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Columns

May 13, 2013

Politics, fitness and landmarks dominated local news in May 1968

Area residents mulled over the idea of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller as their next President of the United States. New fitness opportunities emerged for all ages. One area landmark was saved while another was razed. It was only a part of our life and times in May 1968.

Nelson Rockefeller has been posturing as a presidential candidate since April, after President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek or be nominated for another term. Rockefeller made his intentions known around May 1. Rockefeller said that day he would continue as governor of New York. During April he had enacted legislation worth $6 billion to tear down city slums in Albany, replacing them with “other facilities” to improve ghetto life near the state capitol building. The present line of five state skyscrapers, state library and museum and “The Egg” was the result.

Rockefeller had also called for a 10-year, $150 billion program to end tensions in American cities during 1968, by ending the “breeding of slums.” The governor also said that Congress should enact a program of “national universal health insurance” to deal with rising medical care costs.

It didn’t take long for Rockefeller to drop out of the presidential race that year, as Richard M. Nixon gained in popularity as the Republican Party favorite. While Rockefeller was a Republican, both parties in our area had considered the New York governor a good candidate.

Sterling P. Harrington, then Oneonta’s GOP chairman, said Rockefeller’s candidacy should lead to a “forthright and articulate discussion of the many serious problems facing us.”

Dr. Alexander F. Carson, Otsego County’s Democratic party chairman. said Rockefeller had been laying out his plans for the last several months, “first by using (George) Romney and then pulling the rug out from under him.”

John Trask of Grand Gorge said of Rockefeller, “I really don’t think it makes any difference who the Republicans put up. (Sen. Robert) Kennedy’s got it wrapped up.”

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