Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey

Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey


Announcer: From WV
Public Broadcasting   Jay, A Rockefeller’s
Journey is presented with
financial assistance from the West Virginia
Humanities Council.   § Woman singing somberly
in German gives way to
violin music.   Jay: Music is a huge
part of my life.   §   Jay: I spend at least an
hour to an hour and a half every single day listening
to Johann Sebastian Bach. If you serve in public
life, you need something
that grounds you that puts things in
perspective which is
just sheer beauty, which is not about
Republicans and Democrats
fighting each other.   §   Jay: I started listening
to music when I was about
6 and I started piano lessons when I was
about 8 and I kept
them up thru college. And I tend to like masses
and oratorios and things
that have to do with the death of Jesus Christ and
the mourning of that.   §   Jay: It’s something
that touches your soul,
something that’s so beautiful that it takes
the breath out of you. And it’s haunting and it
stays with you forever. It makes me a
better person.   Narrator: Why would an
heir to one of the
nation’s largest family fortunes, familiar
and comfortable in the
most elite circles, come to one of the
poorest states in
the nation and stay?   Jay: I think that I
was meant to do this. I think this is what I
was always meant to do.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
will choose his own and
unexpected path, into public service,
and public office. He’ll go from Harvard
student, to Peace Corps volunteer to social
worker in WV. He’ll go from the
WV House of Delegates to
the Secretary of States’ office, from college
president to governor
and from the governor’s office, to 3 decades
in the US Senate.   Jay: I love the Senate. I love the Senate. I love the intensity
of the work, the
gravity of the issues. I love fighting
for WV here.   Jay: I don’t know of
anything more honorable,
more satisfying than helping people. But there’s a lot of
downside to it,
exhaustion, failure.   Man: He’s a friend
of the people. He’s been thru different
trials and tribulations,
may I say, that prove that he’s
really a friend of, not only the black people,
but all people.   Narrator: He will say he
learns experientially and
he’ll take with him the heartbreak and frustration
he experiences, first as a
student in a foreign country and later as a
VISTA social worker,
living among the poor who lack jobs, health care,
quality education and
often workers’ rights. He’ll take these
experiences of social
injustice all the way to the nation’s capital,
where he’ll be an
instrumental force in passing landmark
legislation.   Wyden: Make no mistake
about it, this has come
about because a humble person who has been
relentless in his
admirable desire to stand up for those in need, said
he was going to go to bat for this program every
step of the way.   Jay: It’s why I don’t
consider my being in
elective office or being in the governorship or
the Senate as a job. I consider it as a
privilege, an opportunity
to do things.   Robert Rupp: We’re looking
at a narrative that could not be written
about in fiction. We’re looking
at someone from one
of the most famous, and maybe infamous,
families in
American history, one of the wealthiest
families, one who has been
raised in an environment that WV is not
even on the fringe. And yet he will end up
coming to WV, he will
end up staying in WV, he will end up working for
WV, in a career that will
span almost 50 years. That’s an amazing story. It’s an amazing legacy.   Applause   Narrator: Autumn 1957. The United States is
experiencing its most prosperous time
in decades. The Korean War is over,
Dwight Eisenhower is in
the White House and in a dorm room in one of the
most elite Ivy League
colleges resides an heir to one of the nation’s
largest family fortunes, amassed by one of its most
ruthless industrial titans. The young man is 6
feet 6 inches tall and
will inherit millions. But in many ways, he feels
uncomfortable,
unfulfilled, even stymied, like his father and
to a greater extent,
his father’s father.   Jay: He was unhappy in
his life a lot and one of
the problems I saw in my grandfather and to some
extent in my father was
that they couldn’t break free to be themselves
until they were in their
late ’40s and ’50s, but I saw that and I was
determined that was not
going to happen to me.   §   Narrator: John
Rockefeller,
nicknamed Jay, the great-grandson of
John Davison Rockefeller,
is born June 18, 1937 in New York City,
just 3 weeks after the
death of John D Senior. At the turn of the 20th
century, John D is
considered the most hated man in America, a
reputation remembered to this day by the public
and his family. As co-founder of Standard
Oil Company, John D is
despised for controlling up to 99% of the country’s
oil refining business by
unapologetically crushing mom and pop refineries
thru a brilliantly
organized monopoly.   Jay: He was obviously a
phenomenal business person,
phenomenal and creative, grasping for more
and more money. That was the way
things were then. There were no rules
and regulations. President Teddy Roosevelt
finally passed the
Sherman Antitrust Law. He divided the Standard
Oil Company into 13
different companies, all of which
my great-grandfather had huge amounts of stock in,
right? So it just made
him richer. It was still a good Act,
but I’ve always been struck by the
irony of that.   Narrator: John D becomes a
billionaire and possibly the richest man
in the world. His wealth ensures
unmatched opportunities
for generations of descendants, including
a life of opulence at
the secluded, secure, sprawling family
estate he built in
Pocantico Hills, NY. This is where Jay will
visit his grandfather,
during the Great Depression, accompanied by
his sisters, Sandra, two
years older, and Hope, 11 months younger. When America enters World
War II, Rockefeller’s
father moves the family to Washington DC where
he serves as a Navy
lieutenant commander. The youngest child,
Alida, is born in 1948. Less than a year later,
Jay is sent away to
boarding school, to exclusive
Phillips-Exeter Academy
in New Hampshire.   Jay: I was 12. I was too young to
go to prep school. I’d grown so much. I was already huge when I
was in elementary school. So back in those days they
just advanced you a grade. That’s a bad thing
to do, especially
to a young male, if you go into your class,
at least a year younger
than everybody else. That’s one of the reasons
I’m not that much of a
socializer and I’m a little bit of
an introvert.   Narrator: The national
economy is now booming. Rockefeller graduates
Exeter and moves right
onto Harvard College, with most assuming the
great-grandson will one
day head one of the Rockefeller Family
enterprises.   Jay: Why did I
go to Harvard? Because virtually
everybody in my class at
Exeter went to Harvard, but I didn’t like
Harvard and it was in the middle of the ’50s,
end of the ’50s. People were
just satisfied. People weren’t driven to
talk about interesting and difficult things or other
people’s problems.   Narrator: Then come
Jay’s junior year and
a defining moment.   Jay: I was elected
president of a very
elite social club, which meant that I
would have to spend
my senior year, convincing thru black tie
dinners Harvard students
to join the Fly Club. ‘Had my own office, I had
a rope that I could pull
and somebody in a white coat would come up and
say, “What would you
like.” After 3 weeks, I went to the person
I felt closest
to at Harvard, Doctor Ed Reischauer,
and I said, “Get
me out of here fast. I don’t want to become
what I think I will become
unless I go contrary to what’s going on in life
now around here.” I wanted
out and within I think 3 weeks or so I
was in Japan. I knew I had to make a
break in order to begin
to figure out who I was, what I wanted to do and I
wanted it to be worthy.   Narrator: Jay
Rockefeller’s career path
will surprise his parents and his journey will be
unlike that of any other Rockefeller of his
generation. Throughout, he will remain
profoundly influenced and
motivated by Rockefeller Family legacy and
by family history. Other Rockefellers
of his generation
are influenced, too.   Jay: It’s interesting
that all of the women
in my generation in the Rockefeller family and
there are many more women
than men, they have all, including all 3 of
my sisters, when they
were in their teens, they dropped their last
name of Rockefeller. It was just not a
good name to have. It put many impediments
into their relationships
at school and elsewhere. And so they dropped it
and to this day, none of
them have taken it back.   Narrator: It’s important
to note the complexity of
the Rockefeller patriarch and how some
characteristics of John
Davison Senior can be seen threaded throughout
succeeding generations
of Rockefellers. While he boasted of his
business prowess, John
D Senior was a staunch Baptist, who frowned on
notoriety and frivolous
and decadent living.   Rupp: Then you
immediately go to the
son and the son said, “I was born in wealth
and I couldn’t do
anything about it”, but the question is what
do you do with wealth and
what he did with wealth was start giving it
away, philanthropy. The next generation is
into service, with the 2
uncles who are Governor. And then that leads us to
Jay’s generation, what
they called the Cousins. This amazing 4th
generation is still
Rockefellers, still extremely one
of the largest family
fortunes in America. Where are they gonna go? And it seems
that they part. Some of them reject it
during the ’60’s and go away and some of them,
like Jay, embrace it. But what they’re embracing
here is service: “I have
wealth, I have power. I’m gonna do something
for my country,
for my nation.”   Jay: Really, I think it’s
a matter of just feeling
that public service is the area in which the most
can be done and that
the opportunity to help America or a small part
of it is the greatest
in public service. And therefore for me, it’s
the most exciting career.   Narrator: Although he is
a great-grandson, John
Rockefeller the Harvard student is not John
D Rockefeller IV. While rejecting a life
of leisure the family
dynasty can afford him, he requests the
patriarch’s name.   Jay: My birth certificate
says John Rockefeller to spare me from the John D.
