Dedication

This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Monday, February 17, 2020

2020 West Virginia Legislature News Report #5

 This past week ended the opportunity to introduce new legislative proposals (bills) in the West Virginia State Legislature and there now only are about three weeks left in the 2020 session.

 Meanwhile, one of the bills I sponsored, HB 4670 (Juvenile Justice Restoration) passed the House Judiciary Committee. HB 4670 would give the court or the prosecuting attorney the option to use a restorative justice process, wherein juvenile offenders would be given more accountability and responsibility to repair the harm dome to the victim and the community. HB 4670 now is pending consideration by the House of Delegates.

 My HB 2497, "Whistle-Blower" Protection Law, has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee , and now is pending passage in the West Virginia State Senate.

 My HB 4639, to change mandatory West Virginia mandatory vehicle inspections from every year to only once in three years was amended  by the House of Delegates Technology and Infrastructure Committee to once every two years. HB 4639 now is pending further consideration by the House of Delegates Finance Committee.

 Meanwhile, I continue to be a staunch supporter of our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, personal property rights, individual liberty, and pro-life family values.

 Further information on legislation and legislative issues is available at the West Virginia Office of Reference & Information at www.wvlegislature.gov or (304) 347-4836.

 My constituents also may visit www.LarryKump.com, and are encouraged to telephone me  at my legislative office (304) 340-3122. During session days, I always am in my office (Room 467 M) no later than 6:00 AM (and usually much earlier)

 Mat God bless you all real good!

Friday, February 7, 2020

2020 West Virginia Legislative News Report #4

 As the originating chambers rush to finish voting on proposals (bills) which started from the House of Delegates and State Senate, and we now have passed the half-way mark of the legislative session, here is a brief summary of some of the action that you may have missed:


 I voted in favor of HB 4478, which would make any person convicted of human trafficking never to be eligible to hold a commercial driver's license in West Virginia. HB 4478 passed the House of Delegates Technology and Infrastructure Committee and now is pending further consideration by the House of Delegates Judiciary committee.


I sponsored for an voted for HB 4544, to make it illegal to distribute controlled substances within 200 feet of a public library. HB 4544 passed the House of Delegates Judiciary committee, and now is pending a vote on the floor of the House of Delegates.

My HB 4639 would reduce the required  West Virginia annual vehicle inspection from every year to only once every three years. HB 4639 was heard in the House of Delegates Technology and Infrastructure committee and now is awaiting a final committee vote.

I sponsored HB 4522, which reduces bureaucratic barriers to obtain or renew West Virginia driver's licenses, under the Federal REAL ID act. HB 4522 passed the House of Delegates committee on Technology and Infrastructure  and now is pending further consideration by the House of Delegates Judiciary committee.

Meanwhile, I continue to be a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, personal property rights, individual liberty, and pro-life family values.

Further information on legislation and legislative issues is available @ the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference and information @ www.wvlegislature.com and (304) 347-4836.

My constituents also may visit www.LarryKump.us, and may also telephone me @ my legislative office, (304) 340-3122.

During the legislative session days, I always am in my legislative office (476M), no later than 6:00 AM, and usually much earlier.

May God bless you all real good! 



Kump Biography

Larry D. Kump came out of retirement and was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2010, serving two terms in office (until the end of 2014). He then once again came out of retirement and was elected for yet another two year term in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2018 (Republican, District #59, Berkeley-Morgan counties).

He also has over forty years of prior legislative and public administration skills and experience.

These skills and experience includes management expertise in managing large budgets and meeting payrolls. This expertise is on both the management and employees' side of the table in multiple jurisdictions throughout our nation. He also has drafted and gotten legislation passed into law, often against formidable opposition.

Larry is no stranger to hard work. He began work at age twelve (managing two newspaper routes at the same time), worked at a local shoe store at age 16 (every day after school and on Saturdays), and then continued working at a number of full and part-time jobs to pay for his college tuition. He even found time to be a local radio personality.

