thumbnail of The U.S. Senate Class of 1979; 9; Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
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The United States Senate. Class of 1971. This year 11 the freshman five Republicans five Democrats and one conservative. Joined the ranks of the 100 and America's upper house of the legislative branch of government. Here for the national educational radio network with a profile of one of these new United States senators. Is your host Bill Moroney. Connecticut's freshman senator is Lowell Weicker a Republican he survived a
tough three way general election against a liberal Democratic challenger Joseph Duffy Minister and National Chairman of the Americans for Democratic Action and the incumbent Democratic Senator Thomas Dodd who ran as an independent. WEICKER believes his 86000 vote plurality would have been even larger if he'd been running against just one of either of his two opponents. Think you could have taken either one of the candidates have them drop out of the race of their plurality probably would be greater. In essence you had one candidate making a pitch for the more conservative side of the political spectrum on the other hand the the the more liberal. I probably categorize my own position as having been in between the two. So certainly if the man on the right had dropped out those forces would have gravitated out over the center and gone to the gun to
the left or vice versa. And for that reason I think that we pretty much analyzed taking the figures and analyzed that had it only been a two way race either against Robert Duffy or against which result of the greater following his election. Then Senator elect Weicker blasted his party's national leadership for missing the boat in the 1970 November elections by concentrating on the negative issue of the law and order. I think that we have some very positive achievements to present to the American people. Positive achievements in the case of Viet Nam positive achievements in the reordering of our priorities positive achievements is to graph perform positive achievements in the area of drug treatment rehabilitation center. These types of things we can concentrate on. Now certainly people say well if you had concentrated on him the Democrats would say well you aren't going fast enough
out of you have an AM or you haven't reorder our priorities enough. That doesn't sit too well I find on the American people they don't give their approbation. I don't reserve their honors for the person that criticizes or says you haven't done enough. American people recognize that everything is a matter of time. They were keenly interested in the party that changed our directions and I think the Republican Party could point to a two year record of having done that steadily you went off on an issue of law and order by saying there isn't isn't such an issue. But it certainly doesn't and shouldn't in light of the record that actually been created in a positive sense and substitute is the main issue the campaign and I think we suffered because of it because I I think basically the American people are not a negative people. Sometimes it seems that when the things that we do but they they yearn for the best they look for the best. And sure negative personalities and negative ideas have always
enjoyed. The limelight but only for a very short period of time. And this is exactly what happened that election at the outset. You know a lot of great it wore thin. On the other hand positive issues positive ideas they never were thin. And therefore we manufactured to a large degree I think an issue when in fact we had issues that we could point to with pride and in pointing to them. Would have at the same time intimated the lack of success on the part of the Democrats in these very same areas in the years that they were in power. Tough hard line conservative political approach taken by the administration in the 1970 elections was climaxed by the purging of likers fellow Republican candidate in neighboring New York incumbent senator Charles Goodell Weicker supported Goodell's candidacy and disapproved of the GOP leadership's narrow approach. I'm not going to get into a discussion of what the administration did i can't say but I did.
Yes I supported Senator Bill. I supported him because he was the nominee of the Republican Party and quite frankly I believe my party is a big enough far bigger is a matter of fact in Democratic Party big enough to encompass all points of view. From time to time there are those who disagree with that that's the very reason why I suggested probably one of the reasons maybe maybe there might've and others that I was subjected to a primary my own state because there are people in my own safe that felt you know there should be different points of view that we should all move together. We overcame that hurdle in my own state and certainly if I fought on that principle with my own state I'm going to apply the same principle to other Republicans in other areas and so that's the reason for my support of Senator Goodell. Oh sure maybe there are many issues that I disagreed with the senator on but to me the important thing was that we weren't debated issues among Republicans we were out to win elections. And under those
circumstances certainly he had my support. And obviously the people of New York chose otherwise now as the accusations of a purge by the national leadership of the White House etc. clearly they have used their powers both a negative and a positive way. And I don't think you can really say that they are out to get them as much as the positive support wasn't forthcoming. And to the extent that I took the position that I did why there would have been disagreement on that point Senator Weicker thinks his party has learned something from the mistakes they made in 1970. So I think the Senate election was very beneficial in the Republican Party made the Republican Party realize the necessity for encompassing all points of view. In 1968 when I was elected the Congress of the United States
I made the statement that the Republican Party had not received a mandate from the American people. By that I specifically refer to the presidential election received an opportunity. I made that statement right after taking office. That statement is as valid today as it was when it was made one hundred sixty eight. We didn't receive a mandate receive an opportunity in how well we have done and will do with that opportunity is going to determine our election chances 1972. Now I'm not going to apply one set of standards President Nixon and I'm not willing to apply to myself. Hardly. It can hardly be said that I received a mandate from the people the state of Connecticut in one thousand seventy. I forgot what the percentage was but is well under 50 percent of the vote that I got. So I don't look upon the fact that I received a mandate. I received an opportunity it's up to me in six years to develop this opportunity into a mandate in 1076 so that. These the 60 to
70 elections I think I've made it quite clear to the party through its leadership both in the White House and on the organizational level that unless we do accommodate to the idea of encompassing all points of view were forever doesn't to be a minority party and one that can only ride in a negative tide rather than in on its own positive accomplishments. Senator Weicker aligns himself with those who support the present administration but he doesn't consider himself a rubber stamp. He believes that President Nixon is grossly underestimated. I support the president's re nomination. I think he's been a good president. I think that he has not had a tendency to only publicity or the charisma of the previous occupants of the White House in the last decade. But from the point of view of a technician a man that believes more an accomplishment than words I think eaters deserves far more credit than he's got.
