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1988-08-08 Interview with Joseph Prather, August 8, 1988 Leg001:1988OH134Leg02 00:45:30 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Legislators -- Kentucky -- Interviews. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Reform. Kentucky. Governor (1967-1971 : Nunn) Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1979-1983 : Brown) Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Ford, Wendell Carroll, Julian Nunn, Louie B. Collins, Martha Layne Fleming, Jim Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Brown, John Y. Jr. legislative independence interim committees Rules Committee Term/District: House (1968-1972), 26th district; Senate (1974-1986), 10th district Leadership Position(s): House Majority Whip, 1970; Senate President Pro Tem, 1976-1986 Counties in District: Hardin County (Ky.) -- Larue County (Ky.) -- Bullitt County (Ky.) Joseph Prather; interviewee David Breaux; interviewer 1988OH134_LEG002_Prather 1:|14(9)|23(7)|33(4)|43(1)|67(4)|78(9)|89(2)|99(11)|113(1)|126(17)|134(7)|146(9)|162(1)|172(5)|182(9)|199(10)|211(10)|220(6)|233(3)|246(5)|259(7)|278(1)|289(7)|303(17)|317(3)|324(7)|331(11)|353(12)|360(20)|373(9)|394(15)|404(11)|412(3)|423(8)|430(3)|438(1)|445(11)|457(10)|471(9)|485(1)|496(5)|505(5)|513(9)|524(15)|534(2) audiotrans Legit interview BREAUX: First of all let me thank you for taking the time to talk with us today, share your experiences in Frankfort. PRATHER: I'm glad to be with you. It's an opportunity for me to talk about something that's dear to me. BREAUX: Fine. Let me begin by asking you just for a general account of your career in Frankfort, for example, when were you first elected, the years you served, the leadership positions you may have held and so forth. PRATHER: I was first elected in 1967 to the House of Representatives and served my first term beginning with the 1968 session. I served in the House until the end of 1973. During one session, I was majority whip in the House in the 1970 session, in leadership. I was elected to the Senate in 1973 to fill the state Senate seat vacated by Dee Huddleston when he moved to the US Senate-served my first session there in 1974, was elected as president pro tem of the Senate to serve beginning in the 1976 session. A-and I served in that position for eleven years until my term was up at the end of, of 1986 at which time I chose not to run again. So, I was there a total of nineteen years, six in the House and six in the Senate and I had a total of thirteen years in both houses and leadership. BREAUX: Okay. Let's talk a little bit more about leadership, and the selection process. In the good old days, I guess you and I'll agree to call them that, the governor simply handpicked people he wanted to see in the leadership positions and the legislature more or less went with the governor's choices. Now in 1970, I believe, when you became party whip there wasn't a Democratic governor there to do the picking. How did that unfold? What were the circumstances involved in the leadership selection process under Louie Nunn? PRATHER: Well, of course, the governor, under Louie Nunn with a Democratic legislature, had nothing to say about who was in leadership. So, for the first time in, in many, many years the General Assembly was free to, to select its own leadership. That happened and I ran-ended up being slated with the then speaker of the House Julian Carroll who had more at that time to say about who the other members of leadership were then-then anyone else. So I was elected party whip on a slate that included Julian Carroll as Speaker of the House. BREAUX: So, Speaker Carroll had a very large role then in the selection process? PRATHER: He did have because he was elected first as speaker in 1968 and that was, 1968 was a wide open election of leadership and Julian Carroll prevailed as speaker then so by 1970 when there was a vacancy because the then Democratic whip was not reelected, then I ran and had a considerable amount of support on my own but I think the final determining factor was that Julian Carroll had enough support in the House that with his help I was able to go over the top. BREAUX: So, the leadership position then was contested? I mean there was a contest- PRATHER: Yes. BREAUX: to see who was gonna become party whip? Do you remember who else was- PRATHER: Yes. BREAUX: was interested in running for party whip at that time? PRATHER: There were three of us in that race, Darvin Allen from Magoffin County up in Eastern Kentucky, and Lloyd Clapp from down in Graves County in Western Kentucky. So, there were three of us who went to the ballot and I prevailed. BREAUX: What about Lieutenant Governor Ford, what type of role did he play in that selection process? PRATHER: Well, he played a dominant role in the Senate at that time, if I recall. I wasn't directly involved but was very close to what was going on in the Senate and so the leadership that was favored by Senator Ford was, was selected again in 1968 which was the first session that Louie Nunn was there and then again in '70 so, the lieutenant governor was the dominant figure in the selection of leadership in the Senate during those years. BREAUX: Had you interacted with Governor Nunn at least for one session while you were in the leadership. How would you characterize his style of leadership as governor? Did he interact fairly closely with the legislature? PRATHER: Louie Nunn would-he would take a different approach depending on the situation. He was a person who could offer the olive branch and work with the leadership if he felt the occasion called for it. He was a person who could threaten various individual members of the General Assembly if he thought that's what it took to get them in line. He was a person who could readily say, "you do this for me and I'll do this for you." And, and where I grew up down in the country, we called it horse trading but he was very capable to doing that. So he took many approaches depending on what the situation called for. He was tough. He was a tough-minded individual, knew what he wanted and, and meant to achieve it when he set up to do it. BREAUX: Looking back he was fairly successful in getting some legislation through and passed by an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. His budget, for example, or the increase in the sales tax. What are your impressions of this? How was he able to get that type of legislation passed over such an overwhelming Democratic majority? PRATHER: First, he was able to hold in line, if that's the appropriate phrase, the Republican members of the General Assembly to a greater extent than had ever been done before and has ever been done since when it comes to dealing with the, those legislators of the same party as the governor. So he had almost a hundred percent going in of those of his party. Secondly, as far as the sales tax and some other programs, there were Democratic members of the legislature who felt that they were right and voted for them for that reason, which made a great deal of difference. If I recall there were forty- three Republicans in the House of Representatives at that time, forty-one or two of them voted for the sales tax so that didn't leave many Democrats to have to vote for that-for the sales tax bill in order to pass that. Some Democrats- BREAUX: So you wouldn't say there was a lot of maneuvering or a lot of arm twisting. PRATHER: Well, there were a lot, there, there was arm twisting with those Democratic members that he felt it would be effective with and he succeeded. There were projects back in home districts built for votes on the sales tax. And there were some Democrats who just felt that if we were going to move ahead, it was their feeling that it was needed. So it's, it was a combination of considerations in what finally passed the sales tax. But the key to his being able to pass it was that he held his own party in line almost in toto. BREAUX: So, he'd automatically count on those Republican votes? PRATHER: You count when you fifty-one votes to pass and you have over forty going in Republicans that doesn't leave very many Democrats to have to sway. BREAUX: What types of techniques were available to you as party whip trying to convince legislators how to vote? PRATHER: It's, at that time was, was difficult without having a governor because the day was still-it was still a day in 1970 when legislation was passed based on what normally what the governor can, could do in return. There was a great amount of that. It was, it was rampant so it made it, it made it more difficult. It wasn't particularly difficult to talk to most members about not voting for a five percent sales tax simply because that's never a popular vote to make. So, but I think that's the reason that you see that a great amount of Louie Nunn's program passed. Any governor in Kentucky at that time could pass the biggest part of any program regardless of his party because he, the legislature had not achieve enough independence to be able to have the clout with any of the agencies in order to work with them on things that were dear to their home districts then. Now agencies look at projects, look at various requests differently for a legislator, everything is not run through the governor's office, in other words. Back then if you got anything for your district the governor's office signed off on it first. BREAUX: How effective was something like the Rules Committee back then in delaying or killing legislation outright? PRATHER: The Rules Committee, if it chose to use the power that it had could just be the death nail for any legislation. The Rules Committee was a closed meeting, it was at that time it was not open to the public. It's still open only to members and the press and you can vote in the Rules Committee and kill a bill by sending it to an unfriendly committee and never be accountable for your action. So, a Rules Committee that chose to kill a bill could kill it and never, never have it known who did it unless some other member of the Rules Committee chose to tell it which was unusual. BREAUX: Now, in 1972 Wendell Ford became governor. Did things simply revert back to the old way of doing business then since once again we had a Democratic governor in the state and a Democratically controlled legislature? Again, in terms of what we have been talking about, leadership- PRATHER: Yes. BREAUX: selection? PRATHER: It went to what it had always been. You got a Democratic governor with a, a large Democratic majority because many of the, many of the Republicans in the legislature who had been elected with Nunn were no longer there. Some of them only lasted one session and went out of office in '70. A greater number went out of office in the Ford sweep in '72. So you had a large Democratic majority, you had a governor who had been schooled in