This proud father of David & Sarah graduated from Frostburg State University with a Political Science Major and a Minor in Economics, and since then has received an alumni achievement award.  His areas of college concentration included Social Science, Business Administration, Economics, Philosophy, and Geography. He later also returned to Hagerstown Community College to receive an Associate's degree, which included a concentration  in Criminal Justice. Since then, the community college has given him a community citation award.

He worked in bank management, trained as a CPA, was the Legislative Aide for the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Leader, and even was accepted as a candidate for MENSA membership.

This grass roots leader and Constitutional scholar then went on to be a Labor Relations Specialist for the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA), an independent public employee advocate organization.

After working for MCEA, Larry accepted the position as the Executive Director of the Indiana State Employees Association (ISEA), another independent public employee advocate group. He reorganized ISEA's structure and budget, frequently lecturing at Indiana University and Purdue University post graduate classes on public administration practices and principles.

This kinsman to founding father Patrick Henry and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump (1932 term) also is related to Town of Hedgesville founder Josiah Hedges.

He also previously served as Regional President of the Assembly of Governmental Employees (AGE), overseeing public policy advocacy issues from Illinois to West Virginia, and received various additional awards for his public service.

His other activities included serving as a leader of the Foundation for Advancement for Industrial research (FAIR), the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and many other public service organization, as well as serving as an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau and the American Arbitration Association.

Moving to West Virginia in 1989, he graduated at the top of his class from the Maryland Correctional Professional Staff Academy as a Maryland Prison Case Manager and then  continued to serve as a court expert witness, employee training coordinator, cognitive development trainer, employee critical incident stress counselor, and certified mediator.

He also worked part-time during the evenings as a sex offender group therapy facilitator.

Serving in numerous MCEA elected offices, Larry drafted legislative proposals for the Maryland Legislature and testified before various Legislative Committees.

In 1991, he also successfully organized a coalition of Berkeley County neighbors to block plans for sewage effluent discharge across their privately owned properties by an out-of-state developer.

After witnessing the overwhelmed facilities and woefully inadequate parking at the local Falling Waters Post Office, he contacted and persuaded the national postal authorities to build a new Post Office in 1993.

A cancer survivor, this independent thinker and advocate of citizen empowerment also is an ordained minister within the Hedgesville Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Larry is a strong believer in rock solid fiscal discipline, enhancing family values, and strengthening individual liberty and personal responsibilities.

Gravely concerned about those who are elected to represent us, Larry continues reminds friends and associates that our government belongs solely to the citizens, and that too many forget that one of the major sources of our nation's greatness simply is our Constitution and our citizens.

Meanwhile, Delegate Kump once again has answered the call to return to duty, and now again is a candidate for election to the West Virginia House of Delegates District #59 (Berkeley-Morgan Counties).

Please support his candidacy and contribute to his election @

Friends of Larry D. Kump
P.O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131

Also, please share this post with friends and family, asking them to go and do likewise.

Please visit the other posts on this website and also www.LarryKump.com for more about his views on the issues.

And may God bless you all real good!

Friday, January 31, 2020

2020 West Virginia Legislative Report #3

 Legislative action continues to intensify as more and more proposals (bills) are introduced, but only a selective few are given committee hearings and thereafter voted upon for passage in their originating chambers (House of Delegates or State Senate).

 This week I voted for, and the House of Delegates passed HB 4129 on adoption, which lessens the bureaucratic obstacles for the adoption of a child. HB 4129 now is pending consideration by the West Virginia State Senate.

 My HB 2497, the "Whistle-Blower" law, was passed by the House of Delegates (89 yeas, 6 nays, 5 absent). HB 2497 now is pending consideration by the West Virginia State Senate. HB 2497 protects government employees who "blow the whistle" on government wrong-doing or waste.

  I voted for, and the House of Delegates passed HB 4089, to require cursive writing to be taught in all of our schools. HB 4089 now is pending consideration by the West Virginia State Senate.