You know as I look upon the country's attitude to Richard Nixon Sometimes I think it's not based on what the man has done since he's been in the White House. It's based on history it's based on impressions of quite a few years ago who for instance would have who would have ever guessed that it was Richard that it would be Richard Nixon. That would create communication between communist China and the United States. Nobody in their wildest dreams they really would. But he has done that an enormous accomplishment. It's been done by any other mean other Richard Nixon I can assure you. He would have received a good deal more attention a good deal more praise. So all I'm saying is this. Even with the disagreements that I've had with the administration on specific issues where I think the. There ought to be greater weight given to certain priority areas. I like a man who quietly sets about his job and tries to
create a record of accomplishment from a great record of words to that extent I think he's been a good president and certainly he will have my whole hearted support to Lowell Weicker is the only member of the United States Senate to be born outside the United States. Born in Paris France on May 16th 1931 the son of a US businessman he graduated from Lawrenceville Academy and Yale University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science his military service consisted of active duty with the army in the artillery and later in the reserves. He then attended the University of Virginia Law School obtaining his degree in 1958 said I don't like or is married to the former Marie-Louise Godfrey and has two sons. He served his first selectman of Greenwich Connecticut a member of the Connecticut General Assembly and a United States congressman before his election to the Senate. Senator Weicker says his main interests are principally on the domestic side.
The priorities referred to so frequently and which have a basis in fact necessity transportation mass transportation certainly housing. Pollution the environment the area of health the general area of health. It's not a question of and I know some people say well you know you're being a do gooder bleeding heart when you refer to these items. Well I've been for them not just now and everybody's frustrated with the Vietnam War but throughout my career in government and the record proves that through various pieces of legislation that I passed both in the environmental field the transportation field when I was in the state legislature and in Connecticut. And these were accomplished in 63 65 and also at the municipal level when I was first elected was called mayor and other places of the town of Greenwich. The fact remains is no attention has been paid to these areas. If in fact the
trains don't run whether it's in Connecticut or New York or New Jersey or Chicago factor we haven't spent any money on mass transportation. We haven't it's not a question we had didn't do it last year we didn't do it here before. We haven't done it for 25 years. The same holds true of pollution. We have the technology certainly as far as water pollution is concerned to do the job. It's just that we really don't want to spend as much money in the doing as we do in the in the talking. And again housing. Look this nation of ours is too great both in its heart and its resources to have the situation whereby millions of Americans don't have a decent roof over their head. There's no excuse for it and certainly there can also be no excuse in a nation that in it's private sector that leads the world and its resources to what it can do in the government sector also leads the world to have situations in health and health care that are no better today than they were 50 years ago. I just have
a feeling that if we can do these things that in fact you know we're on a on an offensive for democracy and that. The determination by any person anywhere else in the world of how good democracy is is going to be based on how well we do by the people that presently live under that form of government. So for that reason the domestic scene in the great needs that exist in the domestic scene have to be tackled not with a lot of legislation or a lot of hot air but funding a combination of funding and new ideas. And maybe now that we are the FI end of the line in Viet Nam the nation can turn its attention to its preoccupation to the serious. Hope so. Finding the money to fund these domestic projects is a troubling and searching problem. Many legislators have been trying to solve for many years. Senator Weicker sees a probable solution you're going to get additional funds with a stronger
economy. You can get a stronger economy when when your national activities are based on the advancement of the unkind rather than the destruction of that entity or any portion of it. Do I think the end of the Vietnam war is going to answer all of our problems monetarily. No I don't because I think you're always going to have an adequate defense. But to the extent of the preoccupation of the nation is going to be focused on a peacetime economy that's going to generate the type of strength and type of money to carry forth the programs that we're talking about. Yes there are areas which are going to have to cut back on that in the past and probably sopped up too much of the budget. The SSP debate and we have to make choices within particular categories yes this tea debate is a good example of that. I have no fear for the SSTO the logical or environmental basis but I certainly have a great deal of concern in giving such a large percentage of money allocated transportation to that project serving six and a half million people when in fact six billion people are involved in
mass transit and they're not getting the money. So it's a question of a strong economy plus a real hard nosed choosing process within various categories I think that are going to set us on the right track. In 1969 then a freshman member of the House of Representatives Lowell Weicker sponsored an amendment to the Housing and Urban Development Act requiring construction of housing on a one to one basis when housing is demolished for urban renewal passed and implemented the Weicker Amendment did away with the tragic nickname urban renewal had picked up urban removal. Now situated across Capitol Hill. How does Senator Weicker plan to top his own legislative apex from the house. I think there can be and I could put it all together yet but I think there can be two things stick out of my mind in the area of public housing. You take a look at public housing in the state of Connecticut no matter what town it's located in whether it's Bridgeport or whether it's Greenwich.