Rockefeller IV thing. But the fact of the
matter is I’m very
proud of the name. I wrote my grandfather,
John D Rockefeller Junior
and I asked him for permission to change
my name to John
D Rockefeller IV, because in a way that
increased the pressure
on me to do good, to live up to this
awesome name and do good.   Rupp: So many people in
the Rockefeller family
would end up trying to run away or hide from and what
he’s really doing is going right to the source
and embracing it. And I think
that says something
about his character, it says something about
his ambition, something about what he wants to do
with the Rockefeller name. By adopting the
great-grandfather’s
name he said, “I’m not doin’ PR here,
I’m not running away from
this.” It was a very striking action
by a young man of 21.   Jay: And the letter that
my grandfather wrote me
is absolutely beautiful.   Interviewer:
What did he say?   Jay: That you’re obviously
very proud of our family,
you want to do good. And that makes it
very easy for me to
give you permission. Did I need his permission? In my mind I did.   Narrator: At the time,
John the 3rd, working
closely with Jay’s mother, Blanchette, runs the
Rockefeller Foundation. Jay’s father also heads
the Rockefeller Brothers
Fund and organizes first-of-their kind
national commissions
on philanthropy. He manages all Rockefeller
medical research and
public health programs. He also establishes the
Population Council, helps
build the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in
New York City and sets up the United Negro College Fund. These are just a few
of Jay’s parents’ philanthropies and passions.   Jay: They worked hard. They were very
strict Baptists. It wasn’t a touchy,
feely type family. To be honest, if I wanted
to see my father in our
home I had to make an appointment to go see him
in his study as did my
sisters, my 3 sisters. It was a formal house. When we had important
friends of my father
to dinner we were sent upstairs to eat upstairs
because you don’t mix
those 2 things. And that hurt
a little bit. But the main thing
was that he worked and he worked really,
really hard. And so did my mother. It was harder those
days for women to work. She found ways. She was president of the
Museum of Modern Art. She did all
kinds of things.   Interviewer: Your younger
sister was quoted many
years ago as saying, “My father and mother’s
greatest fear was that
their 4 children might take their wealth for
granted and grow up
spoiled and arrogant.”   Jay: Spot on. She’s exactly right. And unfortunately it’s
worked out in the cases of
some of my generation that they have kind of been
trust fund babies. To me, if you don’t
work you don’t exist. I think you have to work. It doesn’t have to
change the world. It doesn’t even have to
change the block or the
rural road that you live on; but you have
to work and again
it has to be hard. I measure people by that. I think work is
part of salvation. Working for an honorable
purpose is more
a part of salvation.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
leaves the comfort and
prestige of Harvard to teach English at the
very new International Christian University
in Tokyo, Japan. He decides to enroll as a
student as well to learn
the Japanese language. And all this makes sense. His parents had long
worked on developing
cultural ties with Japan, not a popular effort
among many Americans
following WW II. The Rockefellers had also
made lasting friendships
among the Japanese people, including one with
Shoichiro Toyoda
who, decades later, would become chairman of
Toyota Motor Corporation. As a teenager, Jay travels
twice to Japan in the
1950s with his parents. Earlier, while at Exeter,
he gets permission to skip
a science class in order to take Chinese and
Japanese history. So while Asian studies
are already of interest
to the Harvard student, leaving his senior
year for Japan is not
a calculated move.   Jay: It wasn’t, in fact,
calculated at all. My reason for going to
Japan was I wanted to get
out of what I thought I might become if I stayed
at Harvard, getting into
something where I not only couldn’t speak the
language but where
everybody was different and I was tremendously
tall and they’d never sort of seen anything
like that before. So it was the
getting out factor. Putting yourself
in hard situations,
tough situations, where you have to survive
by your wits and study of
the language over a period of 3 years, that’s
a long time.   Narrator: While
Jay had visited
the country before, he could not have known
how living as a student in
Japan would affect him.   Jay: This is 12 years
after the end of WW II
and they were on the mat. They were down. They were struggling. In the deepest sense
they were struggling. Those were my friends. Those were my roommates. We lived together in the
middle of a rice field in
a paper and wood shack and walk or bicycle every
day, in my case to learn
the Japanese language. Japanese is hard,
the written language,
3,500 ideographs; kanji they call it. And it was hard. And that’s when you got
up really early in the
morning and it was cold and you practice and you
practice and you practice
and you practice. And I got good
at Japanese. And I went to farms of my
roommates, friends’
families or their families which had been in their
families for 30
generations and began to understand what a long,
committed history of hard work and hardship
brings to people. It was a very personal
experience for me, a
very deep experience. It was the beginning of
putting me on the track
to public service.   Narrator: And so the
seeds of what will become
the 2nd biggest single industrial investment in
WV history, the Toyota
Motor Corporation Plant in Buffalo, are sown
in the late 1950s,
in a rice field, in a small wooden house
in late night and early morning study of the
Japanese language.   Rupp: Fast forward
and suddenly
what is happening? Toyota is bringing their
plant to WV and who is in the middle making the deal, but Jay Rockefeller. He’s the bridge.   Narrator: 1,200 jobs, a
billion-point-3 in
investment after a decade of trips and
meetings to promote
WV, his adopted home. As WV’s Governor,
Rockefeller will set up
an economic development office in Japan, a move
criticized by many during
a national recession. Years later, as US
Senator, meeting in Japan
with Doctor Shoichiro Toyoda and his staff
in Japan, Rockefeller
seals the deal for the automotive plant, thanks
in part to his knowledge
of the Japanese language.   Lane Bailey: And
one of the Japanese
said to the other, “This isn’t gonna work,
this State is not the
place to put this plant. Have you heard about
the labor problems?” And I saw Jay just sitting
there listening to this
conversation and then suddenly Jay spoke out in
Japanese to the people
having this conversation. They realized for the
first time, “Oh my God, he
recognized what we were saying” and the
room fell silent. Having a US Senator who
speaks Japanese and writes Japanese was very useful
in these discussions. And then we had a high
five at the end of that
meeting and Doctor Toyoda shook his hand and said,
“We’re gonna go to WV.”
It was really awesome!   WV Representative: The
doors are always open.   Narrator: By the time
Rockefeller retires
from public office, more than 20 Japanese
companies establish
facilities in WV.   Tom Heywood: I think it’s
impossible to overstate
the significance of that relationship begun over a
half century ago and what
it’s meant for WV a half a century later, but not
just the jobs created
by foreign investment, but by jobs here created
by West Virginians, direct investment by US companies, WV companies, small
business entrepreneurs, you can really see Jay
light up because he has a
great appreciation of the power and importance of
a job and a good job for
every West Virginian.   Applause   Narrator: A grateful
Japan bestows upon John D
Rockefeller IV the Grand Cordon of the Order of the
Rising Son as he begins his final year in
the US Senate.   Toshiaki Taguchi: I
think he has a very fair assessment between
Japan and the US. He always tries to make
the 2 bilateral relations
better, like his father. We admire the family’s
contribution to Japan and the US relationship
very much.   Taguchi: And join
me as we salute our
very good friend, Senator Jay Rockefeller. Kanpai!   Crowd: Kanpai!   Jay: Two of the people
who wanted to come were
friends of mine from that place and they
couldn’t come because
they’re older. And they texted
me their sort of grief
and I texted them that, as far as I was concerned,
they were there; they’d
always been there for me and they were there
on that night.   Jay: We have enjoyed a
deep friendship rooted
in our mutual values, like service and
dedication to our
family and country.   Jay: If I hadn’t gone
to Japan, would I
have been here in WV? I want to say yes, but
I can’t prove that. I had to get outside of my
box, outside of my comfort
zone, my privilege zone.   § Narrator: Jay
Rockefeller returns
from Japan in 1960, a year he defies
Rockefeller Republican
tradition: He votes for a
Democrat for President.   Jay: I voted for Kennedy
over Nixon, so that was
the break point, right? That was an easy
decision for me.   Narrator: But he doesn’t
change his party
registration, he says, out of respect
for his Uncle Nelson,
Governor of New York, who’s running for the
Republican Party’s
presidential nomination.   Jay: And I could not go
down and register as a
Democrat because that would have been unkind or
a slap in the face to him. So that’s what
held things up.   Narrator: 1960 is also the
year Rockefeller gains
national attention for articles published that
summer in the New York
Times and Life Magazine. In the articles, he
explores reasons for
student demonstrations in Japan and Japan’s
mutual security
treaty with the US. 1960 also ushers in
America’s decade of idealism, change and
political upheaval.   Jay: I’m a child
of the ’60s. ‘Sounds funny to hear
myself say that but I am. People just believed in
the promise of America and the promise of what was
within each of them. And they weren’t afraid to
take on new things, new
ideas, the Peace Corps, Legal Aid, Head Start and
all kinds of things that
were put in place by a guy named R Sargent Shriver,
who is my all-time hero.   Narrator: Rockefeller
graduates Harvard in 1961
with a degree in Far Eastern Languages
and History. He immediately
enters Yale for a 5-year
program to learn Chinese. But the New York Times and
Life magazine articles
catch the attention of the new Kennedy Administration, including Sargent Shriver, who’s developing the
Peace Corps program. Shriver sends a letter to
Jay Rockefeller, asking
him to join the effort. Rockefeller leaves Yale,
joins the National
Advisory Council of the Peace Corps and becomes
a special assistant to
Shiver in Washington.   Jay: He was so talented,
he was so determined. He just never stopped
pouring out good ideas and then making good
on those ideas. The Peace Corps was
laughed at by many, in
the very early ’60’s. And he went to every
single Congressperson and
lobbied and got the money.   Narrator: After a year,
Shriver assigns
Rockefeller to head the Philippines
program, the largest
in the Peace Corps.   Charles Peters: We have a
project in the Philippines requiring teachers of
English.   Narrator: Rockefeller
meets Charlie Peters,
director of evaluation at the Peace Corps, a
WV native and former
state legislator.   Peters: One day, this
tall, lanky guy stuck his
nose into my door and said, “Somebody, ‘X’,
told me we should get
to know each other, so you want to
have lunch?” So we had lunch. It turned out our first
bond was not over any high
intellectual calling, but we both love
baseball and football. [Laughter] And so, we got
to talking about sports.   Narrator: The
Harvard-educated and
well-connected Rockefeller knows the Kennedy
family socially. He’s attended White
House dinners and been to Hickory Hills,
Robert Kennedy’s home.   Peters: Why I expected
him to be a stuffy prig. I just didn’t imagine
that someone that rich
would be nice [Laughter]. I thought he’d be
spoiled to death and all
that and very elitist. He was none of
those things; he was very down to earth,
super down to earth.   Narrator: After 2 years
in the Peace Corps,
Rockefeller joins the State Department’s Far
Eastern Affairs office,
but soon confides in his close friend that
he isn’t satisfied as an
administrative officer at a Washington desk. He wants a more hands-on
job working at a grassroots level
impacting poverty.   Peters: My first line of
persuasion was, “Well, if
you want to know about poverty, come to WV.”   Robert Kennedy:
Our program here
in Charleston –.   Peters: Robert
Kennedy, who was then
the Attorney General, was in charge of a program
called the President’s
Council on Juvenile Delinquency, which was
running the pilot programs
that turned into the War on Poverty and one of
those was something called
Action for Appalachian Youth and headquartered
in Charleston. Bobby said, “Well, if you
want to go to WV, why don’t you check in with
those people. So Jay went to work
out in a little
town called Emmons.   Narrator: The isolated
community of Emmons, WV
is located on the Kanawha County/Boone County
border, 20 miles
south of Charleston. Its population in
1964 is about 240. All, but 13 of its 60
families, are on welfare.   Shirley Giles: Anywhere
I’d see him, he’d say,
“Why Shirley!” He just seemed like
one of my boys.   Narrator: Lifelong Emmons
resident Shirley Giles was a member of one of these
working families. In 1964, her husband
is a chemical worker
and a Baptist preacher. Shirley is raising
their 2 sons and
attending college.   Giles: When Jay came to
Emmons, first time I saw
him he came over here in the yard and I had
all my mattresses
out sunnin’ them. And I said, “You must
be a Rockefeller.”
