April 8, 1981

The Presidential federalism advisory committee that I am forming today is a first step in helping me to restore a proper constitutional relationship between the Federal, State, and local governments. Unfortunately, our decentralized system of government has over the years been bent out of shape. The Federal Government too often has treated elected State and local officials as if they were nothing more than administrative agents for Federal authority. I will look to this Advisory Committee to help me find ways to return towards a proper balance.

The people who make up State and local governments are as capable as any in Washington, D.C. My administration looks forward to working with them in concrete ways. We need to provide for greater authority and responsibility in the States, counties, cities, and towns -- to return government to those closest to the people most affected.

I am particularly pleased that my good friend Senator Paul Laxalt, who served in county government before being elected Lieutenant Governor and then Governor of the State of Nevada, has agreed to serve as Chairman of this Committee. I am further pleased that a bipartisan cross section of Governors, State legislators, mayors, county officials, and Members of Congress have agreed to serve on this Committee.