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You know the United States Senate. Yes yes it means a lot to. 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. Week the Florida has given the Senate one of its 11 new freshman.
His name as Lawton Chiles a people oriented hardworking public servant Chiles views his election to the Senate as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and the United States voice or state legislature is going to make sure and I think continue to inspire you. When she indicated Senator Spencer Holland whose seat Lawton Chiles now occupies was a 78 year old five term Democrat when he announced his retirement plans Senator Holland made his announcement well in advance of the political season in Florida Democrats flew after a field
of candidates that sprang up to seek his seat. The disorganization of the Democrats gave the Republicans hope that they could capture the Senate prize in the heart of Dixie. President Nixon's unsuccessful plan in 1070 to gain control of the Senate away from the opposition called for the selection of strong candidates to run for the Democratically held seats. Senator Hollings was one so white house political strategists tapped Representative William Kramer the first Republican congressman sent to Washington from Florida since Reconstruction to carry the GOP standard. His expectations of an easy win against the factionalized Democratic Party were dashed when rejected Supreme Court nominee Harold Carr's Well also decided to run for the Republican nomination. Cramer won but the cars will bid to weaken GOP unity. The Democratic slate of candidates was topped by former Governor Farris Bryant expected to be an easy winner over for a little known challengers including a state senator Lawton Chiles Chiles was therefore forced to run an unconventional campaign.
It's for. People working hours later just out of love for this thing. After the election. How could I run that way to a state level where
I could not win all of doors would open. We would cross state start walking That's why I came here used statewide billboards trying to establish. 12 percent of the people in the state. Even though everyone should find some way of working. And also we're going to start a bill or more
across the state some 200 something. And he started in the fourth crossing role Chiles forced Brian into a run off election and won by better than 65 percent of the vote. A landslide by political standards in the November general election Chiles rolled up another sizeable margin to retire Congressman Cramer walking the state talking and touching the people had worked with the workers and to start it all turned out to be much more people that people were starving and had someone to
talk to campaigning it changed one way back when we communicate and talk back. They wanted to have some rain into my trip was great. There was no way to know. In other words can't express the way the president or the rest of them. This was the one that ran across our state great frustration with
the people who read here and because of the excess travel it was but it was strong for me. Anyways I was going through in the real. Move ahead when you know what and what it will me a total sense but I could sense that that plane was going away but I was going to win because of the walk and how would I be there. But I keep the faith that I was going to ever come back. Are you willing or will you be like the rest.
So I started growing more and more concerned how it would be different. I would spend a week out of every month after I was elected back in the state of Florida walking and talking to people trying to keep this that sense even of the race. I want to thank you tour around the state and took some for weeks going around the state trying to say thank you to people. And I realize that the walk in and also the great burden of trying to trying to run. More than 300 letters a day and they're not that's not directed that's not from anybody with a call right now that's an individual letter from somebody that wants to kill me.