I looked up at him, I was short and
I was right. And from then on
we were very close.   Narrator: Shirley soon
learns the young man has
an insatiable appetite.   Giles: Pinto beans and
cornbread and fried pies and ‘said I baked fabulous
pecan pies. We’d have cucumbers and
onions in a dish with
vinegar on it and he’d just stick his fingers
in there and eat it.   Rupp: What is amazing is
that there should not be an intersection between
the man and the state. Jay is part of one of the
wealthiest families in the
nation and he’s coming to one of the poorest
states in the nation. He seems like an alien, he
seems like an outsider and the term they used was
carpetbagger. How will he adapt to
the Appalachia that is not at all part of his
experience?   Giles: Some people
rejected him because they
knew he had money and because of his name. A lot of people was on
welfare and things like that and drank and that’s
all they knew.   Jay: Being a VISTA
volunteer is an incredibly
intimate experience. I was this tall stranger
coming from the city that
everybody loved to hate and with a name that lots
of people love to hate. And so what was
I doing there? It was hard to explain it
to myself even at the time
but I was trying to get out of my comfort zone
and to learn what real
people in the real world, what they face, what
they’re up against.   Giles: He’s kind and
tender and caring and
loving and patient. He had to be patient to
work here in Emmons, but
he wasn’t afraid to put his finger in it
and get it burned.   Jay: What saved me
is I’ve always been
good with kids. There’s one railroad track
that goes thru Emmons. I would sit on the
rail; they would
sit on the rail. We would sort of toss
rocks, not at each other, but just pick ’em up and
toss ’em. And then they
got comfortable. And then one of them said,
“Ah come on; let’s go back to my house and we’ll get something to eat. And that broke
the whole thing. I hadn’t proved myself but
I had demystified myself in some way which they
found acceptable.   Shriver: We’ve started
a domestic Peace
Corps called VISTA. 9,000 Americans have
volunteered to serve in
that for $50 a month.   Narrator: The VISTA
program emphasizes citizen-directed community
improvement projects. But getting that input
becomes another lesson in the education
of Jay Rockefeller.   Jay: People generally, I
think, in WV, are nervous
about change because if you’ve got what you’ve
got, at least you’ve got
that even if you don’t like it, you’ve got
what you’ve got. And any idea of something
new, doing something new,
organizing a community organization was
nerve wracking. People would come to
community meetings and
sometimes some of the men face the other directions,
because they were not accustomed to talking in
public settings. A community meeting was
a strange organism and
a threatening organism.   Narrator: The national
press follows John D
Rockefeller IV to WV which has a level of poverty
only recently discovered
by President Kennedy and along with Kennedy, much
of the rest of the nation. Rockefeller talks to
reporters about a fatalism
he sees in the community he’s living in, comments
that anger many West Virginians who let Jay know about it. This is the first of what
will be a pattern for Jay
Rockefeller throughout his career, speaking without
filtering his comments
from saying West Virginians suffer with an
inferiority complex, while
he’s Secretary of State in the late 1960s, all the
way to his last months
in the US Senate, while chairing his Senate
Commerce Committee, when
he says some oppose the Affordable Care Act
because President Obama is “maybe of the wrong color.” Rockefeller remains
undeterred by the backlash
over such comments.   Jay: You have to face up
to things that potentially
hold you back. And if they make people
uncomfortable, then you’re
wrong to say it if it’s not true, if it is true,
somebody has to say it,
maybe it shouldn’t be me, but somebody
has to say it. And you have to make
people want to be, as they
say, all that they can be.   Narrator: Eventually the
hard feelings about the
comment on fatalism in Emmons dissipate to a
point that allows
Rockefeller to assess multiple service needs
and move several basic
initiatives forward.   Giles: He provided
transportation to the
kids to dental clinics. He tried to encourage
’em to go to school. He helped a lot
of children in the
community get jobs. I don’t know whether
anybody could have just
came in and done that; ‘takes a special person.   Narrator: Rockefeller uses
his connections to bring
celebrities to Emmons, like Cleveland Browns
running back Jim Brown. He also brings Little
League Baseball
to the community.   Jay: We started
a baseball team. They had never had
a bat, they had
never had a glove, they’d thrown rocks
but they hadn’t
thrown baseballs, baseballs were expensive. And they got pretty good
and they saw themselves
getting pretty good.   Narrator: Rockefeller
leads the building of
a community center, the material for which
comes primarily from an
abandoned school building in another section
of the county.   Charles Ryan: It isn’t
the Rockefeller Center
that the world thinks of, but to the people
of Emmons, WV, it’s
just as important. Rockefeller Center,
consisting of a community
building and park, was conceived
by anti-poverty worker
John D Rockefeller IV. The people, in
appreciation, named the
center Rockefeller Center.   Narrator: John D
Rockefeller 3rd visits Emmons for the
official opening. Jay is also successful
in getting the women of
Emmons access to mobile health screenings and
successfully petitions
the board of education to extend school bus service
into the rural community.   Peters: It was clear
that he loved the people
and they loved him. He was going to WV to
learn about poverty, learn
about domestic problems but now, he’d
fallen in love and
he was gonna stay.   Jay: It was really hard
emotionally to see what
they were going thru, emotionally to see the
way they were getting
shafted at every corner, by every form of
government and
private sector. And I kept a diary every
day which I didn’t read
for 50 years, it was sort of like a
sacred document to me. In reading that, I
realized how much I
grew, how I changed, how much they did, the
people of Emmons, to make
me who I believe I am. But you can’t stay your
whole life at Emmons. And if you are gonna
do something more,
which I wanted to, it has to be at a level
where the reach of what
you do is farther. You had to be in
politics, in WV politics,
in national politics.   §   Narrator: January
31, 1966, after
living 2 years in WV, a state historically
dominated by the
Democratic Party, Jay Rockefeller adds his
name to the list of
Kanawha County candidates, vying for a seat in the
House of Delegates. It is also the day he
changes his voting
registration from Republican to Democrat, to
the disappointment of many
Mountaineer Republicans.   Jay: I am a Democrat. Since 1960, I’ve
really felt myself
to be a Democrat, although I realize that
public image would
probably be different. But I’ve voted Democratic,
I’ve contributed.   Tom Potter: We in the
Republican Party had high
hopes that he would become our leader, to become
the Republican candidate
and be a leader. He, for whatever reason,
chose the other route.   Rupp: He’s very liberal
in terms of both social
issues and economic. I think he gained that in
the 1960s, that liberal agenda of governmental action. I see that as fitting into
his character and as we
know for the next 40 years in office he was one
of the most liberal
Democrats we had. So this was no sheep’s
clothing cover at all. I think it fit the
political need of winning
and it was also a comfortable fit in
terms of ideology.   Nelson Rockefeller:
You only get reelected if you get things done,
not if you promise them.   Narrator: Knowing his
uncle, New York Governor
Nelson Rockefeller, plans to seek the
presidency in 1968,
Jay tells him of his Republican Party
defection face-to-face.   Jay: He was very busy but
he fit me into a drive in his limousine from one
appointment to another. And I told him and he
just stopped and turned
and looked at me. And he said, “I wish
I had done that.”   §   Narrator: Rockefeller says
his Uncle Nelson, who
represented the Republican Party’s most liberal
wing, felt an obligation
to remain in the Party, because of family
tradition.   Jay: And he meant it! His eyes misted over. I distinctly
remember that. And then he was always
very close to me
afterwards because he felt that I was doing
something hard. I had a job. I was in politics. And it’s rough, and
tumble, in New York, and it’s rough and tumble in WV.   Narrator: The
28-year-old’s candidacy
for the WV House of Delegates becomes
national news. The New York Times says
Rockefeller is a shoo-in. And it is a spectacular
May primary win. Among about 60 candidates
for 14 House seats, he
leads the entire field 7,000 votes ahead of the
2nd place candidate. While in November’s
general election
Republicans capture 9 of those 14 seats
Rockefeller again gets
the most votes, 4,000 votes ahead of his
nearest competitor.   Potter: In the House, as a
member of the Legislature, he was influential,
even as a freshman.   Narrator: Tom Potter is
one of the 9 Republicans
who capture house seats from Kanawha
County in 1966.   Potter: I have fond
memories of Jay. He was a very congenial
guy, good to talk
to, nice to be around, a little bit aloof,
as I recall, spoke his
mind when he needed to, otherwise kept pretty
much to himself. He was not totally
comfortable being a West
Virginian at the time, but he adapted rapidly
and he was well liked
by everyone around him.   Jack Canfield: Jay, I
would not say that he
was aloof or distant. What I would say is that
he was like a duck that’s
calm on the top and paddling like
hell underneath.   Narrator: Rockefeller
successfully shepherds a
stream pollution control bill thru the legislature
that first session, but operates mostly behind
the scenes.   Potter: In the
Legislature, it isn’t
always what you pass or you defeat, it’s what you
do in committees, where
you make your reputation. He evolved as
a leader of the Finance
Committee, not the Chair, but as one whose
views were sought.   Narrator:
But 1967 stands out in
Rockefeller’s journey, not so much for that
inaugural session, but as
the year he marries Sharon Percy on the
first of April.   Sharon Rockefeller: I
volunteered in my first
campaign when I was 14 for Don Rumsfeld, who’s now
Secretary of Defense. I met Jay while I was
working in a Congressman’s
office in Washington. His name was Gerald Ford. And of course, I
campaigned for my father.   Narrator: Sharon Percy,
daughter of future
Republican US Senator Charles Percy of Illinois,
is a student intern from
Stanford University when she first agrees to a date
with Jay Rockefeller.   Jay: She came down the
stairs, turned right and I
was facing this absolute vision of beauty in a
white dress, blonde hair, just wonderful
human being. I never had another
date after that.   Narrator: At the time,
Percy is a member of
the Stanford Chorus.   Jay: She has a beautiful
voice, a soprano voice,
absolutely beautiful. The Stanford Chorus
was singing with the
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s
Creation, which I love. I was in the audience. For some reason there was
a light way up in the
ceilings which seemed to be shining directly