  I voted against HB 2433, which was narrowly defeated in the House of Delegates (47 yeas, 50 nays, 3 absent). HB 2433 would have further reduced the flexibility for local school boards to set their school year calendar. A motion the next day, to reconsider and re-vote on HB 2433, also was defeated (46 yeas, 52 nays, 2 absent). I again voted nay on reconsideration. I stood up, spoke up, and voted nay twice on HB 2433, because our local school boards should continue to have control over setting the local school year. Those who are concerned with school boards on this and other local school issues, should vote in the upcoming school board elections in May.

 I voted for, and the House of  Delegates passed HB 2419, to allow pre-trial release of inmates charged with misdemeanors (unless they are charge with a crime of violence, use of a deadly weapon, offense against a minor, drugs, or a serious traffic offense). This will help decrease the taxpayer expense of locking up defendants in regional jails while they are waiting for trial. HB 2419 now is pending consideration by the West Virginia State Senate.

 My HB 2605 was passed by the West Virginia House of Delegates Political Subdivisions Committee, and now moves on for further consideration by the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee. HB 2605 allows voters in West Virginia towns and cities to approve changing their June or other election dates to be on either the West Virginia regular Primary or General election dates, thus saving taxpayers money on elections and increasing voter turnout.

 Meanwhile, I continue to be a staunch supporter of our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, personal property rights, individual liberty, and pro-life family values.

 More information about West Virginia legislation is available at the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information, www.wvlegislature.gov or (304) 347-4836.

  My constituents also may visit www.LarryKump.com, telephone me at (304) 340-3122, or email me at Larry.Kump@wvhouse.gov for further inquiries. During session days, I always am in my legislative office (Room 476M) no later than 6:00 AM (and usually much earlier).

  May God bless you all real good!




  

Friday, January 24, 2020

2020 West Virginia Legislative Report #2


As legislative proposals (bills) continue to be introduced and voted upon in the West Virginia Legislature, here are three more proposals that may not yet have caught your attention:

 This week, I voted for HB 4062, the Pharmacy Audit Integrity Act, which passed the House of Delegates. It requires that, beginning on 1 January 2021, all prescription drug discounts given by drug companies to a health insurance carrier shall either be used to reduce the individual's health insurance premium or passed on directly to the individual when the prescription is purchased. HB 4062 now is pending consideration by the West Virginia State Senate.

 My HB 2497, "Whistle-Blower" law, has passed the House Judiciary Committee. HB 2497 protects state and local government employees who "blow the whistle" on wrong doing or waste. It now is pending  passage by the West Virginia House of Delegates.

  My HB 4351 would require the West Virginia Legislature to set a leadership example, by providing random drug testing for legislators. HB 4351 has been referred to the West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary committee.

 Meanwhile, I continue to be a staunch supporter of our 2nd Amendments right to bear arms, personal property rights, individual liberty, and pro-life family values.

 More information on legislation is available @ www.wvlegislature.com or by calling (304) 347-4836.

 Further, my constituents may visit www.LarryKump.com and are encouraged to telephone me @ (304) 340-3122 or email mail at Larry.Kump@wvhouse.gov for further inquiries.

 During session days, I always arrive in my legislative office (476M) no later than 6:00 AM, and usually much earlier.

 May God bless you all real good!



 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

2020 West Virginia Legislative Report # 1


It again is both my personal privilege and sacrifice to serve the citizens in the House of Delegates District #59 (portions of Berkeley and Morgan counties) of the West Virginia State Legislature.
During the legislative session, thousands of legislative proposals (bills) will be introduced but only a couple of hundred of them actually will be heard by a legislative committee, pass both the House of Delegates and State Senate, and be signed into law by our Governor.
Legislative committee deliberation and approval are the key gateway to the passage of any legislation into law
I serve on the House of Delegates Judiciary, Industry & Labor, and the Technology & Infrastructure committees.
As always, I continue to stand up and speak out on behalf of more taxpayer friendly and less intrusive government, based on our divinely inspired rights and responsibilities of our Constitution.
To that end, I am a staunch supporter of our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, personal property rights, individual liberty, and pro-life family values.
So far, during this 2020 legislative session, I have introduced 44 legislative bills.
For example, this week I sponsored and voted for HB 4007 ("Born Alive" Survivors Protection Act), which protects the lives of children who survive botched abortions. HB 4007 passed the House of Delegates on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020.
I am a sponsor of HB 4133, to provide more citizen friendly driver's license application options under the federally mandated "REAL ID" act.
I also am a sponsor of HB 4376, which would prohibit municipalities from limiting our 2nd Amendment rights.
More information on my positions on West Virginia good governance is available at www.LarryKump.com.
Constituents also are invited to telephone me directly at my State Capitol office, (304) 340-3122.
Stay tuned.🤔
There is more to come, and may God bless you all real good!🤗

