President Ronald Reagan

Published on: 16:27PM Feb 10, 2011

Last Sunday would have been President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. His birthday was celebrated in California at the Ronald Reagan Museum and here in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building, which is the event that I attended. The crowd was filled with individuals that worked for him along with many admirers that probably wished they had worked for him.

My program today is a short tribute to a great President who, with each passing year, receives more and more appreciation.
Before he selected me to serve as his Secretary of Agriculture, I didn’t know Ronald Reagan. But with the support of Senator Bob Dole and Illinois Governor Jim Thompson, I was invited in late December to meet with President-elect Reagan. I flew to Los Angeles, checked in at my hotel, and went straight to the home of President and Mrs. Reagan. Nancy opened the door and welcomed me. That first meeting included Ed Meese (Reagan’s closest advisor), Marty Anderson (his economic advisor), and Mike Deaver.
We spent 2 hours discussing everything about government’s role – not so much on farm programs. A fortunate thing for me is that I was the only one in the room that really knew agriculture. I remember Senator Dole had told the President that he wanted a “hands on farmer from the heartland.”
The President reached out to me to get to know me, to know my philosophy of government and how I visualized the role of the Secretary of Agriculture. The meeting concluded and I returned to the hotel. Within 30 minutes, the phone rang. The voice said, “This is Ronald Reagan and I would like for you to serve as my Secretary of Agriculture.” I was stunned. I just said, “Mr. President, I would be proud to serve.” I really had no idea what I was getting into.
That first meeting with President Reagan told me two things about the President. He was guided by philosophy and instinct. He concluded that my philosophy was consistent with his. And it was. We both believed in smaller government, less taxes, and less regulation. The second thing was he made many important decisions based in instinct. He didn’t really know me, but instinct told him I would be okay.
His leadership and optimism lifted the country. Remember he told us, “The best days are still to come for this shining city on the hill.”
The United States of America was blessed to have had Ronald Reagan’s leadership at that critical time
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to
Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.