on her blonde head. And it just
washed me away.   Sharon: I had a year
to finish in college. We fell in love pretty
quickly but obviously I
was going to finish school and then things started
picking up steam right after that,
after I graduated.   §   Newsreel Announcer: Two of
America’s most wealthy,
prominent and influential families are
united in marriage. John D Rockefeller
IV takes Sharon Lee
Percy to be his wife. The Illinois Senator,
Charles Percy is the
father of the bride. Guests include
George Hamilton and
Linda Bird Johnson. Political, business and
society leaders watch
Sharon Lee and John blissfully kiss
single life goodbye.   Sharon: Ok,
girls, come on.   Narrator: Sharon Percy
Rockefeller has been Jay Rockefeller’s partner in
every way. As a seasoned campaigner
herself, she’s been of
great support and counsel.   Sharon: Politics
is not for sissies. [Chuckles] It’s really
hard and you have to have a tough skin to
get thru it. And you have to really
believe that your message
and what you’re trying to do is the right
thing to do. And if you believe that,
you just plow forward.   §   Narrator: The 22-year-old
bride and Jay’s mother, Blanchette, become very close.   Sharon: She and I
hit it right off. My mother had died young,
so I just found it very
easy to be with her. I guess that was it. And we both liked the
same things and above
all she liked art. She was president of the
Museum of Modern Art in
New York which was founded by her mother-in-law, Abby
Aldridge Rockefeller. Now I’m a board member of
the Museum of Modern Art. So this sort of gets
passed down thru the
daughters-in-law less the name Rockefellers thru the
sons, but the art interest
is very definitely there in the women of the
family and we really did
quite adore each other.   Narrator: Blanchette
Rockefeller watches
in delight as her daughter-in-law develops
her own interests and
takes on her own causes. She founds the Mountain
Artisans, a quilting
business for low-income WV women, this while working
as a teacher’s assistant. She serves on the boards
of Sunrise Museum, the WV Humanities Council and
Holz Elementary PTA. Sharon Rockefeller
goes from board member
of the WV Educational Broadcasting Authority
to a national player
in Public Broadcasting. All while raising 4
children and always supporting her
husband’s work.   Jay: Who is an enormous
factor in my life? Sharon, my wife; strong
women: There’s a great value in marrying
strong women.   Interviewer: You
recommend it.   Jay: I recommend it.   Narrator: With the support
of his new bride, Jay
Rockefeller enters a 3-way primary race for WV
Secretary of State
in early 1968.   Jay: The question is, if
you have corrupt elections
and I’d say in most places we don’t have them in
this state, in the vast
majority of places, but we do in some
places and that’s an
incredibly great evil, the fact of having those
corrupt elections. And stopping that, I
think, is important.   Potter: I will never
forget the conversation we
had around the rotunda, before he made that
decision, where I urged
him to run for treasurer because, at the time, we
had a treasurer who later was convicted and
sent to prison. And I thought that
he had an opportunity
to replace him, but he took the open seat,
which was the smart,
political thing to do and the rest is
kind of history.   Narrator: But Rockefeller
is offered an opportunity
that could have altered history, that summer, when
US Senator Robert Kennedy of New York is gunned down.   Jay: And I was devastated. My uncle, Nelson
Rockefeller, Governor of
the State of New York, called me and said, “Jay,
I want you to take his
seat.” Now that’s very
awkward. I said no, I said,
“First of all, I think
that’s called nepotism”. But he had the
power to appoint me. And I said no to him. It was just immediate. And he said I could
do it as a Democrat. But it just gets back
to the same thing: I
knew what I was doing. I was still in WV,
early, I wanted to stay.   Narrator: Rockefeller
continues campaigning,
giving speeches, like this one to a
society of professional
engineers in Huntington.   James Casto: He said that
he was glad to be there,
even though many of them had come to see what a
real live carpetbagger
looks like. I thought then and still
think now that it was
very savvy on his part to confront the carpetbagger
issue so directly. I came away
very impressed.   §   Narrator: With Sharon by
his side, Jay campaigns
to victory in November, beating Republican
candidate John Callebs
by 155,000 votes. Rockefeller
immediately pushes for
election law reform, using his office to bust
up several notorious county political machines,
all Democratic.   Jay: Democrats must be
willing to commit themselves to election
law reform. We have to take
the lead in that.   Bob Brunner:
Rockefeller was this
wonderful, wealthy, amazing nationally
recognized young man who
had come in to save WV, with all the liberal
ideas and principles. Once he was elected
Secretary of State, he
decided he was going to get rid of the 5
most corrupt members
of the State Senate. And so as the liberal wing
of the Democratic Party
watched with shining amazement and everybody
else watched in horror,
these young Turks went down and they took out of
the Senate Noah Floyd of
the Noah Floyd machine in Mingo County and they
took out W Bernard
Smith of Logan County. There were 5 of
them they took out.   Jay: I had to
make some changes. I said there would
be, in the running
of an election, no more exchange of cash. Everything had to be done by a check for which there
are obviously receipts, so everything
is transparent. The place went crazy. And the second thing I did
was I issued an order that
all dead people who are still registered on the
voting rolls and who all
had been voting for a number of years had to
be banned and excluded and taken off the
voting rolls. And they were. It turned out there
were 10,000 of them. Now if you’re
a Democratic county
chairman in Southern WV, you are not
happy about that. If you’re a Democratic
county chairman anywhere
you’re not happy about that, but it was the
right thing to do.   Narrator: That first year
in statewide office is
also marked by the July birth of the Rockefellers’
first child, John,
nicknamed Jamie, who will eventually
also choose the
middle name Davison. The young family splits
time between their
Charleston home and a just-purchased
3,000-acre home site
in Pocahontas County. The Secretary of State
sets his sights on the
Governor’s Mansion.   §   Narrator: By 1970,
Secretary of State
Rockefeller is acting more and more
like gubernatorial
candidate Rockefeller. He’s criticizing the
extremely popular
Republican Governor, Arch Moore, for taking
credit for successes that
Rockefeller says aren’t rightfully Moore’s,
and he’s criticizing
executive decisions.   Jay: One of the problems
was the Governor didn’t
include it in his call, he didn’t recognize it
as a problem, he didn’t
say there was a problem, he didn’t ask for any
more money and we cannot
have that in this state, to have children
without food.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
declares his candidacy for
Governor in January 1972. After a Democratic primary
win, with 72% of the vote, the 35-year-old faces
49-year-old Arch Moore.   Bailey: These are 2
men very generationally
apart and politically generationally
apart, as well.   Gov Arch Moore:
Good to see you. Good Morning.   Supporter: Good
morning, Governor.   Bailey: Governor Moore was
kind of the old school WV
politician and Jay Rockefeller positioned
himself as new school, was
gonna think differently about politics
in the State. And that was what
attracted me and many
others to his campaign.   Jay: 50,000 new jobs.   Bailey: It was clear that
this is a guy who was
willing to look at things differently that had
been ingrained in
WV for generations. He was going to be
a different leader
in the State. That pulled me to him
and others it repulsed.   Narrator: Rockefeller
again enters the national
spotlight as Parade Magazine predicts the
candidate will seek the US
Presidency after serving as Governor of WV. He’s compared to John
Kennedy for his “youth,
energy and loyalty”. And Sharon Rockefeller
is compared
to Jackie Kennedy, described as “young,
pretty and stylish.”   Sharon: I don’t think
people vote for or against
a candidate because of his wife, but it always
helps to meet people. And I think this is
what’s been lost in
American politics.   Narrator: The months pass,
and the gubernatorial campaign grows
increasingly ugly.   Moore: These are the 31
jobs created to elect this
man to public office and not one for the benefit
of the state of WV!   Jay: Your record is clear
on manufacturing loss of
over 10,000 jobs. You have failed.   Narrator: Rockefeller,
as he did in 1968, faces
harsh criticism for his exemption from
military service.   RL Bonar: To my knowledge,
he is the only person in
the history of the State of WV to claim legislative
services to gain exception
from military service. I am glad that this
dubious distinction is
held by a displaced New Yorker and not a
native West Virginian.   Jay: I was between
wars, between the
Korean and Vietnam War, and when it came my time
for service, there was a
President who said something about trying
to help one’s country. And there being no war, I
joined the Peace Corps.   Bailey: There’s the famous
commercial in 1972 against
Rockefeller where a New York City taxi cab driver
was intercepted by a crew
and a microphone was put in his face and the
question was asked, “What
would you think about a West Virginian becoming
Governor of New York?” And the cab driver looked
interestingly at the
question and then laughed. And that was the
commercial, one
30-second spot; devastating spot because
it filled all the negatives that people had
about Jay.   Narrator: But Jay had
stepped into a hornets’
nest of his own making, declaring he’d work to
outlaw strip mining in WV.   Jay: We cannot have strip
mining as an industry and
still hope to have my children, but
more importantly,
their children, have a place where they
can happily live and work. And I think only an
abolition of strip mining
will make that possible.   Rupp: That certainly
pleased his base of
reformers but it certainly upset the coal interest
and the coal supporters.   Woman: I voted for him
before, but I don’t intend
to vote for him again and from what I’ve heard
and speaking to the
people involved in this situation, I don’t
think any of us are.   Sharon: Things were
just out of sync. Whatever his intentions
were, they weren’t taken
that way and they weren’t to hurt the coal industry
as much as help it and not do so much damage
to the environment. That’s what
that was about. The economy was bad and
when the economy is bad, everything else gets
negative too.   Canfield: I remember being
on the Jay bus and going
thru McDowell County and this is not a figment
of my imagination. There actually were
people with rifles up on
some of the mountaintops. And I remember at one
point Jay saying, “I want
a frozen-custard at that stand right over there.”
And his Chief of Security,
his bodyguard whom we called Odd Job, said, “I
don’t think it’s a good
idea to get out of the Jay bus here and walk
over there right now. I mean, you’re in deep
strip mining territory,
they are very antagonistic toward you.” And he said,
“I don’t give a damn. I want a frozen-custard.”