You take a look at the structures themselves and really unless somebody told you that was public housing you probably would think that some sort of penal institution existed on the spot. What I'm saying is that those people who criticize public housing always say that well you know if you go public housing is going to become another slum. Yes. On the way we do it now it will. On the other hand is it fair to expect. It does yeah it does. Does the American have a right to expect not only a roof over his head but also within close proximity to that roof decent recreational facilities and decent educational facilities. I think he does and I think that if you can combine education recreation and housing together integrated aspect then you're going to create communities and you're going to have people that but you know want to move in and will make a
difference to color the skin is running out. Everybody wants that as a package. So that we're going to take a long hard look as to what the requirements are of public housing not just as far as the walls are concerned but what goes along with it. Number two I think also the concept of ownership is extremely important even in public housing. I don't think ownership should be denied an individual or some aspect of membership should be one individual just because he is in a public housing situation. Again it was an upright doesn't it what it was the first instance we're talking about or. Or having a piece of the action share of these types of concepts I think have to come to pass both the aesthetic from the practical as to rebuilding our cities if that's what we're going to do rather than just let it become office complexes. And I
think we can devise legislation to do just that the earthquake or urban renewal Amendment in effect. You know yet that this very area which i'm which I'm discussing this would take quite a few steps further. Health care is also high on Senator Weicker domestic list of priorities. Number one I think clearly do we have to have some sort of a plan which assists the American who a president cannot afford the cost of the modern day health care. I don't think the answer lies entirely in any of the plans have been presented so far. This much I can say these conclusions have arrived at number one. I think the plan at least at the outset should be restricted to those who can't afford it and we pick up the package very soon as the US states and then we got a real problem on our hands. I just don't think we can swing a number to do I think the private sector of the economy is sort of
your insurance company should be involved I sure do. Where we have an ongoing entity that that has expertise in this area let's use it not just turn to the government so you go ahead and learn how to play insurance company. Let's use it. The delivery which is the other aspect of this or the problem that the administration put so much emphasis on the delivery of health care and medical schools and nurses training doctors training research development technicians luck was no you've got the greatest player in the world if you don't have somebody there to execute it you don't have much of that's of any benefit to the citizens of the country. So a comprehensive effort relative to health care plan for many Americans pointed to. The diseases which we refer to as incurable.
Let's face it there's no necessity for that being the case in many instances. A private enterprise can only do so much in this area. Last year I heard figures given to me of one of our large pharmaceutical companies whereby they ploughed 70 million dollars of their own into research and development. That's a pretty impressive figure but it's only a drop in the bucket as to what's required now. I don't know what the final figure would be if we took all of that money of all the companies and the scientific research developing pharmaceutical drug and put it all together it still probably is only a drop in the bucket. The type of effort which we're talking about to conquer cancer conquer. Other diseases multiple sclerosis cerebral palsy and go right down the line. Muscular dystrophy. There is no reason in the world why we should be living with these things and sort of clucking our
tongues when it's somebodies relative or friend that suffers from these diseases when in fact we've got within us the ability to demand that our government get behind. Efforts in this area which will which will eradicate them my gosh. Have you ever thought if. If the president's request runs for a hundred million for cancer a tremendous start in that direction. And for those again that think this is just something that's nice to have or it's a product of the bleeding heart do you realize the impact on the world. If the United States of America comes up with a cure for cancer my lord I'll tell you one thing it will leave in the dust. The biggest ICBM you ever saw. As to forwarding the cause of this nation the government type of government exists International a Senator Weicker is looking beyond the immediate problems of war right now no question about it. The disengagement our commitments on the Asian mainland Southeast Asia.
