H.R. 4851

Kennedy-King Establishment Act of 2018

STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL LANDS, CONCERNING H.R. 4851, A BILL TO ESTABLISH THE KENNEDY-KING NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE IN THE STATE OF INDIANA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

FEBRUARY 15, 2018

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 4851, a bill to establish the Kennedy-King National Historic Site in the State of Indiana, and for other purposes.

The Department would like to help provide greater recognition to the site proposed for designation in H.R. 4851.  However, the National Park Service has no basis for knowing whether the proposed site meets the criteria for inclusion in the National Park System, as a special resource study has not been completed for the site.

In addition, the National Park Service has a deferred maintenance backlog of over $11 billion.  The Administration’s focus is to reduce this backlog and to address other critical national park needs.  For this reason, funding for new units to the national park system is not a priority in the Administration’s FY2019 budget.

H.R. 4851 commemorates the location where Robert F. Kennedy was to deliver a presidential campaign speech on April 4, 1968. Kennedy did not deliver his campaign speech; instead he gave an impromptu speech about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that had occurred that day just prior to his arrival.  In his remarks, he called for unity, prayers, and a non-violent response to the news.  The site is marked by the Landmark for Peace Memorial which was dedicated in 1994 to honor Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Department would be happy to discuss with the sponsor and the committee other alternatives to increase public recognition of the site. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes our statement.

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