So he got out and he went over and got it and he got
back on the bus.   Lou Ann Johnson: In
1972, I was 14 and he
came to my high school, Sophia High School
in Raleigh County. And my dad was the
assistant principal and actually was tasked with
takin’ ’em around. An underdog, given his
position on strip mining,
he wasn’t exactly popular. So, it was a very
rainy evening, just
sheets of rain. And they moved the
homecoming festivities
into the gymnasium. But he couldn’t
speak in the gym. Instead, he was told he
could speak out in the stadium and in literally
sheets of rain. And there were maybe 2
dozen people who had come out from the gym
to hear him. And I connected with that. He’d come to my little
town and waited for his turn to speak and did so
in a driving rain.   Brunner: As WV’s
gubernatorial campaign
thunders to a close, the 2 candidates are doing
what they’ve been doing
for the past few months. Candidate Rockefeller
is out campaigning,
shaking hands, making speeches and
promising things. Arch Moore is telling the
voters what he has done.   Narrator: November 7,
1972: Jay Rockefeller,
whose political star had seemed unstoppable,
is trounced in the
general election.   Moore: We knew how we
wanted to develop the
campaign and it went just generally
according to scale.   Narrator: In a
state that has a 2-1
Democratic majority, Republican Arch
Moore wins a second
term by 73,000 votes.   Rupp: 1972 was a disaster
for the Democrats
nationwide because McGovern was seen as too
radical so they were
defeated across the way. More importantly Jay was
going against the most
popular Governor and certainly the most
popular Republican
Governor, Arch Moore, a governor in the
governor’s mansion, who
was an amazing campaigner.   Women: Oh, we love ya. Yeah!   Rupp: And it was seen by
Jay and those around him
that his stand on strip mining cost him
the election. And the 4th was money,
that people were distrustful about
the money.   Potter: Here’s
the verdict.   Applause   Sharon: The very end, I
didn’t realize, ’cause the
campaign didn’t tell me that he was gonna lose,
and I remember election
night thinking, I was just crying and
what’s going on, and they
had polling, they knew. But losses are losses
and it’s how people pick
themselves up and put their lives back
together that matters.   Jay: And I certainly don’t
rule out another run at
the governorship in 1976.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
learns several lessons from his only defeat
at the polls.   Bailey: Jay in 1972
and before 1972 failed
to understand just how complex something like
surface mining is. Not because Jay isn’t
smart, wouldn’t have
understood it, but he reacted to the
issue like most people
react to surface mining initially from an
emotional standpoint. It’s just emotional
stripping a mountaintop but the issue is far more
complex than that. If you look at
sustainable communities
in WV, that is more, than just whether
or not you have the
mountain top on. It’s whether you have
people working; whether
people can afford to send kids to college; it’s
whether communities can afford to put water
and sewer in.   Narrator: Seasoned by his
loss, Rockefeller becomes
more politically astute.   Bailey: I don’t mean
he reversed positions. He certainly evolved on
something like coal.   Jay: Is that right?   Bailey: He chose
words carefully. He positioned himself a
little more carefully. He became very
sophisticated in the way
that he looked at these issues and understood
that a lot of things
are not black and white. Politics, getting to the
right place sometimes
you live in gray.   Jay: You have to go thru a
campaign and sometimes you
have to lose a campaign to know what the stakes are
and know what the price is and also to know how much
you want it. Energy and wanting it
is basic to politics
and I wanted it. And then when I lost
it that was a lesson
to me that you have to understand better than I
did how politics works. But I learned that
stuff and I learned how
to play hard and to win.   Narrator: Records
show the Arch Moore
campaign spending $696,000 on the 1972 election. The Rockefeller
campaign spends more
than twice that, 1-and-a-half
million dollars a
record at the time, but only a fraction of
what will be spent in Rockefeller campaigns
to come.   Jim Reader: This doesn’t
look like Siberia;
it’s a picture perfect, small college campus. But it’s a kind of exile
for a man who wanted the
biggest office in the state, possibly
self-imposed to come so
far from the political heartbeat of the state,
but possibly imposed by an
overwhelming number of the voters who said these
next 4 years are not
his, politically, in WV.   Jay: In WV, if you’re
going to be one of us
you’ve got to get beaten upside the head and you
fall down and then you get
up either pouting or with a smile on your face ready
for the next whatever. And I did the second. And it changed
people’s views about
me in great measure.   Narrator: Within
2 months of his
gubernatorial defeat, Jay Rockefeller is named
the president of WV
Wesleyan College, a small, conservative and Methodist
liberal arts institution in the very Republican
town of Buckhannon.   Jay: I believe a college
has to be a part of a
community and part of a county and part
of a state. And when the college came
to me and asked me to do
this work or consider the work, one of the things
they said is they wanted
to see Wesleyan even more a part of WV, as a
whole in this area.   Narrator: Accompanied
by much fanfare, John
D Rockefeller-the-third delivers the keynote
address, following his
son’s investiture.   JD Rockefeller 3rd: I am
pleased as a father would
be that my son has entered into a relatively stable
line of employment.   Laughter and applause   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
will be the college’s
first president not to be Methodist (he’s
Presbyterian), its first
president not to be an ordained minister, and
its first president who lacks an earned
doctorate degree. Once again, Rockefeller
sets out to prove himself
in a small WV community.   Dauna Hawkins: There were
peoples’ jaws that were
out of joint because he didn’t have the academic
background and he didn’t have the degrees and
was a politician. There was a lot of
snarking going on amongst
the community and particularly and I dare
say this, the faculty, at least the people on the
faculty that I knew.   Jay: I was at
peace with myself. I was at peace
with the world. I didn’t care a whole lot
what people thought about me if I had a good feeling
about what I was doing.   Richard Calef: I think he
achieved more in a short
period of time than many presidents have achieved
for a long period of time. Some students even said
they loved talking to him because it was like
talking to their dad. I mean, he was fatherly. And to the faculty, he
always wanted to help us. I remember receiving a
memo from him saying,
“What is it that you need in your department
to help achieve your
academic goals?” I don’t remember any
president asking us that,
even after he was here.   Narrator: Students and
faculty are amazed at how
the new president is seen everywhere, seemingly
involved in everything,
and once again, broadening the world
of those around him.   Bob Skinner: He sat in the
cafeteria and ate with us
and we talked about political issues and what
was going on in America
during that time. I think Jay really
challenged us to remain
current and to be well read and to know what
was going on around us. And at the same time, I
think Jay had a real
passion for service that came thru his experience
before he had come to Wesleyan and
serving others. That was something that he
pushed us to do as well.   Narrator: Wesleyan
students also see the
competitive side of their president, a die-hard
sports-enthusiast.   Skinner: Jay Rockefeller
was loved by students
because he was one of us. He sat in the middle of
the cheering section at football games and
basketball games. And I can remember that
he’d be drenched from
sweat from jumpin’ up and down and rallying
with the crowd. He played racquetball with
us, he played handball; he
was a fierce racquetball player, had the
wingspan of a condor. We all dreaded playing
him because you couldn’t
get the ball by him. But he was so much
fun to play with.   Narrator: Rockefeller
leads the college’s effort
to build a multi-purpose recreational
center, personally
contributing $250,000 to its construction. The facility helps turn
the college’s basketball program into a source of
community pride. Not far from campus, the
Rockefellers are raising
their small children, Jamie, who turns 4 in
1973, his sister, Valerie,
age 2 and newborn Charles. Dauna Hawkins’ children
attend the same daycare
as Jamie and Valerie.   Hawkins: He was a
real hands-on dad. I can remember seeing him. And you can’t miss him
he’s so darn tall and he’d
be walkin’ down coming from the college with
Jamie on his shoulders giving a piggyback ride to
this gal’s house. Those kids were just
beautiful kids and they
were hands-on parents. Sharon at that point was
getting involved with the
Sesame Street people and that end of public
television. And they were really
concerned about what kids
should be involved in and what kids needed to
learn and they were
forward thinking.   Narrator: By the spring
of 1975, Wesleyan student recruitment is up 30% and
fundraising has doubled. Rockefeller submits his
letter of resignation to
the board of trustees, saying he needs to prepare
for the following year’s
gubernatorial race. After his departure, what
is commonly known as “the
new gym” is dedicated in 1976, and named the John
D Rockefeller IV Physical
Education Center.   Jay: I run for Governor
because I know our people
in WV want, and in fact, hunger for absolute,
personal honesty and
integrity in the Governor’s office
and because people want strong,
executive leadership.   Narrator: As the nation
marks the bicentennial
year of 1976, Rockefeller’s second
campaign for governor
is in full swing. He campaigns
for jobs, health care,
better roads, seniors, the environment
and, yes, coal. The country is
experiencing an
energy shortage. He says he’s changed his
mind on strip mining because of better
reclamation practices.   Jay: I think there’s been
change in the way the
coal industry itself has reacted to some of the
pressure that’s been brought upon them by environmentalists.   Narrator: But
Rockefeller’s incredible wealth and campaign
spending are still issues.   Jay: The point is not
whether you’re worth
$100 or $100,000.   Rupp: How does he turn
the liability of great inherited wealth into a political campaign asset? And he does that
by sayin’, “I
can’t be bribed. I have so much money
that I can say no
to those lobbyists, I can say no to those
special interests.”   Narrator: Rockefeller
spends 1-point-7 million dollars in the
primary election. He reports 1-point-1
million dollars
as his own money. He easily beats his 7
Democratic opponents,
including Supreme Court Justice Jim Sprouse and
Congressman Ken Hechler.   Sharon: I tell ya, it
starts all over again and
the thing is you win and then your work
just begins, but that’s, of course,
the way we want it.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
now faces Republican
candidate and former Governor Cecil Underwood.   Cecil Underwood:
As our candidates,
myself included, begin to move much
more aggressively, the Republican vote’ll be there. I don’t fear of losing
it, I think it’ll be
there in great strength. We’ll have a record
vote, I’m sure.   Narrator: WV’s 1976
general election is another one for the
history books. Jay Rockefeller defeats
Cecil Underwood by more
than 242,000 votes, the largest majority
in state history. Rockefeller reports
spending just under 2
million dollars of his own money, of the total
2-point-7 million dollars
spent on his campaign. At his inauguration, the
29th Governor of WV envisions big changes and
a bright future.   Jay: Today, we leave
behind the defeatism
of the past. Starting here, starting
now, you and I together step out into the rising
sun of a new day for WV.   Canfield: The Rockefeller
experience, I think, has
been described as baptism by fire, but I think if
any gubernatorial
historian looks at those 8 years, they will find
them the most challenging
when it comes to crisis management of perhaps any
Governor since Kump during