Either a personal problem or make a personal observation. Two people have a feeling that I am acceptable were geared up for their work rate and you know most of those letters they have never written that are truthful. And many of the people who approach me or talk to us and it will be they they really still kind of walking through that difference with somebody that you speak like that I think any senator would want to be like you can be approachable. That is going to get will contact him and it will maintain that we're trying to determine. We need to really stay in in any way doing it in different areas. Lat. Giles was born on the 3rd of April 1930 in Lakeland Florida in the same
district he later grew up to represent in the state legislature. He was educated in public schools and in 1952 he received a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. During 1953 in 54 Lawton Chiles served with the United States Army artillery stationed overseas in Korea following his military duty shall return to the University of Florida and in 1955 received a lot of great he's married to Ray may Grafton of Coral Gables Florida. The child does have four children two girls and two boys. In one thousand fifty eight he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he served until 1966 at which time he was elected to the Florida Senate serving there until his election to the United States Senate. Upon arriving in Washington Senator Chiles threw himself headlong into the business of learning the ropes on Capitol Hill. His approach to government especially the legislative end of it is once again extremely typical of Lawton Chiles that which is best for the people. Well I think one of the greatest concerns in the fact. Over the years who started
sidestepping many of the major policy decisions and allow those to be made by agencies or the courts Congress did not really speak to the problems of segregation civil rights and when we could speak it was late the courts were allowed out the way he used to to work in those areas. In many other areas I think again part of that is perhaps because the state was failing in their role and local government was not able to solve problems so the federal government was the only government that stepped back it was a lot of people like to say the federal government reached its tentacles and took away all the power. I don't think that's correct. I think the stakes are their powers. But those I think that the states are trying
to restructure themselves with new constitution and with the fact that now they are properly so that they represent the people and they're trying to get back into fulfilling their responsibilities. I think too much centralisation group of proteins and many of the great federal programs are not working. Part of the problem is the failures in the shambles not because we have appropriated a lot of dollars that we have because we fail to get those dollars down and delivered and services for more than 60 percent of the money is going in Administrator less than 40 percent and any delivery of services. Because I think we're trying to have one central area and solve the problem I think it can be done. The whole strength of our system was that we were going to have strong States going to use the expertise of the individual initiative of those states and we were going to have a trial and error process
in which one state type would probably do it successfully other states could follow but everyone would not have to make the same mistake. Now when one state's six federal funds or one city they must come into the picture plane it takes away all your local issue that Tampa Florida has to solve problems from where to same way that the sort of the problems we all have free approaches to how they're going to solve it and then we would really be able to use some of the expertise of your local elected officials. Again people want to promote war that people want to have something to say about their government. They want to participate but the only way they can really put this is in state or local. So we got to shipping more of the responsibility back to state level and willing to take us as legislators
Gulen Chiles considers himself a generalist but realizes that all the country's problems can't be totally handled or coped with by one senator in a score of staffers. So specialization Wellcome interested in all the problems. To think that way in the state legislature where your chairman of the Ways and Means Committee the state Senate in Florida and in most of the problems in the Senate here. They work strongly and really much of your work is done in the committee system and so you're going to almost work in the area which only committees are going to be successful legislation interested in although the problem right now is that I will have to specialize more.
Mike in line with his philosophy of returning the reins of power as much as possible to the people. Senator Chiles can be expected to take an active role in many of the major debates expected as the 90 second Congress shifts into high gear. One of the more controversial issues on which he has very definite views is the proposed revenue sharing plan. I would like the federal money back to the states and the government I think part of the problem. I noticed you made your argument the federal government collects the money that it is going to carry that we have three separate government. Three in three separate but really they ought to be honored. And we're talking about.
Where we once were things and what services and then what services that best determine when and what resources from other services. Under our Constitution we come to where the federal government and then remain true to those problems of making their world and other people issue is the environment ecology. Florida has the longest coastline of any state in the continental United States and over the past year it has been plagued by several massive oil spills both in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida is also the home of Cape Kennedy. The launch pad for America's space program combining space exploration and the environmental problems is a fresh approach brought to the Senate by Lawton Chiles. Well my concern is that everybody wants. Ecology environment but we don't have the kind of direction we should have we don't have now when we start an interstate system we say to 975 we expect to have a system we expect to have so many miles by a certain year but we don't have any goals now that says the St. John's River. In my state we expect it to be free from source by a certain date. I think that we need to establish that that's how this country works we put a goal that we want to go to the moon we cut short that because we hear that you are opposed to wade with the proposition of a sign in regard to
environmental matters really in regard to an agency such as Nat or even that are successful Natura I think really was in the administration of being able to bring together the best of the university complex of government in private and to have a goal oriented program that you've got a lot of red tape. You decide exactly where you want to go and you focused on those girls and a combination of the resources of this country. I don't find it we're doing that at all. Government matters. That's what I think one of the most controversial bits of legislation held over from the ninety first Congress is the reconsideration of the Department of Transportation appropriations bill including the money for the development of America's supersonic jet transport the ss t. To Senator Chiles the SSD question as a simple as determining if all that money spent on one airplane is going to help enough people to make it worthwhile.