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kump officially files for re-election to the West Virginia Legislature



FALLING WATERS, WEST VIRGINIA — Delegate Larry D. Kump has officially filed for re-election to the West Virginia Legislature.

 Delegate Kump, who previously filed pre-election papers with the Secretary of State’s office, again will be a Republican candidate to represent West Virginia House of Delegates District #59, which includes adjoining portions of both Berkeley and Morgan counties.

“After a strong and steady stream of personal pleadings urged me to yet again serve in public office and prolonged pondering and personal prayer, I have decided to answer this call to return to duty one more time,” Kump said .  He also cited the maxim, “Protanto quid retribuamus? (What shall we give in return for so much?)", as his motivation to continue serving the public.

 In 2010, Kump came out of retirement from a lifetime career of public service and was first elected, serving two terms in office, until the end of 2014. He then once again came out of retirement and was elected for yet another two-year term in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2018.

 During his terms of legislative service, "It always has been my habit to start each of my legislative work days at the State House prior to 6:00 AM, usually even earlier. It's amazing what you can accomplish with advance preparation and a robust work ethic!"

 "Tried and tested in the crucible of a life-time of public service", Kump said he previously has promised and will continue to stand up and speak out on behalf of more taxpayer friendly and less intrusive government. He also pledges to continue to serve with “integrity, accountability and transparency", professing that, "We must continue to work together to reduce senseless spending, improvident programs, and counterproductive taxes and regulations.”

  “During my previous tours of duty, 75 different Republican and Democrat legislators, in the 100-member West Virginia House of Delegates, co-sponsored legislation with me. Even so, I never have been and never will be someone who goes along, just to get along,” Kump pointed out.

 He went on to say that, "I never have participated in lobbyists' dinners or partied during legislative sessions, but my office door always has been open to anyone who wants to discuss issues and principles with me. Rather than relying on the loudest and most raucous voices of a few, my simple solution always has been to carefully consider the merits of all constituent concerns, but then also be diligent to uphold the principles of my sacred Constitutional Oath of Office.".

 Delegate Kump vows to continue to pursue the “principles of good governance”, which he believes will give our citizens meaningful tax reform, protect retired senior citizens and “working Mountaineers”, defend the personal right to bear arms, provide for local school accountability and parental choices, more equitable treatment of school teachers and state employees, and to safeguard our personal property rights and pro-life family values.

 He further elaborated that, "especially dear to my heart are those God given rights and responsibilities of our Constitution, which are the very keys of our individual and family prosperity.".

 “Additionally, still more needs to be done about the drug and alcohol abuse that rages throughout West Virginia,” Kump said. “And so, our West Virginia legislators, in addition to enacting other prudent measures, should lead by personal example. That’s why I’m again proposing random substance abuse testing for all West Virginia legislators.”

 Kump added that,  "times are still too hard for  too many of us, and so there needs to be more tax reform, not increased tax burdens in West Virginia."

 “A better way is to restructure our already ample state budget by reforming our tax system and state government programs,” he said. “Among other things, this could and should lead to improved highways (including long overdue improvements to Rt. #9 between Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs), reduced (not increased) gasoline prices at the pump, better internet access and the complete elimination of state taxes on our social security benefits and all pensions."