the Great Depression.   §   Narrator: It
starts on day one. The inauguration crowd
endures temperatures of
3 below zero with a wind chill factor that drops
down to 25 below. The arctic weather
continues that
week and the next. Then, predictions of a
significant snowstorm
drive the brand-new Governor to take one of
his earliest, executive
actions one that he’s still living down today. He uses the Emergency
Broadcasting System to tell everyone to stay home. Everything is closed,
public events cancelled.   Jay: The National Weather
Service, which this
morning was predicting –.   Narrator: The storm that
never materializes comes to be known as Jay’s Blizzard.   Jay: Jay’s Blizzard. Just [Whistles] like that. The sun came out at noon. And I’ve been teased
about that ever since. But, by golly, if it had
happened and people had
been out there on the roads it would have
been a catastrophe. So you learn that a lot
of things come up very
suddenly and you had better be prepared
to deal with them.   Woman: I’m Dolly Varney
from Williamson, WV. I was flooded out.   Narrator: No one is
prepared for the 1977
spring floods bringing destruction to the
southern counties of McDowell, Wayne, Logan,
and Mingo.   Bailey: Towns like Matewan
wiped off the map, this
lady, gray-haired lady, grandmotherly like, came
sobbing up to Rockefeller and just put her arms
around him. And he, like he does so
many people just kind of
this big wrap around this woman and had tears
in our eyes listening
to her story about, about losing her
son in the flood. And it really connected
the people at that time
of Mingo County to Jay Rockefeller, because they
felt like he understood. He wasn’t supposed
to stay overnight,
he stayed overnight. He did as much as he
could, would go to from
place to place and help pick up stuff; he tried to
get engaged and understood the importance of
connecting to individuals.   Narrator: Safe housing
above flood plains becomes a focus of the
Rockefeller administration. The Governor sets records
in secondary road
construction and as the recently appointed Chair
of President Jimmy
Carter’s Commission on Coal; he pushes for a
national energy policy that has its foundation in
Appalachian coal.   Jay: The long-term future
of coal is a strong one.   Judge Chuck Chambers: He
was sort of a rock star
politician for WV in those early days and everybody
believed that he had
ambitions to go higher in office and that was a good
thing because I think that
helped make him a more effective political
leader and Governor. But I think most folks
were very impressed with
how hard he worked at the job and I don’t think
there’s a more difficult
job in the state, certainly and maybe one of
the toughest governorships
in the country just because of the nature
of WV and our history
and our problems.   Jay: The problems I see
are, one, we gotta –.   Narrator: Beyond record
snowfalls and floods,
the late 1970s bring inflation, fuel shortages
and the worst construction
accident in state history, at the Willow Island
plant of Monongahela
Power Company. This is followed by a
deadly prison break at the
Moundsville penitentiary and ongoing coal
mining deaths.   Jay: Civil insurrection,
prison riots, hostages,
all kind of emergencies are what we have
to be prepared for.   Canfield: I think there
are 2 types of governors,
I think there are those that like
the political games,
like to be out front, like to shake up the
bureaucracy, like to get
micromanaging into the bureaucracy, like
the battles with
the legislature, that’s one type
of governor. I think that’s
the type of governor
that Arch Moore was. Then there’s the type of
governor who is immersed
in issues and is a big picture thinker and likes
to understand an issue
fully and then plant the flag and try to take the
state from here to there and he was that type of
governor.   Narrator: Rockefeller
creates the WV Board of Coal Mine Health
and Safety. He proposes bills that
ultimately reorganize
state agencies and he sets up senior centers
statewide.   Jay: I care a lot about
senior citizens and there were a lot of
those in Emmons. But it wasn’t until I
became Governor that I
was able to say, “Okay, over the next 4 years
or 8 years, whatever
it turns out to be, I’m going to build a
senior center in every of
the 55 counties of WV.” And I did. That’s what you can’t do
as a social worker in
Emmons and what you can do if you are in a public
policy-making position.   Narrator: As Governor,
he creates the Office of Community and Economic
Development. He reaches out for
Japanese investment and
becomes increasingly frustrated with President
Carter’s lack of action on his commission’s coal report. In the middle of all
this: A 111-day national
coal mining strike.   Bailey: Jay was not always
on the side of the unions
in those strikes and he would push the Unions as
hard as anyone would push
the unions using his power and influence
of the office. And yes, listening to what
they might need in order
to make a settlement. He understood. He was listening, he was
patient; he did what he
needed to do to try to avert disaster
or more violence. I think West Virginians
understood this man who
had come from New York was really becoming part of
us, more a West Virginian
every single day.   Narrator: Members of the
media recall Governor Rockefeller as extremely
accessible.   Paul Nyden: I was working
for The Gulf Times, a
little weekly paper in Raleigh County,
based in Sophia. I called his office and
asked for some information about a topic I
can’t remember. I said, “I was wondering
if you could help me in
writing this story.” And a couple of hours later,
I was really surprised
’cause I’m sure that Governor Rockefeller
didn’t know me from
the man in the moon. And I get a call in the
office and I thought it
was a joke, at first. The caller said,
“Paul, this is Jay. How are you?” I said, “Okay.” He said,
“If you have a moment
right now and it’s convenient for you, I’ll
be happy to answer your
questions that you wanted to ask me.” Well, thank
you very much Governor. I then proceeded to
ask him questions.   Sharon: It’s
just an absolutely
fascinating business.   Narrator: Sharon
Rockefeller is an
energetic First Lady of WV, pursuing several
endeavors, including promoting Public
Television.   Sharon: Often, television
insults the viewer and
they should have better programming and
that’s why I’m working
for Public Television.   Narrator: The Rockefellers
are now raising their 4 children in the
Governor’s Mansion.   Sharon: They were
all happy and proud
to be raised in WV. We were happy and
proud of that too. They had so many
friends at school.   Jay: Trick or treat!   Sharon: But for us the
hard part was making sure they were growing up
normally so to speak. Well, they had the name
Rockefeller and they were
living downtown in a governor’s mansion and
being driven to school sometimes by the
State Police. So it isn’t normal in
anybody else’s world, but
we had to establish a climate inside the
house, I think, of well
okay, kids are kids, kids better get their
homework done, kids better
clean up their room. The little basics
don’t change.   §   Narrator: At the end of
Rockefeller’s first term,
the administration touts the creation
of 50,000 jobs. But one of his biggest
victories that first
term, is today one of his
biggest regrets. The legislature passes
Rockefeller’s bill to
gradually eliminate the consumers’ sales
tax on food.   Jay: I remember
getting rid of the
sales tax on food, which was probably
not a very smart idea. I think I did it to help
me win the campaign and it was devastating on the
State Treasury. That was a mistake, I
think, that I made. I made a campaign promise
and by God I was going to
keep that promise.   Narrator: In March 1980,
Jay Rockefeller’s family,
including the newest member, 8-month-old
Justin, is gathered
around the Governor as he announces his intention
of serving a second term.   Jay: We’ve had our share
of setbacks and we’ve made
our share of mistakes, too, but we’ve also
achieved a great
deal together.   Narrator: The state’s
1980 governor’s race sets
the stage for a rematch between Jay
Rockefeller and former
Governor Arch Moore.   Moore: We have started
modestly a media campaign,
which will begin to build until the November
election and it will
parallel all of our media campaigns of the past. The question is, “Will
it be drowned out by the opposition’s media
campaign?”   Narrator: Rockefeller is
again criticized for using his own substantial wealth
to fund his campaign.   Rupp: Some political,
ambitious people treat
power like it’s a gold watch; it’s a reward
for what I did. And other people like Jay
and like John Kennedy and
LBJ and Bobby, they treat power
as something
that you can use. Now if you know
power can be used
to help the people, what will you
do to get power? There’s nothing as bad as
a defeated politician
because not only have they been defeated, they’ve
never been able
to hold the power. So when Jay needs
to spend money, the
flood gates open.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
sets national records in
campaign spending and personal contribution,
11-point-6 million
dollars, by a candidate. The Moore campaign spends
just under one million.   Potter: I came up
with a bumper sticker
that said, “Arch, Make Him Spend It All.”
The issue of his money
became significant. It enabled him to
win in tight races. And I don’t mean to imply
that he used it illegally
or an improper way. He was very careful about
that, but it was a resource that could
not be matched.   Lloyd Jackson: What
do we have today? We have people who are
elected and supported with
the same amounts of money, huge amounts of money,
that come from outside
the state of WV and elect people and we don’t even
know who contributed to
’em and to whom they owe that debt of gratitude
for their election. I would much prefer to
have someone openly,
publicly spent their own money as Senator
Rockefeller did, than the
system we have today; any day I’d
rather have that.   Jay: The lesser point is
that at least I wasn’t
taking money from coal companies or whatever in
large amounts, etcetera,
which is generally the way people build
up war chests. Secondly, it was my
own money and there
was nothing illegal, although it was
unsettling, granted, to me and to others that I spent that. Third point, I
wanted to win. I wanted to win. I’d lost once and I
didn’t like it and
I wanted to win.   Jay: How Sweet it is!   Narrator: Jay
Rockefeller beats Arch
Moore by 64,000 votes.   §   Narrator: During
Rockefeller’s second
term as Governor, WV suffers significantly
in the midst of federal
funding cuts and what’s described as the
“trickle-down” economics of President Ronald
Reagan’s administration.   Canfield: Because of the
downturn in the economy
which was severe and lasted for over
two-and-a-half years, we
lost coal mining jobs, because the coal
was needed to make coke, to make steel,
we lost steel jobs. Weirton Steel
almost closed and
had to be saved. We lost glassmaker jobs
because the glass companies were competing
with foreign companies. At one point we were
paying out half a billion
dollars a year in unemployment compensation
benefits and the federal government was cutting
our staff.   Johnson: Almost every day,
it felt like, you’d pick
up the paper and see where there was some mine
closing or another
plant closing. And so, it was a
lot of fighting to
keep what we had. And also, people
were hurting.   Canfield: Now, if you’re
governor of WV and you’re
sitting there with this collapsing economy and
money is not coming into
your state coffers, there aren’t a lot
of new initiatives
that you can launch.   Narrator: One of the
biggest disappointments of
Rockefeller’s second term is a promised half-billion
dollar, federal
demonstration plant in coal liquification that is
planned for Morgantown. The project is started
under the Carter
Administration and scrapped under
President Reagan. In his second term,
Governor Rockefeller also
deals with a teacher’s walkout and
a lengthy statewide
coal miners’ strike.   Jay: The overriding
principle for me as
Governor during these past 8 years was when we were
in a position to be able
to do it, we did it. When we had the resources
to carry thru, we did it.   Interviewer: What would
you say were your biggest
accomplishments in your 8 years in the
