In the Ohio Legislature and as a member of the
Roads Committee in Congress, Bob Secrest was the
Author of permanent legislation designed to get the far
mers of this District out of the mud. As a direct result
of these two bills more than 3999 miles of rural roads
have been contructed in the 15th District and thousands
of farmers have received improved roads. In apprecia
tion of his efforts Bob Secrest was made a lifetime hon
orary member of the Ohio Rurql Letters Carrier’s As
sociation and the Ohio Township Trustees Association.
Bob Secrest fought consistently to make the future
of the 15th District secure. He fought for the coal and
oil industry. He fought for soil ami water conservation
to enable the farmers of the district to save the remain
ing fertility of their soil and to avoid the hazards of
flood and drougth. In Ohio and Congress he was a
recognized champion of conservation.
No one ever did more than Bob Secrest to improve
the rural mail service of his District. He secured dozens
of mail route extensions, bringing rural delivery to hun
dreds of farmers, who, for a lifetime, had paid taxes to
the Federal Government.
Bob persistently fought the high prices of farm
machinery due to monoply, and, with a few of his coll
eagues, was able to get a hill reported from the power
ful Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee calling
for an investigation of farm machinery prices. This
saved countless millions to the farmers of the United
Slates. Bob pointed out that a binder sold for less in
South America than in the United States.
Before Bob Secrest left Congress Rural Electrifica
tion projects were approved in every county of his dis
trict. By constant effort he assisted in bringing this
improvement to thousands of farm homes. At the same
time private industry was not destroyed as power was
purchased from existing companies.
When the Wool Labeling Act was before Congress
Boh made a speech for it and was one of its strongest
supporters. Ohio had over 2,500,000 sheep, great num
bers being in his district. Ohio produced over 18 million
pounds of wool and a live cent per pound increase
in price meant $900,000 in the pockets of Ohio sheep
raisers. The benefits of this legislation were not only
immediate but permanent.
Boh Secrest joined with the people of Belpre and
Washington county in a fight to secure a reduction of
the tolls on the Belpre-Parkersburg bridge across the
Ohio River.. After a years effort this reduction was se
cured. The bridges at Marietta and St. Marys reduced
tolls and all three were purchased by an agency of the
state of West V irginia.
Users of the three bridges have saved over $1,099,
000 in the past ten years and soon all the bridges will be
paid for and opened to the public. Not a bridge leading
to the 15th District will have a toll on it. This long
fight was typical of Boh Secrest's loyalty and service.
Already the users of these bridges have saved
enough in tolls to pay Bob’s salary in Congress 100
years. When the bridges are free the people will save
enough each year to pay 20 Congressmen.
From 1496, B. C. to the present time there has been
11 years of war for every year the world has been at
peace. The United States must use its influence and
power to get the nations of the world to settle disputes
peaceably. W hile the world is demonstrating that it
has learned this lesson the United States should not turn
over the secrets of the atom bomb to Russia or any other
nation. If we do it will some day come back at us like
the scrap iron we sold to Japan.
In 1931 a contract was signed by the Muskingum
Conservancy District and the Public Works Administra
tion providing a flood control project for the Musking
um River. The Federal Government provided $25,000
000 for construction of the dams. The District agreed
to buy the land needed and operate the dams. The State
of Ohio agreed to relocate the roads.
Land costs were higher than expected and by 1936
it was evident that the cost plus interest on the bonds
would total $13,000,000. This money was to be raised
----i onnniTpp AIUK'T 4 TirnVQJr
THE JOURNAL CALDWELL OHIO
Let’s Look at the Record!
by a tax on all property in the vallleys from the location
of each dam to the Ohio River at Marietta.
Bob started out to remove these taxes. His first
bill to do this w as introduced on March 16, 1936. It was
an uphill fight because flood control was not yet recog
nized as ai Federal responsibility. In the campaign of
1938 people were told that Bob couldn't do it—but he did.
On February 13, 1939, Secrest introduced his final
bill to make the Muskingum project a part of the
National Flood Control Program, and to require the
Federal Government to pay the cost of the land and
operation of the dams. On August 12, 1939 the bill was
signed and the pen used was sent to Secrest by President
Roosevelt. The first payment of $1,400,990 was made
to the District in August of 1939.
This one bill saved the people of the District enough
to pay Bob Secrest’s salary in Congress for over 1,200
No greater personal service w as ever rendered by a
member of Congress. This service rightly gained for
Bob Secrest the undying gratitude and support of thou
sands of his constituents regardless of party or politics.
Bob worked for all the people all the time and they
Bob Secrest got a bill enacted into law making avail
able to Congress the services of the Interstate Reference
Bureau, an organization composed of the legislatures
in every State as well as practically every State official
in the Union. This bill of Bob’s was recognized by Con
gress and by practically every National Magazine deal
ing with Governmental subjects, as one of the most for
ward steps taken in many years. It resulted in eco
nomies in every State as well as the National Govern
ment, and made possible elimination of double taxation
by the States and Federal Government. His bill further
made possible compacts between the States which will
enable them to solve jointly many problems that they
could not solve alone and that were not within the sphere
of the Federal Government. Among the legislators and
public officials of every State, through this bill Bob
Secrest established himself as one of the outstanding
leaders of sane and progressive government, bringing to
his District a recognition that his constituents merited.
in 1934 two barns owned by the Noble County Fair
Board were burned while occupied by a C. C. C. Camp.