In other words the end of the year the end of the Viet Nam war. Also the withdrawal of American troops not only within Southeast Asia but other Southeast Asian nations. That is our most immediate problem. The long range problem I think is the type of legislation which I co-sponsored with Senator Javits which sets forth and which senator sent us and it was just the other day agreed with which sets forth very clearly the circumstances under which we're going to commit troops in the future. Again I think as a politician I know the American temper and what worries me is that we're going to get out of Viet Nam and no lives will be lost and nobody will personally be touched by that tragedy. So that really you know we're not going to spend the time or make the effort. On legislation which. Could avert a repetition of Vietnam unless we pass that legislation within the next year. There's going to be rough sledding. Specifically the type of legislation I'm talking about is the commitment by the executive branch
of government. President of American troops to any particular situation for longer than 30 days without the approval of Congress. I think we should have the approval of Congress. I think circumstances initially under which you could commit troops should be cruelly deployed. Senator Weicker sees a tough contest already building between the administrative and legislative branches of our federal government over which he has the strongest hold on the reins of power. Neither side is expected to give an inch without a battle for every ounce of authority. I don't but there's no question in my mind that for for a variety of reasons you had a great shift of power to the executive branch of government. Probably not the least of which is just the expertise and staffing available to each one of those branches. President of the United States has at his disposal thousands of personnel in all the various specialized area health or housing or foreign affairs or your transportation you name it. A Senate committee might have 30 staff members in a on the majority side one or two in the
minority. So that clearly how can you. Innovate initiate. Under those circumstances you can. And slowly but surely for that for other reasons the power gravitated to the executive side. By now the time has come. The time has come for Congress to assert its right not only in foreign affairs but in all areas but if Congress is going to do that in this war Congress must understand I think they can't do it by being in a constant negative reaction to what comes forth from the executive branch of government. Congress is going to have to take the time and make the effort to initiate on their own. This is the key to it. And when they do that then they will deserve the mantle of leadership inequality with the president. I think that the reason why we don't have a testing of ideas in this Congress is again because you have that one staff member for the minority and 30 for the majority. It's
an unequal contest. The very people be better served of having the minority whether in any particular time of Democrat or Republican. Better equipped to test out the ideas of the majority. How can you a factor when I go right back to the Weicker memo which we discussed early on urban renewal saying that for every unit of housing you tear down you got to replace it with every unit of substandard housing replace it with a unit of decent housing. Do you know what happened after that past time. Specifically this that then was adopted as administrative policy by the executive branch of government specifically the Department Transportation and highways and then later by the Post Office Department and in the post offices and finally by General Service Administration federal buildings. So that's what that's the way it spreads out. That policy in other words emanated from this side of the Capitol and. We can do it. It takes a little effort in the work that but I just hope we don't try to pull ourselves or feel that we deserve an equal position on how loud we condemn on how loudly we
condemn the suggestion of the executive branch but we've got to do it and we can create his own news release describes Senator Weicker as six feet six inches tall with a winning smile that reflects a sincere interest in people and our Jadick knowledgeable and well able to express his own ideas attracting people who are seeking fresh approaches to old problems. I'll add to that only that Senator Weicker also looks like a very happy man. I've got the greatest job in the world six years between elections and certainly all the power that a man could want. In the sense of being able to create the governmental scene and then lastly even though I'm fully responsible for my actions as my mail indicates to me every morning both pro and con I don't enjoy the same high degree of visibility that other mayors or governors or for presidents do.
You know I mean when I say I've been right up through the chairs and in politics in the state legislature to the School of Government to Congress and now to the Senate. And I just think I'm an awful lucky guy I'm in the position that I hold I just if I can't do a job with what I've got a position that I've got. Sure the people the state of Connecticut so indicate the next election. But certainly my ambitions and right here if for no other reason also the fact that I'm the only foreign born United States senator some time somebody changed the constitution. You can strike me from any list of presidential contenders. Lowell Weicker freshman Republican senator from Connecticut. This is Bill Maher on. The United States Senate class of 1971 was produced in Washington
D.C. for the national educational radio network. With funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Well. This is the national educational radio network.
The U.S. Senate Class of 1979
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Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
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MLA: “The U.S. Senate Class of 1979; 9; Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr..” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: The U.S. Senate Class of 1979; 9; Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr.. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from