The following blog post was written by a special guest of the Westchester Library System, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman of the Board, Kenneth W. Jenkins
“The one reason why I became a public servant was to be of help to others. This is something that was instilled in me by my parents, both of whom were always ready to lend a helping hand—at work and in the community. As an African-American, I am certainly proud to have Barack Obama as our President, but when growing up, and as my values were forming, Franklin D. Roosevelt stood as my ideal U.S. President.
President Roosevelt helped lead our nation out of the Great Depression, and he did so by securing passage of a number of important laws that positively impacted the relationship between the federal government and the American people. In one single year—1935—President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, the National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act), plus two executive orders creating the Works Progress Administration and the Rural Electrification Administration.
These New Deal landmarks protected the elderly, infirm and widowed mothers; gave workers the right to collective bargaining; and brought electricity to farmers across the nation. Americans were put to work building roads, bridges, dams, buildings and airports. At the same time, our vibrant and diverse culture was celebrated in countless books, paintings and sculptures, dance, concerts and plays, thanks to government support for the arts.
Seventy-five years after President Roosevelt forever changed our nation and set government on a course to help those who need it most, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act of 2010—legislation that was first envisioned when the Social Security Act was being formulated. This passage of time shows how our federal government is continuously involved in the work of improving our “imperfect union” however possible. Caring, visionary leaders like President Roosevelt show us how to make all things possible for the betterment of others.”