The air said in my view it would rank considerably down the list of priorities were at spending federal dollars. That really hasn't changed. There are an awful lot of things that I would do with federal tax dollars. Would you give money for the development of the SSP I think much. Someday we may have to think a lot of problems should be worked out. I'm not sure that we need to keep trying. There's got to be someplace in with us to go a little faster or we don't feel it is justified. The problems that occur in order to think bigger and bigger than a
place in which to say it doesn't justify the way the problems are going to play and what you do to the environment. The Senate unlike the House of Representatives plays a special role in shaping American foreign policy totally dominating the international attention of the Senate. Is the U.S. involvement in the Indochina War. Senator Chiles has his views on the war but appears willing to trust the president and the Pentagon in the running of the war. That is the running of military operations. Everyone wants to hear that there has been war. You just said. I would like to present to American
troops becoming more and more certain we are getting it. We have a problem regardless of whether there's any progress. Peace talks are trying to make a breakthrough. The president for going into the door to talk to no one. We've got to have or we're going to roll over the prisoner of war issue involves people and one child has already jumped well into this quandary the peel w question is not an issue because everyone wants them released. Senator Chiles is trying to find ways to ease the pain. The problem causes so many people when war
which never contacted me in regard to question their plight certainly. Felt tremendous frustrate what could you do. How could you help these people greatly admire and there's great Gore and they help each other in the problems of their lives. This is a tremendous thing we have held longer than any other war and under conditions it never existed in any other war in which we don't even know that they're there. So this is a tremendous concern and the election was over I was approached by one particular family that asked me what I make a trip in their behalf and behalf of the other war and after determining that this was something that virtually all the White House wanted me to do agree to make the trip I was able to
talk to both the north and the. He expressed growing concern in this country in regard to that question but it's one of concern really it was once a vision about the war. Most people certainly together regard the question prisoners to the more we would immediately seek information regarding the missing even though they provided some information that we captured and we can understand why we can't have a great party inspect the facilities which are being here that they're still providing repatriation of wounded or sick prisoners that we've written about and that this is one of the greatest concern in this country.
They know that this is an area which serve all public opinion in this country and in the world of concern and I think we need to continue to keep the pressure on. There have been some changes in the last year in the last few months especially by the war needs to show that they are aware of this concern and they have allowed the letters to be read it when we're away should they apparently were treating the prisoners better from what we can find it turned the South. In this one letter I want concerning this I don't know that there was any great break but I think if you continue with Giles as a Southern politician without the unfortunate connotation that usually accompanies that phrase he has of a new breed of elected officials to rise from the ranks of both parties in the south.
Forward thinking Southerners are looking to these men for leadership in the future. Others are looking at Lawton Chiles right now because most of the front runners for the Democratic presidential nomination are northerners. Pundits are looking south for the 1972 Democratic vice presidential nominee. Already Senator Chiles has found his name mentioned as a possible candidate since he termed his election to the United States Senate the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Charles was asked if he would consider leaving the Senate so soon to seek higher elective office. Right now my great concern is that you know we think it's fair. In the few short months this freshman senator has been in Congress he has already gained a high reputation. One of his first visitors upon arriving in Washington was the late Dean of the Senate Richard Russell. Charles has brought to the office a new and needed enthusiasm about a wide eyed wondering puppyish eagerness but rather the energy of a young well
trained public servant with new ideas and no fear to try them out. He has an uncommon obsession with that massive constituency the people. It is a quality not lacking in the other ninety nine senators. But it's overwhelming preeminence in this one man is necessary and refreshing. One congressional observer remarked recently that he would not be at all surprised if before long Lawton Chiles became known as the people's senator. This is Bill Moroney. Of. The United States Senate class of 1971. It was produced in Washington D.C. for the national educational radio network. With funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the national educational radio network.
The U.S. Senate Class of 1971
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Senator Lawton Chiles
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “The U.S. Senate Class of 1971; 1; Senator Lawton Chiles,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “The U.S. Senate Class of 1971; 1; Senator Lawton Chiles.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: The U.S. Senate Class of 1971; 1; Senator Lawton Chiles. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from