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Local Editorials

From our archives: Afraid to debate? Certainly seemed so

What we thought: 75 years ago

Scott W. Lucas
Lucas, a Democrat, beat Richard J. Lyons, a Republican, for U.S. Senate in 1938 and served two 6-year terms. Everett Dirksen, a Republican, defeated Lucas in 1950.
Scott W. Lucas (1892-1968) Lucas, a Democrat, beat Richard J. Lyons, a Republican, for U.S. Senate in 1938 and served two 6-year terms. Everett Dirksen, a Republican, defeated Lucas in 1950.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following editorials appeared in the Telegraph on Oct. 25, 28 and 29, 1938.

There is only

one answer

Why does Scott W. Lucas, Democratic candidate for United States senator, refuse persistently to debate on the same platform with Richard J. Lyons, Republican candidate?

There is only one answer. Mr. Lucas is afraid to debate.

Such beating ‘round the mulberry bush as the Democratic candidate has resorted to will deceive no one except those with their spoons already in the Democratic gravy, and they don’t need to be converted.

Those honestly searching for enlightenment would get it if they could attend a Lyons-Lucas debate, but Lucas refused to help them. They might get some information if Lucas would answer some of the many questions propounded by Lyons, but Lucas refuses.

Knox College at Galesburg two weeks ago observed the 80th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debate in that city, and sponsors of the commemoration decided a good feature of the program would be a Lyons-Lucas debate.

Lucas had an opportunity to cover himself with glory, but he refused. Lucas agreed, however, to speak from the same platform, but only if debate were barred, and if Lyons spoke first.

Why didn’t Mr. Lucas want Lyons to speak last? Because he feared Lyons would destroy his straw man.

The following night, both Lucas and Lyons were scheduled to speak at Monmouth, and again Lucas declined to debate. In fact, Lucas canceled his appearance. Harry B. Hershey, state Democratic chairman, explained weakly that Lucas stayed away so that Lyons could be assured of an audience.

The campaign will wind up in Cook County, where a Lyons-Lucas debate no doubt would be welcomed, and in all probability, Mr. Lyons will again call for joint debate.

One observer has remarked that Illinois produced Abraham Lincoln, who was no yes-man, and among other Republican notables it produced Uncle Joe Cannon, who certainly was no yes-man, and that now nothing would be finer for the state than a decision to turn its “Lyons” loose in the halls of Congress. – Oct. 25, 1938

Elmer’s dilemma

Where’s Elmer? That promises to be the rallying cry now that the new federal wage-hour law has become effective and employers throughout the country are still wondering who’s in and who’s out.

Elmer is Elmer Andrews, administrator of the act and head of a bureau of about 100 employees who had hoped to be able to get the red tape swept away before the act became effective Oct. 24.

The law provides that all employers in interstate commerce shall pay their employees a minimum of 25 cents an hour, limiting the working week to 44 hours or pay time and a half for overtime.

In the last few days, Andrews has been asked to decide if an apartment house may be considered to be in interstate commerce, if a reporter is a professional man and therefore exempt, and if a contracting company that works for a railroad is in interstate commerce.

Those are a few of the questions. There are thousands more, and Andrews, who has trained as a civil engineer, faces the busiest year of his life.

Some 750,000 persons, he estimates, will benefit from increased wages, while 1,500,000 more will have their hours of labor reduced. – Oct. 29, 1938

The golden

age of jails

Jail architecture, like many another form of art, has been bountifully boosted with both WPA and PWA endowments. The prize for Best Jail of the Year properly belongs, or will be awarded until further notice, to Pickens County, Georgia.

White marble was the material, and the marble was quarried in Pickens County in great slabs six feet long, each weighing 1,200 pounds. Doors and windows are of saw and file proof steel, with all entrances and exits controlled from a central tower.

There are quarters for 100 prisoners, or should it be guests in such magnificent surroundings?

Construction of the building, however, violated one of the time-honored customs of public construction. It was expected to cost $40,000, but actually cost one-fourth of that amount, $10,000.

This year has been momentous. Great things have happened at home and abroad. Historians of the future may ignore the peace of Munich, the shift to the right in democracies, or the growth of fascism, to record that jail building reached the Golden Age with the construction of a white marble edifice to house 100. – Oct. 28, 1938

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