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ASK THE GOVERNOR
For release Monday, May 7, 1962
It's time to "Ask the Governor" when Governor Farri j^an a
answers questions based on letters and comments from Florida citizens,
QUESTION: Governor, several letters lately have spoken of
state employee participation in the up-coming primary election. Have
you made any statements to the agencies under your control about this?
GOVERNOR: I have talked in Little Cabinet meetings about
this problem. Let me generally express what my views are. The law is
specific that public employees should not use their influence directly
or indirectly to try to get people to vote for or against anyone. And
I want it to be clearly understood that this administration supports
that law 100 per cent. I think the law, or the Little Hatch Act, as
it is called, as applied in Florida, is a very healthful thing. I
think the perpetuation of anybody in office by the use of a political
machine is a bad thing and, therefore, I want everyone to know that
this administration is supporting free elections in the fullest
QUESTION: Governor, in at least one case in Florida thus far
you have been publicly accused of intervening in a primary battle for
one of the House seats. You, or so the opponent of an incumbent has
said, have taken a role in helping this man, What do you say about
GOVERNOR: Where are you talking about?
QUESTION: Polk County.
GOVERNOR: Oh, that's ridiculous. You are referring to the
instance of my speech down there sometime ago when I indicated that I
was going to recommend to the Road Board that we build a portion of
U.S. 27, Well that resulted from advice that during the controversy
over the Turnpike I had been accused of making some sort of agreement
that would prevent U.S. 27 from being built. Well, now that the
Turnpike is behind us so far as that particular period is concerned,
and the time has come for the budgeting of roads, I was anxious, once
a determination was made to go ahead and build a portion of U.S. 27,
to let my friends in that area know that I had never -- if they had any
doubts about it and I don't think my friends did -- that I had never
entered into any agreement, and I would never enter into any agreement
that would bar the building of free roads in Florida. Now if that was
an issue in the race down there (and this is purely incidental as far
as I am concerned) I would think, now that you bring my mind to it,
that if somebody had accused me -- if some candidate accused me --
of selling out the State and then I proved that I hadn't done it this
might adversely affect him, but that was not my intention.
QUESTION: Well obviously you don't plan direct participation
in primary elections. How will your role change after the primaries?
GOVERNOR: Well, as a Democrat and as the head of the
Democratic Party in Florida, naturally I will be actively interested
in the election of every good Democrat.
QUESTION: Well you say actively interested -- does this
indicate that you will be actively participating in the campaigns of
some of these good Democrats?
GOVERNOR: It sure does whenever it seems to me appropriate
to do so, and whenever it seems to the candidate that I can give help
to him. You know a governor's influence is a strange thing -- it can
in some circumstances be helpful to a candidate and in other circum--
stances it can be fatal to a candidate, and the decision has to be
made in each instance.
QUESTION: In some areas of the state Democratic candidates
for the Legislature, for example, are opposed to the reapportionment
plan which will be voted on in the same general election. Do you plan
to go into these areas to campaign for the reapportionment plan?
GOVERNOR: Well, I will have to wait until that thing arises.
However, I don't think that the reapportionment plan -- I think the
people of Florida are pretty well agreed that it's such a long stride
forward and such an improvement over what we have so far -- they are
pretty well agreed that they are going to adopt it. I think they are.
Thank you, sir.
If you have a question of general interest that you would
like Governor Bryant to answer on this program, jot it down on a post
card and send it to "Ask the Governor," the Governor's Office,
Tallahassee, or in care of this station, which has made available this
time in the public interest. Be with us next week, when again we
"Ask the Governor."