governor’s office?   Jay: This is
gonna sound a little bit
silly, but I was honest. You better start
out that way. I had a head of one of my
departments which had a
large lobby and I found out that that person was
out in a western state
hunting with a whole lot of lobbyists for what
they wanted from him. I called him up and
fired him on the phone. I never had to do
anything like that again. The message was sent:
Don’t do wrong.   Chambers: I think
that’s absolutely true. I think that’s one
of the strongest things
about his administration. As West Virginians we sort
of grow up hearing the
legends of corruption in WV politics and
unfortunately there are too many present day
examples to ignore that. But the Rockefeller
Administration and the
Governor himself, I think, set a very high standard
of ethics, not just being
honest but also being trustworthy in the way
they addressed issues and
putting politics aside and trying to do what was
best for the state even in a difficult political
environment. And having someone as
prominent as a Rockefeller
come in and get elected and then doing a good job
and seeing things improve
in the state was a very important, symbolic achievement
I think for WV. It showed a lot of us that
we’re worth something.   §   Interviewer: Do
you look back with
regret on what was?   Jay: No I don’t, because I
was learning like crazy. Being a governor
is very hard. And you’re one among
one and everybody
looks to you. A lot of the Governor’s
job is ceremonial, too; and I don’t enjoy
that as much. You’re constantly going to
governors-have-to-be-ther
type events as opposed to long policy discussions
and working things thru
with a lot of staff conflicting and it’s
not as cerebral as
being in the Senate.   Interviewer: So, while you
were Governor, you knew you wanted to shoot for
the Senate?   Jay: Yes. Yeah. And because that was
always of huge interest
to me; in the Senate, you get to pick and choose
where you go, where you’ll
have the best effect.   Senate Reader:
Rockefeller, Sanders,
Schatz, Shaheen –.   Jay: And that’s where
huge decisions get made. But when I ran for the
Senate, you know what my
job approval rating was at the end of 8 years of
being Governor of WV? 19%. And I won.   Interviewer: What do
you attribute that to? That was one hard
fought campaign.   Jay: Yeah. Well, there were
several of them. And I don’t know what
I attribute it to. But I had been toughened
by the experience
of being Governor.   Narrator: It’s 1984 and
Jay Rockefeller is making a bid for the office he’s
longed for. He faces Republican
challenger, Morgantown
businessman, John Raese in the race
for US Senate, another extremely negative
campaign.   Jay: If you were elected,
would you vote for Robert
C Byrd to be majority leader again and return WV
to the #1 position in the
US Senate or would you go with your Republican
colleagues and vote
against him? I want to know the answers
to those questions.   Moderator: Mr. Raese.   Raese: ‘Be hard to do
because Robert Byrd’ll
be in the minority and I couldn’t vote for a
majority leader that’s
in the minority.   Audience roars.   Narrator: By Election Day,
local news reports say the
race is a dead heat.   Bailey: I had a CBS News
producer come to me at 6
pm and told me that the exit polls that CBS was
going to announce showed
Jay losing the race by a single percentage point
and suggested that I go up
to Barberry Lane to tell the first family
that they were going
to lose the election. And the exit polls in fact
showed that but at the end
of the day Jay pulled it out, thanks to, like,
Mingo and Logan and the
southern WV counties and the little white haired
lady that he was so connected to in the State;
tough election.   Narrator: The race is
another record-breaker. The Rockefeller camp
spends 12 million dollars. 10-point-2 million dollars
come from the candidate. The Raese campaign
spends 1-point-1 million
dollars with $441,000 coming directly
from the candidate. It’s the third most
expensive Senate race
in the nation in 1984. It’s also the third
closest race. Rockefeller wins by
4 percentage points.   Jay: I have a tremendous
sense of what our future can be and how I can help
as your US Senator.   §   Narrator: John D
Rockefeller IV,
representing his adopted home of WV, goes to
Washington DC where he
fills the seat of retiring Senator Jennings Randolph. Working alongside Senator
Robert C Byrd, Jay
Rockefeller will go on to be reelected 4 times, in
1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008, serving a total of 30
years in the US Senate.   Jay: Standing up for our
veterans has been one of the top priorities since I
began public service.   Narrator: He’ll have
tenures as Chair of the
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Chair of the
Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence and Chair of the Committee on
Commerce, Science
and Transportation.   Jay: Any effort to revise
or update the law must
keep consumers front and center and it is something
we will be watching
extremely closely.   Narrator: But the name Jay
Rockefeller on Capitol
Hill may be most closely identified as Chair of the
Senate Finance Committee’s
Subcommittee on Health Care as a champion
of healthcare
coverage for all.   Jay: Our problem is
that we treat potential
solutions in healthcare on, like, a
short-term basis.   Bailey: You had Jay
Rockefeller fighting for
healthcare reform before, before it was known as
HillaryCare or ObamaCare, Jay Rockefeller was in
there fighting.   Jay: I wanted to be
good at healthcare. It’s my general thought if
you don’t have healthcare
you don’t have anything, no matter what else you
might think you have. And it was certainly
true in Emmons, WV,
but it started, to me, with the Pepper
Commission. Then it went to the
Children’s Commission,
then plunging deep dive into the Clinton
Healthcare Bill, then eventually the Affordable
Care Act. But I learned
healthcare thru work
and thru passion. What triggered it? Those 2 years in Emmons.   Narrator: He’s at the
forefront of every major
healthcare fight in the Senate, preserving
and expanding both
Medicaid and Medicare.   Jay: In the end, I want to
enact a bill that
guarantees West Virginians the same access to
lifesaving and life
enhancing prescription drugs as people
in other states.   Narrator: Rockefeller also
authors the Children’s
Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.   Jay: Most of the people
who don’t have health
insurance, the kids, their families
are working.   Narrator: In 2015, CHIP is
providing healthcare to 8 million children in low
income families.   Ivan Lee: CHIP really
helped out, because,
there was a lot, of things that I needed in
life to help me get by.   Bailey: Delivering on
the Children’s Health
Insurance Program is probably the
singular achievement
of his Senate years. And he was made
chairman of the National
Commission on Children, in which healthcare became
a huge part of that. So healthcare spans
this whole range. He knows it cold,
understands it better than
anybody in the Senate.   Jay: I’m of the belief
that the ACA is probably
the most complex piece of legislation ever passed
by the US Congress.   Rick Wilson: When
the Affordable Care
Act came along, there was some confusion
about what could happen
to the Children’s Health Insurance Program
because it could have gotten gobbled up in
the exchange. And he actually at a late
stage pushed thru an
amendment that kept the CHIP program intact for
several years so that
there will be no loss due to friction or changes
as the Affordable Care
Act is implemented, so I think that was
probably a signature
achievement in addition to his support for the
Affordable Care Act. So, I think together those
are huge accomplishments.   Jay: 10 years from
now, we’ll still have
to fix some things, but 10 years from now
people are going to say, “What was all that fuss
about? We’ve got a great
healthcare system.” You don’t think that
makes me happy? It does.   Narrator: His earlier work
on universal healthcare
and the partisan politics coming into play to
derail that work motivate
Jay Rockefeller of WV to contemplate a run for
the US presidency. It’s 1991. He’s 54 and the
President-appointed Chair of the National Commission on Children. The blue ribbon,
bipartisan group is to
vote on recommendations and report those back to
President George Herbert
Walker Bush and Congress.   Bailey: Just on the eve of
the vote, President Bush
made phone calls into his commission members and
got them to change their
votes from what they had committed to Rockefeller. And there was a tie vote
so all the recommendations
of the Commission including children’s
health care failed. And Rockefeller was just
furious that the White
House had engaged because you’ll recall George Bush
was campaigning on a “no
new taxes” pledge: “Read my lips, no new taxes.”   Narrator: Rockefeller
leaves Washington livid,
on his way to give the keynote speech to a
gathering of the
Democratic Leadership Council, meeting
in Cleveland.   Bailey: He got off the
plane and I had no more
than said hello to him and was helping with one
of his bags that he
said, “You know what? I’m gonna use my platform
tomorrow to announce my
candidacy for President.” And I was totally
flabbergasted. There’d been no
conversation, this
was not pre-thought. There was no
plan, no strategy. This was just Rockefeller
really being angry, “If
the President’s going to do this to me then the
nation should know and
we’re gonna have a national debate about
this.” So, we were in the
car on our way back to the airport to go back to
Charleston and it occurred
to Jay, “You know, oh my God I didn’t speak
to Sharon about this.” Or
“We didn’t tell our press secretary.” Or, like there
was no planning here. And so, Jay had to
call Sharon, “You may
get a phone call!” [Chuckles] and this
whole process began
for us in 1991.   Jay: Even
as I and the entire
Democratic Party –.   Narrator: From April
to August 1991,
Jay Rockefeller, as a potential
presidential
Democratic candidate, travels to several states,
all the while meeting with
strategists, pollsters, and political consultants,
who become convinced Jay Rockefeller can beat
President Bush.   Man: Good luck. I mean, he’s done a lot
for our state and if he has a good chance,
let him go for it.   Woman: I’ve always liked
Governor Rockefeller and he does a lot for the
senior citizens.   2nd Woman: He’s really
nice, nice guy. I think he’d make
a nice President.   2nd Man: They’re lookin’
for some good Democrats. I think he’d be a good
Democrat, good pick.   Narrator: But in
the end, Rockefeller
does not pursue it. Later that fall, former
Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton declares his
candidacy.   Jay: If you’re a
president you’re too high
up, you’re too far away. It’s not natural. I was living a real life. And it was a life that I
felt to me was important and potentially to others
was important. I don’t think my finest
quality is being a CEO. I’m an advocate. I fight for things. I didn’t have to aspire to
climb that mountaintop
because the mountaintops I was climbing were very
apparent to me and I really liked it.
I loved what I was doing.   Narrator: The next year,
Rockefeller works with the
Bituminous Coal Operators Association and the United
Mine Workers of America to
come up with a plan to save the union’s health
and retirement funds which were headed toward
insolvency. Rockefeller authors a bill
that successfully secures
the promised lifetime benefits of retired
coal miners. The Coal Industry Retiree
Health Benefit Act of 1992
is commonly called the Coal Act, and referred to
by many of his colleagues as the Rockefeller
Coal Act.   Kenneth Perdue: So many
of them struggle with the
black lung and broke down backs and knees and
shoulders and every
part of their body. He was relentless on
making sure those coal
miners are taken care of. He has a heart and
compassion for people
that few people have. He just doesn’t walk away.   Jay: I’ll never forget on
the Senate floor the
person Bennett Johnson who was head of the Energy
Committee which I was on. He didn’t want
this amendment. He didn’t want it. I remember standing
there, getting up, asking
for recognition and just telling him, “I’m going
keep the congress in
session all during Christmas.” This was
just before Christmas. “I’m gonna do it.”
