Jimmy Carter in Winona

Jimmy Carter speaks at the Winona County DFL picnic at Farmers Park in 1975.

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the Sept. 15, 1975 edition of the Winona Daily News.

Earl Butz will be looking for a new job in 1977 if Jimmy Carter is elected president.

Carter told about 250 picnicking Winona County Democrats Sunday the new secretary of agriculture will be someone who understands family farms instead of grain speculators and food processors.

Calling Butz' leadership "abominable," Carter, a peanut farmer and former governor of Georgia, said "what's best for the family farmer in this country is also exactly what's best for the consumer in the long run."

Butz won't be the only administrator without a job if Carter wins the Democratic nomination and the presidency in 1976.

Carter said Sunday he plans to shave the federal administration the same way he trimmed the Georgia bureaucracy in his term as governor.

We had 300 agencies and departments in our state government. We abolished 278 of them and in the process we cut administrative costs or government more than. 50 percent. The same thing needs to be done in Washington," Carter said."

Jimmy Carter said Sunday he's going to be President of the United States and if his campaign is any indication, he'll do it.

Carter has visited every state in the union but three. He spends 5½ days a week away from home and, after leaving the Georgia governor's mansion and entrusting his peanut farm to his brother's care early this year, he works full-time at campaigning.

In 1975 he expects to spend 250 days out of Georgia, most of them in primary states and key delegate states in anticipation of the Democratic convention in August 1976.

Carter considers himself the most important, contender in every major primary, citing other candidates as men with regional or limited appeal

Carter' skipped the DFL candidates forum in Minneapolis Saturday to attend a fund-raiser in Georgia. He stopped at Farmer's Park Sunday for the DFL county picnic between appearances in West Salem and Appleton, Wis. His schedule, he said, follows that pattern most days of the week.

Carter claims he shook more than 600,000 bands in his gubernatorial campaign in 1970 and he expects to glad-hand more than that during his presidential bid. He's raised his name recognition, according to pollsters, from seven percent in January to almost 50 percent this summer.

He casts off the dark horse label he was saddled with earlier this year by national news magazines and says the race will come down to two candidates after the Florida primary. Jimmy Carter will be one of those candidates, he said.

Carter said he'd allow himself to be catagorized as a populist. He says his political philosophy and decision-making processes come from the people. That orientation, he said, dictates his campaign strategy.

"The campaign I have outlined is almost devoid of any dependence on powerful, big-shot political or economic figures to put me in office. My campaign is designed to go right to the people in every aspect of it." Carter said. He added, "My background permits me to be oriented towards the average voters in this country — I'm a strong, undeviating environmentalist, I'm an engineer, a scientist, a planner, a farmer and I've had experience in executive management in government."

Spending will be his chief target and especially wasteful spending, Carter said. The American defense establishment will be one of his primary targets.

"I would say that the most wasteful bureaucracy in Washington is the Pentagon," Carter said. "Nobody's looked at the defense budget outside the Pentagon the past 20 years who understands it.

"We've got more admirals and generals than we had at the end of the Second World War. We have five million people in uniform. We've got too many troops overseas, too many major military; bases overseas — 222 of them — we've got too much reliance on atomic weapons," Carter said.

Carter called for a "tough, simple, muscular" defense, terming the present defense department "a wasteful, bloated bureaucracy that might bring us into a nuclear holocaust.

He said tax reform, government reorganization and open government are his platform.

"We need a government again that's simple, well organized, efficient, economical; that meets the health needs of our people, that has a comprehensive foreign policy we can understand, and an international approach that represents the character of the American people."

Carter, who has been criticized for his inexperience in foreign policy, told the group he thinks his background as a farmer helps him understand foreign affairs.

He said he doesn't favor a free market for the export of American farm products.

"I think, first of all, we should meet our own domestic needs; that ought to be the first requirement. If Russia comes over, for instance, and offers real money for the wheat we have on hand, we ought not sell it to them until we're sure we've got enough for our own people.

"I would favor competitive prices for our normal foreign customers like Japan, Europe and some of the South and Central American countries," Carter said.

Carter also said the government ought to protect its own farmers.

"Every other country in the world," Carter said, "protects completely the agriculture economy of their own nation — we don't. We are importing substantial amounts of dairy products in competition with American dairymen. This is not good for the consumer in the long run because it's putting people out of work and out of the dairy business so that later on, when milk or cheese or other products are scarce, we won't have the farmers to produce them.

Carter considers himself the most important, contender in every major primary, citing other candidates as men with regional or limited appeal

He even raised the eyebrows of local DFLers at the Winona County picnic Sunday evoking comments like "he's honest, sincere" and "he's got terrific credibility."

While none of the local politicos were willing to shift their support from Hubert Humphrey, who couldn't attend the picnic, they all seemed willing to give Carter's "sincerity" a close look. And why shouldn't they, when the candidate made a speech-closing promise like this:

"I promise you this: I'll never tell a lie; I'll never make a misleading statement; I'll never betray a trust and I will never avoid a controversial issue. If you ever see me do any of those things, don't support me, because I would not be worthy to be president of this great country."

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