The Secretary of Agriculture could not pay damages in
excess of $1,990.99. Bob Secrest introduced a bill com
pelling the Federal Government to pay the Fair Board
$1,600.00, which was the value of the buildings. Bob
Secrest got the bill into a law, secured sufficient build
ings from the Federal Govenment when the Camp was
abandoned to rehabilitate the fairgrounds, and Noble
County had its first fair for several years. This great
service was appreciated by every member of the Fair
Board and by practically every citizen of Noble County.
The dirigible Shenandoah was wrecked near Ava in
Noble County. As an honor to the men who lost their
lives, Bob Secrest got a bill through Congress calling for
the erection of a memorial. This memorial was erected
and was the first provided by the Federal Government
in the Fifteenth District.
In 1922 the National Bank at Lower Salem lost
$1,299.90 worth of Government bonds they were never
found or cashed, yet nothing was done until Bob Secrest
went to Congress. He introduced a bill calling lor the
Government to make good the bonds and it became a
law, saving the depositors and stockholders a $1,299.99
A group of public spirited citizens of Marietta de
sired to celebrate the passage of the history making
Ordinance of 1787 and the settlement of the Great
Northwest Territory. Bob Secrest’s bill lor this pur
pose was enacted and throughout the nation the prin
ciples of democracy were further entrenched in the
hearts and minds of young and old. Throughout Ohio
and fhe other states formed from the Northwest terri
tory pageantry and patriotic parades broke all records.
History was taught. Knowledge was gained. Hearts
were filled with gratitude for the builders of the Repub
lic. Bob was a member and Treasurer oi the ommis
sion that directed the celebration.
Howard Chandler Christy, a native of the 15th
District, is one of the world's greatest artists. No pic
ture dealing with the constitution ol the United States
was to be found in the Capitol. Bob Secrest introduced
a bill to have Mr. Christy paint the “Signing of the Con
stitution.” This picture, twenty by thirty feet, hangs in
the Capital Building, an honor to the 15th District and
an inspiration of true Americanism to the thousands
who stand humbly before the great patriots of our early
In one session of Cong res Bob got 12 bills through
land Mrs. J. F. Gutter, Mr. and
Bob was always known for fairness and sincerity in
his efforts on behalf of the Veterans of the Spanish
American War and Work! War I. He was made an hon
orary member of the United Spanish War Veterans.
Before Bob resigned Congress the Pension ommittee
of which he was a member reported and secured Passage
of the basic pension bill for Veterans oi W orld W ar II.
From long experience Bob knows the problems o Vet
erans and feels that the Nation should appreciate the
services of those who offered their lives in defense ol
In a speech Bob Secrest said, "Many things have
been done for the veterans of World War II, but two
things are very wrong:
First, the disposal of surplus property to veterans
is a farce and mostly a fraud. Veterans have to run o
Columbus for a priority. Then they have to P«y thl 1,‘11
and get the purchase permit in incinnati. 1 hen they
have to run all over the country to inspect the property
or end up with a jeep with the engine gone. 1 know, be
cause I have made the rounds to help veterans At
Army Depots and in the offices at olumbus and I in
cinnati there are enough employees to eat all the surplus
property in Ohio. Let them inspect the property. A
veteran should be able to buy any standard item with
a guarantee that it is 0. K. He should he able to go to
one place and complete the transaction right now. I
hope this mess is corrected before the next ongress
meets. If not, it had better be.
Second the payment of bonds for terminal leave to
enlisted men is absolutely Un-American Officers were
paid in cash. Enlisted men belonged to the same Army,
Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air orps. They
deserve the same treatment. It’s the same racket they
tried to pull on the Veterans of World War I when they
allowed them to borrow half on their bonus and pro
ceeded to steal the other half for interest.
I fought and voted to right that wrong when I was
a kid in Congress. I hope I have the privilege to intro
duce a bill to pay terminal leave bonds in cash to every
veteran who prefers it, the first day the next Congress
meets. It's not a question of inflation or economy. It’s
a matter of fair play.
Of great importance to the future safety of the
United States are the Marshall Islands, the Mariannas,
I wo .lima, Okinawa, and other military bases in the
Pacific that were seized from Japan at so great a cost.
For over a year Bob Secrest was a Military Government
expert for these areas on the staff of Admiral Nimitz.
No one in Congress will be better prepared to defend
the interests of the United States in the Pacific.
In 1949 when the defense program started Rob
Secrest said in a speech to Congress “In building our de
fenses we do not intend to have our government robbed
Thursday, August 15, 1946
xml | txt