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Governor Ben W. Olcott's Administration

Governor's Retiring Message, 1923

Source: Message of Ben W. Olcott Retiring Governor To the 32nd Legislative Assembly, 1923

To the Members of the Oregon Legislature:

For twelve years I have been connected with public life in Oregon. I now lay down those cares without qualms or regrets. To be granted serious and grave responsibilities by your fellow men is a high honor, as well as a sacred trust. I would be remiss in my duty and churlish to my conscience if I failed, in as warm terms as I know, to express my deep appreciation for those honors.

As time mellows the whips and scorns of fortune, so will those honors become dearer to me as the years make them treasured memories. To those who have given me their confidence, to those I have endeavored to serve to my utmost capacity, to the people of this magnificent state, I can offer nothing but the expressions of a grateful heart for the long years during which I have had intimate association with their public affairs.

I sincerely trust that you will give most careful thought and attention to the Soldiers’ Loan Act. The successful administration of the duties imposed by this law has been a matter of great concern to the commission delegated to carry out its provisions. The loan feature of the soldiers’ law presented a new subject in legislation and naturally in drafting the law all features of importance were not fully covered.

A great volume of work required in its administration has been performed and we think it has been well done, and we believe with as great security to the state as possible in view of the law’s liberal provisions and positive terms. The commission is indebted to the American Legion for its great and helpful cooperation.

By all means the law should be revised and supplemented whereby the purposes of the legislation and the interests of both beneficiaries and the state may be fully protected by adequately safeguarding the stupendous sums involved. Every beneficiary of the act should, and we think will, welcome such action by the legislature.

The right or wrong administration of this law will reflect credit or discredit ultimately upon the men for the benefit of whom it was enacted. NO discredit should be allowed to reflect either upon a generous-hearted state or mar the record these men have made in camp, at home, on the battlefield abroad, or on or under the high seas.

I trust nothing will be done to in any manner decrease the efficiency of our state institutions. Of all departments of state government these are the most important. They reflect the warm heart of our people, beating for the unfortunate and the afflicted. I leave my share over these institutions with a feeling of pride. They are on a business basis and so managed. They should continue so. No legislative assembly should permit them to suffer for necessary funds. This is a legislative charge of such grave import I can resist making this appeal

I shall offer but few more suggestions.

The memory of our pioneers should be honored, and would be honored fittingly, by designating the great road they followed through our state as the Oregon Trail.

Legislation against the illicit and illegal use of narcotics should be made drastic and effective. Third offenders should be given penitentiary sentences.

A constitutional amendment should be submitted to the people of the state providing that special sessions of the legislative assembly be confined to the subject matter contained in the executive call.

My hope is that the state will continue to grow and prosper; that it will find new wellsprings of endeavor; new avenues of development;’ that a never-ending stream of high-class citizenship will populate its cities and till its fields; will hew down its mighty forests and fashion them to the uses of the world of commerce.

I give to the incoming administration my fondest hopes and wishes for success, that it will reflect credit upon itself and give continued and increased prosperity to the state.

BEN W. OLCOTT

Salem, Oregon

January 8, 1923

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722

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