42nd Annual Governors' Conference

State Papers and Public Addresses, Okey L. Patteson, Twenty-third Governor of West Virginia, 1949-1953
compiled and edited by Rosalind Carroll Funk.


JUNE 19, 1950

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Guests and Fellow Governors:

Quite frankly, this is one of the proudest and happiest moments of my life. I never dreamed that I would ever have the outstanding honor of bidding the Governors of our States and Territories welcome to our great State of West Virginia - and to add to that distinct pleasure - I can even call you "Fellow Governors."

I have been most happy ever since the Executive Committee accepted the invitation to hold this Conference in West Virginia, and have been looking forward to this day when I could officially welcome you to West Virginia.

I can assure you that I, and all those who have worked so diligently on the arrangements, have endeavored in every way possible to anticipate your every need. It is our sincere hope that you will have such a grand visit here at the famous Greenbrier in our beautiful State that it will live forever in your memory.

My wife and two daughters, Fanny Lee and Anna Hughes, are highly honored to be your hostesses at this Conference and will consider it a real pleasure to aid you and the members of your party, in any way possible.

My Executive Secretary, Mrs. Rosalind C. Funk, is General Chairman for the Host State, and can be reached through our offices, day or night, and I can assure you that your slightest wish is her command.

You will find that former Governor Meadows, as Chairman of the Welcoming Committee, and General Fox and Colonel Burchett, Co-Chairmen of the Transportation Committee, and all the Members of the Host State Committees and staff are eager to serve you. Please feel free to call upon them.

I want to take this opportunity of sincerely thanking our very able Secretary, Frank Bane, and his Secretary, Miss Mary Lou Hoy, for the splendid cooperation they have given the Host State. Their advice, counsel and help have been invaluable.

For the second time in the history of our State, we have the honor of entertaining the Governors' Conference. In December of 1922, the Conference was held right here at the Greenbrier. It is indeed amazing when we think of all that has transpired since that time and the changes which have taken place.

It is small wonder that there were only 22 Governors in attendance at that Conference, considering the transportation facilities which were available then. The Governors who came from distant points spent many days in tiresome travel. However, today with the streamlined fast passenger trains; our super-highways and our great airline service, you Governors were only a matter of hours from White Sulphur Springs. Furthermore, the Governors' Conference at that time had not reached the stage of importance that it now holds in our national and world affairs. In the early years of the Conference, it was largely an occasion for social gatherings, and mutual problems were few in number as compared with those which confront us today. In recent years, the Conference has grown into an institution which renders invaluable service to the individual States and the Nation as a whole.

We Governors are indeed fortunate to have this privilege of meeting together once a year for the purpose of exchanging ideas, studying problems of mutual concern to all, formulating plans and programs which will be beneficial to all our citizens; and the Executive Committee has arranged a most excellent program for this Forty-Second Governors' Conference.

Tomorrow - June the 20th - is the birthday of our great State of West Virginia. She has already had 86 glorious birthdays; but tomorrow will be the most outstanding anniversary she has ever had, due to the fact that we have so many Governors here to help us celebrate this great occasion. West Virginia could never have received a nicer birthday tribute, than to be honored by the presence of such a large group of Governors assembled under one roof, at one time, within the borders of our State. I am sure that it is indeed a rare occasion when a State can celebrate her birthday by having as her guest the National Governors' Conference.

Again on behalf of all the citizens of West Virginia, I bid you a most sincere and hearty welcome. I realize that perhaps I am a little prejudiced in thinking that my own State is the greatest State in the Union, and that its citizens are the best ever. However, I am confident that after your brief stay here, you will have to agree with me to the extent that the genuine and warm hospitality of West Virginians is unsurpassed. We are delighted to have the opportunity of being your host at this time, and appreciate very much your having accepted our invitation to be with us.

As Governor of West Virginia, and as a fellow member of this Conference I extend a most genuine welcome from the bottom of my heart. The Greenbrier Hotel is now your Executive Mansion. Please make yourself right at home, and take advantage of all the facilities offered here.

Again may I remind you that if there is anything - no matter how small or how large - that any of us can do for you, please be sure to let us know.

It is just my sincere hope that you will have a most enjoyable time, as well as a most beneficial Conference.

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