October 22, 1965. LBJ signs the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, and gives Lady Bird the first signing pen. The Act regulated billboards and junkyards along highways and set aside federal money for beautifying America’s roadsides.
Lady Bird had lobbied hard for the bill’s passage, and she and the President’s legislative liaisons had encountered significant resistance from billboard-industry interests in Congress, especially in the House. Her involvement and that of her staff—especially Liz Carpenter—may have made the difference. Texas Congressman George Mahon said:
“No one in the Texas delegation likes the bill, but no one wants to vote against Lady Bird.”
—Lewis L. Gould, Lady Bird Johnson and the Environment, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, pg 162.