 "Further, the persistent problem of West Virginia's aging and declining population adversely affects all of us, including an expected decline in our representation in the United States Congress. In reviewing our state government policies and tax structure, we should undertake a serious study of, as well as action, to reverse this decline."

 This "battle-tested Christian conservative" has lived modestly in his legislative district for almost thirty years. He lives with his "beloved" wife Cheryl and their canine companion, "Bodacious Bob the Wonder Dog".  Meanwhile, Delegate Kump has vowed to continue being "firm and faithful on behalf of our traditional Mountaineer values, while working together, to keep all of us and our families independent".

 A kinsman of Patrick Henry and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump, as well as Town of Hedgesville founder Josiah Hedges, Kump currently serves on the West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary committee,  Government Organization committee, Industry and Labor committee, and Technology and Infrastructure committee.".

  Before previously retiring, Kump previously served  for over forty years in various public policy and administrative positions; including as a media and government relations professional, labor relations specialist and director, legislative staffer, prison case manager, court expert witness, training coordinator, cognitive development specialist, critical incident stress counselor, certified mediator and arbitrator, and even a sex offender group therapy facilitator.

 Join the Mountaineer League of Extraordinary Citizens, and make a difference  on behalf of good governance.

 Send your campaign contribution, whether modest of magnanimous, to:

Friends of Larry D. Kump
P. O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131

So, what are you waiting for?

 For more information about Delegate Larry D. Kump, read the "Kump Biography" @ www.LarryKump.us, as well as his posts about good governance @ www.LarryKump.com.

Please share this message with others, asking them to go and do likewise, and may God bless you all real good! 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Kump pledges more public service!

Hedgesville, West Virginia – Former two term West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014) and current incumbent Delegate (re-elected in 2018) made the following announcement at the May 1st, 2019 Hedgesville Mayor & Council meeting:

 “After a strong and steady stream of personal pleadings urged me to once again serve in public office and prolonged pondering and personal prayer, I decided to answer the call to return to duty one more time. And so, I now again am a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and also a candidate for re-election in 2020 (District #59, Berkeley-Morgan counties)."

"For me, 'Protanto quid retribuamus? (What shall we give in return for so much?)' is my reason to again  agree to serve the public trust."

“When previously elected, it was my sincere promise and firm conviction to always stand up and speak out on behalf of more taxpayer friendly and less intrusive government. "That has not changed, nor will it ever!"

"Accordingly, I continue to pursue those principles of good governance that will give us meaningful tax reform, protect retired senior citizens and working Mountaineers, defend our personal right to bear arms, provide for local accountability of our schools, more equitable treatment of our school teachers and state employees (including much needed reform of our educational system), and to safeguard our personal property rights and pro-life family values."

"Additionally,  still more needs to be done about the drug and alcohol abuse that rages throughout West Virginia. And so, our West Virginia legislators, in addition to enacting other prudent measures, should lead by our personal examples. That's why I'm  again proposing mandatory substance abuse testing for all West Virginia legislators."

"Meanwhile, times still are too hard for far too many Mountaineers. That's why we need tax reform, but not more tax burdens.

"A better way is to restructure our already ample state budget, by reforming our tax system and state government programs. Among other things, this could and should lead to improved highways (including long overdue improvements to Rt. #9 between Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs), reduced (not increased) gasoline prices at the pump, better internet access, and the complete elimination of state taxes on our social security benefits and all pensions.

"Further, the persistent problem of West Virginia's aging and declining population adversely affects all of us, even including our representation in the United States Congress. In reviewing our state government policies and tax structure, a serious study of how to reverse this decline also should be undertaken, and I continue to pursue ideas to turn around this problem."

Delegate Kump has over forty (40) years of extensive experience and skills in public policy and administration. He also is a kinsman of founding father Patrick Henry, Town of Hedgesville founder Josiah Hedges, and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump.

Moreover, Delegate Kump stands up and speaks put on behalf our personal liberty, empowerment, and accountability. He also fights to safeguard our family values and ensure government fiscal discipline.

