    • Inauguration of President Hill October 11, 1963
      (pp. 463-466)

      We have come here today to initiate formally the administration of a man who in my judgment is destined to leave his mark not only on this school but on this state. We have acquired a leader and Kentucky has acquired a citizen who would bring distinction to any state, any college, any place where learning and scholarship are treasured. Emerson said, and rightly, that: “The highest compliment that can be paid a man is that he is a teacher.”

      A college president has many duties and many responsibilities. He must not only be an educator, he must be an...

    • Governor’s Conference on Aging: Improved Care for the Elderly October 14, 1963
      (pp. 467-474)

      Never before in our history has our nation had so many “senior citizens.” Today there are 17.5 million people aged sixty-five or over, nearly one-tenth of our population, and their number increases by 1,000 every day. By 1980 they will number 25 million. Today there are already 25 million people aged sixty and over, nearly 6 million aged seventy-five and over, and more than 10,000 over the age of 100. Here in our great Commonwealth there are approximately 300,000 individuals over sixty-five years of age. This is an increase of 279 percent since 1900. Our overall state population has increased...

    • Conservation Congress: Conservation in Kentucky October 17, 1963
      (pp. 474-475)

      Kentucky is a state of great beauty and with many natural resources, but we have failed to protect that beauty and we have failed to conserve our natural resources. As a result, denuded hillsides contribute to devastating floods; promiscuous cutting of trees has caused our timber stands to deteriorate. Unwise use of our agricultural lands has robbed it of its fertility. Thousands of acres of our forests have been carelessly burned; habitats for our birds and wildlife have been destroyed. Pollution of our streams has killed our fish.

      In recent years our people have become aware of the necessity for...

    • Defense of Administration October 24, 1963
      (pp. 476-477)

      Five months ago when Louie Nunn started his campaign for governor, he chose to make what he called, “the mess in Frankfort” one of his issues. There was nothing new about using these terms in a political campaign. Candidates nearly always run against a real or an imagined “mess in Frankfort.” If there is none, if the state government is being run prudently and efficiently, they try to create a false image of corruption.

      It is my opinion that Nunn’s smoke screen is fooling few people in Kentucky. I hope that the thousands of upstanding Republicans in the state will...

    • Defense of Administration October 29, 1963
      (pp. 477-482)

      This is probably the last chance I shall have to be talking with you as your governor. Four years is a long time in the life of any one of us, but in the history of a great state it is a very short time. For me these have been full and active years. I have enjoyed working with so many of you, trying our best to keep Kentucky moving ahead. The loyal support and cooperation which I have received from so many hundreds of you and the good friends I have made during my years in public office, these...

    • Mountain Parkway Dedication November 1, 1963
      (pp. 483-484)

      I take more pride in the seventy-six-mile Mountain Parkway than any other single accomplishment of my administration. I have that feeling of pride because I see this parkway not just as a super road giving the outside world access to our mountain area for the first time, but as a strong tendon connecting eastern Kentucky to the body of our Commonwealth.

      This Mountain Parkway opens up an eighteen-county area for travel on our national system of interstate and defense highways. By using this parkway, you can be in Lexington in two hours, and in the far western part of the...

    • Executive Order: Pardon of Norbert Roll November 13, 1963
      (pp. 484-484)

      Whereas, Norbert Roll was removed from the office of sheriff of Campbell County by executive order dated December 7, 1961; and

      Whereas, KRS 63.990 provides that any peace officer so removed from office shall be disqualfied from holding any office in this state for a period of four years;

      Now, THEREFORE, I, Bert Combs, governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by virtue of the power vested in me by Section 77 of the constitution, do hereby and now pardon Norbert Roll and restore all civil rights which were denied him by the penalty in KRS 63.990....

    • Question-Answer Remarks: Salaries of Judges and Automobile Inspection November 20, 1963
      (pp. 485-493)

      Question. One of the main questions asked is why was it necessary to call a special session at this time.

      Bert Combs. Well, the two bills under consideration ought to be passed. Both are good bills, and if we are going to have a raise for the judges, it is necessary that the raise be enacted prior to January 1 when all the judges in the state take office. Too, the automobile inspection deal is almost an emergency because we have more people being killed on our highways, more this year than ever before. We have more automobiles and more...

    • Memorial Service for President Kennedy November 23, 1963
      (pp. 493-494)

      During this tragic interval in world history, as the world mourns the loss of a gallant, courageous leader, it is time, I think, for us to rededicate ourselves in a spirit of tolerance, charity, and understanding to the end that we may be better Kentuckians and better Americans.

      I am sure that I speak your sentiments when I say that the hearts of all Kentuckians go out in sympathy to the family of our martyred president. He was a good friend to Kentucky and will be sorely missed. May God give strength to President Johnson to carry on....

    • Dedication of Agricultural Science Center December 5, 1963
      (pp. 494-497)

      Back in 1960, the leaders of a group which called itself the Blueprint for Kentucky Agriculture Committee called upon me to urge the construction of an agricultural science center here at the university. This blueprint committee embraced some sixty organizations, businesses, and associations, and their names read like a directory of Kentucky agricultural business and leadership. Its objectives were to develop a long-range plan for Kentucky agriculture. And it had published a brochure entitled “An Agricultural Science Center for Kentucky.” The committee had consulted with the president of the university and the dean of agriculture and home economics and had...

    • Dedication of Academic-Athletic Building December 7, 1963
      (pp. 497-499)

      Kentucky is coming of age. It has grown up from the knee britches of awkward adolescence to the long pants of progressive adulthood. Nowhere is that more definite than on the campus of Western State College and in the event we are celebrating today, the dedication of this spectacular facility and the A.E. Diddle Arena.

      This college, I think, is a spectacular example of the progress which Kentucky has achieved. It is an example of the acceleration in development which Kentucky has experienced. During the last eight years, your enrollment has grown from 1,684 to 5,932 and you have constructed...

    • Kentucky Civil Liberties Union: Human Rights Achievements in Kentucky December 7, 1963
      (pp. 499-501)

      It is a pleasure to meet with you tonight. I recognize the contributions made by the Civil Liberties Union in Kentucky and on the national scene. Your programs go to the essence of our practices of democracy and you have your work cut out for you in these things.

      Among other helpful programs of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union, I am grateful for your suggestions for the bill, passed in the 1962 regular session of the General Assembly, to make certain that cities of all classes have the power to create local human rights commission and to pass ordinances prohibiting...

    • Inauguration of Governor-elect Breathitt: Years of Change December 10, 1963
      (pp. 501-504)

      We have come here today to salute the men you have chosen to lead your state government for the next four years. For me, this is a day of mixed emotions; relief at laying down the burdens of the governorship, hope and sympathy for my successor, and a certain speculation about what has been accomplished during my term of responsibility. I do not expect to stand here again; and, being only human, I look back today and wonder how history will judge us and our deeds, how well we have kept the faith, how Kentucky has fared under our stewardship....

  10. APPENDIX Speeches of Governor Combs
    (pp. 505-524)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 525-539)