And I remember him
turning around, looking at me and I had
really hard eyes, unforgiving eyes and he
went along with it.   Narrator: The Coal Act
guarantees funding of
health benefits for as many as 200,000 retired
union coal miners and their widows and
dependants.   Jay: So there was no
strike, which is a hugely
important thing for the country and for
WV in particular. And that law is still on
the books, it still works
and people come up to me all the time to thank me. It’s just what happens
when you invest yourself
into something. And in this case, I was
protecting coal miners,
most of them older. And I knew it was the
right thing to do and I have been proud of that
ever since.   §   Narrator: And he believes
his great-grandfather,
and most especially his grandfather, would be
proud, too considering how
far the great-grandson, with his work on behalf
of coal miner families,
has taken the Rockefeller legacy away from
what’s referred to as
the Ludlow Massacre. A century ago, 1914,
Ludlow, Colorado: A
miners’ strike is underway at a coal mine owned by
the Rockefeller Family. Mine managers bring in
National Guardsmen, a fire breaks out and then a
gun battle. When it’s over, 24 people
are dead including 11
women and 2 children. This chapter of family
history will influence,
years later, Jay’s father’s work with
laborers and the poor. But as it unfolds,
the events profoundly
change his grandfather, John D Rockefeller
Junior, who is ultimately
responsible for all Rockefeller businesses
at the time.   Jay: That tragedy, so
horrible and such
inattention from the coal company to the
people, to the miners,
changed his life. I can’t imagine what his
feelings of guilt were,
but my grandfather, who didn’t even believe
in dancing religiously
as a strict Baptist, came to know them; he
spent time with them and
he danced with them, he went to their dinners
with them and then what
happened, Suzanne,
was his epiphany.   Narrator: After traveling
to Colorado, Jay’s
grandfather works with his new head of Industrial
Research, William Lyon
Mackenzie King, to find ways to settle
labor disputes peacefully and improve labor relations. At this time, Rockefeller,
Junior also expands his
philanthropic efforts, among them conserving
natural landscapes and preserving historic
landmarks. Jay’s grandfather
ultimately gives away more than half a billion
dollars.   Jay: And it was his
way of entering into the
world of public service. And I think Ludlow
triggered that. He was rooted out
of his comfort zone and
had the right reaction, because he was a good man. That had an effect on me.   §   Rupp: It’s the worst black
mark on the Rockefeller
Family, Ludlow, 1914. Go ahead 70 years. And what is Jay
Rockefeller doing
in the Senate? He’s promoting a bill to
protect the health of
miners, both in coal. But in one it’s
a bad mark. And the other he’s
advocating for the
coal miners of WV. And I think
that maybe there was a
part of Jay that said, “I know the burdens and
I’m gonna use some of
the blessings to be in a position of service,
where I’m gonna work to
make the Rockefeller name respectable.” And that was
a steep hill to climb.   Narrator: Jay Rockefeller
will go on to author the
Miner Act of 2006, the most significant
mine safety legislation
in a generation. And in his final year in
office, he’ll see the
adoption of policy that cuts in half the amount
of permissible coal dust
in underground mines, the same stricter
standards Rockefeller had
pushed for, for years, while addressing
the resurgence of
Black Lung disease. But because of
his position on
global warming, the Senator will leave
office knowing he has fallen out of favor with
the coal industry.   Jay: It’s not clean enough
and it is accelerating our
environmental problems. So the coal industry
gets very angry at me;
coal miners do too, but I’ve spent my
whole life fighting
for coal miners. And so I take whatever
I get; if it’s
criticism or whatever. But there’s gonna have
to be clean coal, we’re gonna come to that point,
one way or another. Carbon capturing
sequestration is something
that I’m fixed on. It’s hard for private
companies, even utilities,
to pay for that. The government has to get
involved and increase
spending for research. We have a wonderful
national energy lab
up in Morgantown. They’re all over this. But you have to be willing
to spend money on it and
nobody in Congress these days wants to spend
money on anything. There’s going to have
to be clean coal. We’re going to
come to that point
one way or another. It’ll come. It’ll come because
it’ll have to come.   Narrator: As a member of
the Senate Steel Caucus,
Rockefeller works equally hard for the steel
industry, work that
includes arranging aid and protection for
American steelworkers.   Jay: I’m never so happy,
as when I’m in the middle of a steelworkers’ brawl
with somebody.   Marching Band   Narrator: For Veterans,
Rockefeller leads the
effort resulting in the official acknowledgment of
Gulf War Illness, which is now addressed with
proper treatment. Years earlier, he authored
legislation to assure
ongoing delivery of affordable prescription
drugs to veterans. He’s also
penned legislation to
encourage the Veterans Administration to provide
home health, day care,
respite and hospice care.   Jay: We talk of
courage, of sacrifice,
of gratitude, but the fact of the matter
is, veterans have heard
these words so many times and I think what they
are looking for is for
us to be more like them, for us to live our lives
with full meaning.   Jay: We’re gonna have
hearings and we’re gonna do it until we pass
the bill.   Narrator: As Chair
of the Committee on
Commerce, Science and Transportation,
Rockefeller sponsors
legislation to establish an inter-operable wireless
network for first responders to communicate
in emergencies.   Teacher: Alright guys.   Narrator: Rockefeller has
remained an advocate for
students of all ages thru his support of science
and technology.   Jessica Rosenworcel: He
is the founding father
of the E-Rate program, a program that has
helped connect schools
and libraries to modern communications all
across this country. When that program started,
only 14% of public schools were connected to the
internet. Today, that number is
north of 95% and we’re
gonna keep on moving on, because the challenge
is not just connection,
its broadband capacity. But I think it’s pretty
neat that in 1996 he had
the foresight to say that connecting everyone to the
internet was going to be
important to education.   Jay: The internet could be
the greatest thing that
ever happened to America and it could also be the
destruction of America. If done by people who
hate America they could
shut down Wall Street, they could shut down
hospitals; we have
to figure that out. And that’s what we do
in the Intelligence
Committee, we try to find them
and stop them and
we do a lot of them.   Jay: Is there a
way in your mind.   Narrator: Rockefeller
joined the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence in 2001, chaired the
committee from 2007 to
2009 and remained its vice chair until he retired
from public office.   Joseph Biden: As a former
chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Committee and a member, Jay has
been one of the most
important, consistent, intelligent and capable
voices improving our nation’s intelligencecapabilities.   Narrator: As Chairman,
Rockefeller sponsored
legislation that reworked national intelligence
operations following 9/11. It was controversial then
and remains so today.   Jay: There’s been a big
controversy about the National Security Agency
listening in on Americans. By a law which I got
passed, called the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act, you cannot listen to
what’s said on a telephone call, the NSA people,
you cannot read an email. All you have is the fact
that a telephone call was
made to so and so and then you track other telephone
calls and maybe this
person talked to that person who talked
to that person who
talked to that person, all of a sudden you have
the making potentially of
a plot against America. So you have to do that. You have to do that. Keeping America safe
is worth everything.   Biden: No one’s ever gonna
know the real story of how
big a part you played. No one has been more
clear-eyed, no one has let
out more of a clarion call over the last 6 to 8 years
about the cyber threats we
face and how we have to combat it than
Jay Rockefeller. I promise you, you and
America are a much safer nation because of Jay
Rockefeller of WV.   Applause   Narrator: In January 2013,
Jay Rockefeller announced he would not seek another
term in the US Senate. He addressed fellow
members on the Senate
floor, for the last time,
December 4, 2014.   Jay: This work demands and
deserves nothing less than everything that we have
to give. I will miss the Senate. Some days, I don’t want
to leave, but it’s time.   Jay: I’m looking forward
to the retirement. I mean, I don’t like
leaving the Senate because I hate leaving public policy. So my trick is, post
Senate, is to keep
involved in public policy but being able
to spend more time
being a grandparent, being a husband,
being a father. And that’s the price you
pay in public service. You never get enough sleep
and you never have time
for your own and you never spend enough time
with your children.   Applause   Reporter: What would you
like your legacy to be?   Jay: That I was an
honorable and honest and
hardworking public servant and that everything I did
was for the people; that’s
what got me up in the morning, that’s what
allowed me to sleep at
night, even when I failed, which I often did. It’s the fight that counts
and I love the fight.   Narrator: Jay and Sharon
Rockefeller quietly
support a long list of philanthropic endeavors,
both nationally and in WV. Some of the most visible
include the Blanchette
Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute in Morgantown,
dedicated to Alzheimer’s
research and named after Jay’s mother, who
lived with the disease
for many years.   Jay: So now we’re
gonna have a system
of rehab programs.   Narrator: Another
significant gift by the
Rockefellers helped make the Grace Anne Dorney
Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Center at Cabin Creek Health Systems in
southern WV a reality. The effort is named
after the wife of
journalist Ted Koppel.   Ted Koppel: When you
see sincerity and when
a man actually has it, it carries you a long way. He could have been
anywhere, done anything and he chose to give his
life in service. And if spending 50
years doing that is not evidence of sincerity,
I don’t know what is.   Narrator: In the final
weeks of Jay Rockefeller’s
tenure in the US Senate, WVU President E Gordon Gee
announced that WVU will
serve as the “forever home” of the John
D Rockefeller IV
Senatorial Archives, Gallery and School of
Policy and Politics.   E Gordon Gee: The
establishment of the
Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics will
enable WVU to have a much
greater impact on policy development implementation
at local, state, national
and international levels. It will also provide
improved, academic and
experiential opportunities for our students
and for our faculty.   Stephen Scott: I was
in complete awe –.   Narrator: Among those
honoring Rockefeller at
WVU: Student Stephen Scott, who served as an
intern on the Senator’s staff in the summer of 2014.   Scott: I know West
Virginians like myself
will dearly miss Senator Rockefeller and his
countless contributions
to the state. When I left the office on
August 1st, I knew I was
not only saying goodbye to the time I spent in DC,
but I was saying goodbye
to one of the last times anyone will be able to
visit Senator Rockefeller
in his office. I was, too, saying goodbye
to a West Virginian who I
had recently just met, but has always had
my best interests at
heart my entire life. We appreciate you
dearly and we will
miss you greatly. Thank you.   Applause   Sharon: People can
serve in many, many
different ways. And maybe his elected
career is over, but that
doesn’t mean in any way that his dedication
or commitment to
WV is any the less.   Jessica Lynch: Thank you
Senator for coming out –.   Jay: Public service is
basically about helping
other people and maybe other people who
aren’t just like you. I don’t know of anything
more honorable, more satisfying than helping people. But being in public
life, being elected
to public life, having people measure you,
you measuring yourself, in
a state which was new to me back in 1964 and
gradually accepted me has been the highest honor
of my life. I’ve loved it. I’ve absolutely loved it.   §   Announcer: From WV
Public Broadcasting  

19 comments

  1. That was a very revealing and engaging story about Jay Rockefeller. I am very impressed with the man, his story, his family, his vision, his caring, and the film. Thank you!

  2. I think the people of West Virginia would have preferred to have been left…………………………………………………………….A-L-O-N-E. He has/had an agenda.

  3. It is impossible to believe this cheesy fairy tale. Nice show of emotion for someone who's family is knee deep involved in the New World Order, a long awaited and well planned agenda, for our world to be controlled by the bankers. Members of the Builderberg Group who for decades and currently meet annually. With the 2% of the wealthiest self appointed pedophiles that control the majority of resources, land, and 95% of world media, leaving 5% to give the impression that we still have free journalism. Crisis actors/ documentaries are bought and payed for. I sincerely doubt that this apple has fallen far from the tree. Excuse me while I go vomit.

  4. id like to meet jaye and show him who allah is after all the speculation in the last 150years. im just a regular dude who just happened to make more money then any other person in history and more then the rest of our nations population combined by myself because i had time to work and an ability to focus until i took it further then anyone expected. ive revealed little of the details but ive planned them i know how to solve all the big issues that locked everyone else up. im a real estate guy. the moon was to much wealth to skip. its worth more then earth. best location in the solar system. jaye id like to teach you how you can do something big for me. ill give you a trillion dollars to do it to. ill have to meet you and make sure that you give it tio the right people so the world is a better place when were done. i beat empires without ever firing one shot. i solved problems, big ones. i want north korea made rich and well fed. id like the rockefellers to hand that money to them to make up for last centuries failure to treat them good . when they never once attacked any nation. they only defended their own land. America needs to make up for the starving they went through uneeded. i want them to have the best farm equipment and irrigation pumps and canals they can have.

  5. A horrible human being. He sold out the state of WV, he never cared for the people or it’s resources. Remember him as a thief and liar. How much time can your money buy you “Jay”? The clock is ticking.

  6. A lot of towns in West Virginia wound up being poisoned by the mining. Jay wanted to do away with that. They were thinking short term and did not vote for him the first time. Seems like he would have been a good choice.

  7. Thank you very much for sharing this great documentary which shares a great and in some ways, unlikely life story of a person who will go down as one of the greatest statesmen in the history of the United States.

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