 For almost thirty (30) years, Delegate Kump has lived at the same location and within the current West Virginia House of Delegates District #59. This District includes the northwestern area of Berkeley County and the eastern area of Morgan County.

Please join our Mountaineer League of Extraordinary Citizens, and make a difference!

"Send your personal campaign contribution ($100 to $250 is suggested, but whatever you can afford, whether modest or magnanimous, will be appreciated and helpful) to:

Friends of Larry D. Kump
P.O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131.

So, what are you waiting for?

For further information about Delegate Larry D. Kump, read the "Kump Biography" @ www.LarryKump.us, as well as his posts @ www.LarryKump.com.

Contact Larry in person at (304) 274-3104 or email him at kumpster@mailstation.com.

Footnote: Cash contributions will not be accepted. Also, West Virginia law does not allow the solicitation of campaign contributions from West Virginia public employees, and it is not the intention of this campaign to do so. Any known contribution received from a West Virginia public employee will be returned. All contributions over $250 must include your home physical address, occupation, and the name of your employer.

Please share this news with others, and also ask them to go and do likewise.

May God bless you all real good!


Authorized by "Friends of Larry D. Kump"

How this Citizen Legislator Serves

Recent legislative differences of opinions and even some  recent calumnious eruptions within the halls of our West Virginia State Legislature have prompted me to publish how and why I both continue to sacrifice and serve in the West Virginia House Of Delegates (District # 59, Berkeley-Morgan counties)

 Previously and currently, when serving in the West Virginia Legislature (2010-2014 and 2018 to present)), it always has been my habit to arrive early for all committee hearings, and also to start each of my legislative work days at the State House prior to 6:00 AM, and usually earlier than even then.

(It's amazing what you can accomplish with advance preparation and a robust work ethic!)

 Also, I never have participated in lobbyists' dinners or parties during legislative sessions.

 Even so, my legislative office door always has been open to anyone who wants to discuss issues and principles with me.

Furthermore, rather than relying on the loudest and most raucous voices of some constituents and a few lobbyists, my simple solution always has been to carefully consider the merits of all constituent concerns, but then also be diligent in upholding the sacred Constitutional Oath of Office, which is given to all elected officials.

Our Oath of Office is to prayerfully deliberate, uphold, and defend  our state and federal Constitutions. This sacred vow is not only made to us and our constituents, but also to God.

Truly, doesn't our Constitution  mandate that the basict principles and practices of our government are the pursuit of individual liberty, personal accountability, and personal empowerment (i. e., the "Pursuit of Happiness")?

And so, that always has been and is the well-spring of our unique "American Excellence", and also it is my duty and goal as a West Virginia state legislator.

Simply put, it's not about striving  to pander to the loudest  and most raucous voices.

Instead, it  always should be to attempt to strive to glean the best legislative vote, regardless of any future election outcome.

That is my greatest desire, and may that principle and practice of mine never waiver.

Please Visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump and www.LarryKump.us, for more about other principles and issues of good governance. For an even better view of the principles of good governance, read the "Davy Crockett & the Sockdolager" entry at www.LarryKump.us. It's a long read, but I believe that the governing principles that it proclaims is well worth your time and interest.
Share this post with others, and ask them to go and do likewise with still others.😉
May God bless you all real good!😍

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Davy Crockett & the Sockdolager

Reposted as requested:

When I just was a young sprat, the Walt Disney television show about the life of Davy Crockett, the hero of the Alamo, was the favorite of me and my pals. We all even persistently pestered our parents until they allowed all of us to get and proudly wear coonskin hats. Much later in my life, I gleefully discovered that Davy's grandparents once lived only a scant few miles from my Falling Waters home in Spring Mills (Berkeley County, West Virginia), where it still stands today. Back in 2013, I shared the following "Sockdolager" incident from Davy's life with all my fellow West Virginia State Legislators. It speaks for itself.
 - West Virgina Delegate Larry D. Kump



Davy Crockett & the "Sockdolager"

From The Life of Colonel David Crockett,
by Edward S. Ellis (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)

Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"

"Yes."

"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."