Kemp, ‘son of a trucker,’ inspires fleet execs

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Former Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp had a simple message Tuesday, June 6 for the attendees of the CCJ Spring Symposium, sponsored by Randall-Reilly Publishing: “Freedom works!”

Pacing the Tuscaloosa, Ala., stage in shirtsleeves, roaming the audience, the longtime advocate of lower tax rates gave an enthusiastic speech in favor of limited government, the right of inheritance and the sanctity of private property. “Think of the Ten Commandments,” he said. “Half of them are about private property.”

To applause, Kemp also criticized the movement to fund highway improvements using tolls. “I don’t like tolls on interstate highways,” he said. “I think the Highway Trust Fund should be spent on highways.”

Kemp was Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996, after four years as housing secretary for President George H.W. Bush and 18 years as a New York congressman. Much of his speech, however, was devoted to his early years in California. “I am the son of a trucker, and proud of it,” Kemp said to applause. “I am really at home. I appreciate the men and women in this room.”

Kemp’s father was a one-truck owner-operator in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, his company rather grandly called California Delivery Service. The elder Kemp made enough money with his one truck to buy 12 trucks and employ 12 truck drivers.

Kemp said this taught him an early lesson about the importance of entrepreneurship to the public good. “Truck drivers’ wages are higher when they have trucks to drive than when they don’t,” Kemp said. “That truck is provided by a capitalist. Capital is not the enemy of labor, and labor is not the enemy of capital. We need them both.”

Kemp lauded entrepreneurs for providing jobs and opportunities. “I love that word ‘entrepreneur.’