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President Nixon attends the Appalachian Regional Governors Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on July 14 1970.

“We are trying to bring the government to the people,” President Nixon said to a group of 11 Governors from the Appalachian Regional Commission of States.

This was the goal of the Nixon administration, to affect real change in the Federal government’s ability to cater programs directly to the people, when for too long federal funds became lost in layers of bureaucracy. New Federalism was the term President Nixon used to promulgate this shift in federal awareness, and it was a topic that he and governors of the Appalachian states discussed in a meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

A meeting with the Appalachian Regional Commission was not unusual for a President of the United States. However, holding this particular governors meeting in one of the Appalachian states was a rarity. In fact, in opening the meeting, President Nixon told the Governors that he wanted to get out of the “isolation booth” of Washington to have discussions in a freer atmosphere, where the representatives would not be afraid to voice their concerns.

Below, view the memorandum of conversation for this meeting:

During the conference, the Governors reiterated their support of President Nixon’s revenue sharing program proposal, but generally remained cautious in supporting his proposed Family Assistance Program, fearing that it would increase States’ Medicaid/Medicare rolls. However, according to the expertise of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Nixon’s chief urban affairs counsel, the Family Assistance Program would not force any state to increase its Medicare/Medicaid rolls.

The Governors also commented on the effectiveness of the Appalachian Regional Commission, sharing all-around positive reviews. They felt that the ARC was consistent with President Nixon’s New Federalism program, and that aside from ARC receiving more federal funds, that the program effectively coordinated federal, state, and local efforts. Additionally, President Nixon reminded the governors that each state’s access to the ARC fund was more flexible and available owing to its exclusivity from state legislative appropriations processes. It was even more accessible than the President’s revenue sharing proposals, as funds from these still would require passage through the state legislature.

President Nixon ended the conference by praising the Appalachian people, recognizing that although this part of American had been particularly hit hard in light of a weakening economy, the spirit of these people remained the most spirited. After all, more than any other group in America, the people of the Appalachian states resisted welfare in favor of work and volunteered in greater numbers for military service.