the old system and who played it very well and he, he just about got what he wanted. BREAUX: Why do you think Democratic legislators for some many years, and particularly after tasting a little bit independence under the Nunn administration, simply accepted the old method, simply went back to letting the governor handpick leadership? PRATHER: Well, I think it goes back to the way politics was played all throughout the state. It wasn't just legislators, I mean the legislators were elected from a reservoir of people at that time who believed that, that a governor, a governor's word was, was final and so that thinking by-and-large came to Frankfort. It was though during the early '70s that some legislators, younger legislators, started being elected that continued to increase, the percentage continued to increase on up through the late '70s when you saw legislative independence really start. So, you had some independent-minded legislators even back in the early '70s, although they were not dominant, but by-and-large you still had those elected from back home who still believed that that should be the system and the, you still had the, you still had politicians back in the counties who helped elect them, who were in tune with the governor. So, that changed, that had to change a great deal too for the legislature to change very much and you've seen both of them change. BREAUX: Okay, let's shift the topic, I guess, for a moment and talk a little bit more specifically about legislative reorganization or this move toward an independent state legislature? The trend seems to have, at least begun in the late '60s around 1968, the time you were coming into the legislature. For example, there was a reorganization of the committee system at that time- PRATHER: Right. BREAUX: creation of the interim committee system. PRATHER: Right. BREAUX: Was there a general mood of reform? Was there a general mood of legislatures, excuse me, legislators toward independence at that time? PRATHER: I don't think that was-I don't think there was any great movement at that time. There were-there were a few legislators at that time who believed that we ought to put in place an interim committee system and that- BREAUX: Do you remember who was the most active? PRATHER: I don't recall the, because all of that was, all of that was done prior to 1968 and that was adopted as Rules when I was a green freshman in '68 but it was all done in the interim between '66 and '68 is when and that was done. The prime mover in drafting all that reorganization plan though was Jim Fleming who was then the director of the Legislative Research Commission. I always called Jim Fleming the, the father of the interim committee system because he had more to do with that than any individual legislator. Jim Fleming had more to do with a lot of things than any director of LRC has had since. He-he was-he operated with a stronger hand, in that position than you see now any director would be able to do and stay in that spot. So, primarily I think that it was his movement that caused to, caused that to come about. Now, once it was put in place though and you, instead of having forty-five or forty-some, however many, committees that were unworkable, it was condensed to fourteen. But they went back to working just like they'd always worked. I mean it was-action was very arbitrary in at that point. It wasn't until a few years later that the, the committee system began to work and be more objective but it was put in place in '68 which, you know, everything in the legislature has to come of age and it takes a while. Whether it be an issue, whether it be a rule's change, whatever and so having that in place in '68 allowed that time to pass where then on later in the '70s it started to be more effective. BREAUX: Do you think some of those changes would have been initiated if Louie Nunn hadn't become governor? PRATHER: I don't think so. I think that you saw, you saw a movement that led to legislative independence later on that started in the Nunn days. Now, it was sidetracked to some extent during the Wendell Ford and the Julian Carroll administrations because they were strong personalities, knew the system, had friendships in the legislature that allowed them to dominate but still in place through all that was a system that was poised to work some day when you had a governor who took a more hands-off stance such as the way John Y. Brown did. BREAUX: Why the early emphasis on committees? That seems to be where most of the early steps took place with the reorganization of the committee system, for example. PRATHER: Well, that's where it had to start because that's where-that was where legislation could be molded, could be passed along, could be defeated without ever having general debate or having an objective look taken at it. So without revamping the committee system you had no hopes of ever revamping the legislative process and ever having it become what it is today. It had to start with the committee system because the committees have the first shot at legislation after it's introduced and if you don't have an objective workable committee system then you don't have objective consideration of legislation, it's just impossible. BREAUX: Were those early changes taken fairly seriously at first? For example, like the creation of the interim committee system, was those committees, you know, were they taken fairly seriously at first? PRATHER: I think they were to some extent during the-during the Nunn years and then you saw a waning importance probably-maybe went back instead of forward a little under Ford and possibly under Carroll but then the resurgence under Brown and under Collins and then in the present administration. BREAUX: Were they able to exercise much independent judgment then or were they more or less tied to the whims of the Legislative Research Commission? PRATHER: More tied to the whims of leadership in the, in the two bodies instead of the governor at that point. But then when-then you came back with-that was during the Nunn years, but then with Ford you came back to where they were tied to the whims of leadership but the whims of leadership happened to be the whims of the governor because he named the leadership during, Ford named the leadership during the Ford years the same as Julian Carroll did during his administration. BREAUX: You've had the rather unique experience of serving as president pro tem, I believe, under three different governors, am I correct there? Julian Carroll, John Y. Brown, and Martha Layne Collins. PRATHER: John Y. Brown, and Martha Layne Collins. I did. BREAUX: That's a rather unique experience I would believe. PRATHER: I think it's probably a first. BREAUX: How would you compare the leadership styles of those three individuals? Were they a lot different from each other? PRATHER: Yes. Julian Carroll was a-was a person who kept his finger on everything, from the smallest to the largest decision that was to be made in the General Assembly. He kept assistants in the governor's office who tracked every bill, who knew where it was on a given day and, and for the most part indicated, "pass it," "don't pass it," "that's the wish of the administration to the leadership." BREAUX: So he was very involved in even the details of legislature? PRATHER: Very involved. He knew the executive budget that he presented better than anyone where most governors have the Finance and Revenue Cabinet who work in those areas, he personally spent countless hours becoming aware what was in that budget, made personal decisions about switching moneys, about funding projects, could take the chalk and the chalkboard and give you a, a briefing on the budget better than anybody he had working for him, which was unusual. Just stayed involved, played politics to its fullest with members of the General Assembly, knew how to play the game to get exactly what he wanted as governor. BREAUX: So, not only would you say that he was very involved but also very effective? PRATHER: I say, I would say he was, yes. Probably the most effective that I had seen-knew, knew the system better than anyone, knew the legislature better than anyone. Had come up through the ranks, had been Speaker of the House, had been lieutenant governor where he, a lieutenant governor at that time, contrary to what it is today, was very involved in decisions in the Senate, was chairman of the Legislative Research Commission when Carroll was there where now the president pro tem and the Speaker of the House are the co-chairmen. He knew how to, he knew how work with the legislature. He knew how, he knew the system and he made his business to know the executive branch and so there's little doubt-he didn't make all the right decisions but he was effective in making, carrying out the decisions that he did make. BREAUX: What about the other two governors that we mentioned? What type of transition was it for you serving as president pro tem under a governor such as Julian Carroll and then moving to somebody, which seems have taken a more hands-off approach, John Y. Brown? PRATHER: Well, first off there was a, there was a period that changed from what I just said about Julian Carroll's administration beginning with the special session of 1979 and primarily in the Senate of, you'd had elected a lot of young members who were interested in getting out from under that iron hand of the governor and starting with the special session of 1979 had-we found that-of course, Julian Carroll was a lame duck. His popularity with the people had gone backwards, his popularity by that time with legislators had, many of them had, had gone downhill. So, you found that many of the younger members and particularly in the, primarily in the Senate had decided that this was the time for a change if it was ever coming. And so starting with that special session you saw a great number of breaks with the administration. I was involved in a, in many of those decisions because I could see that the legislature needed to be stronger if you're gonna have more balance as I envisioned that we should have between the executive and the legislative branch. There were many others in the Senate who were more active than was even. So that set the tone for going into a Brown administration and then when Brown took a hands-off in selection of legislative leadership that was really the-the most wide open race for leadership that has ever been, was during the first-the session just before Brown, John Y. Brown's first legislative session, it was a wide-open run for daylight type election with leadership with Brown staying out of it. And so that momentum that had started in the '79 special session just carried on into the '80 session of the General Assembly. And then with Brown's style where he just dealt with the big picture and didn't get involved in details a great deal, where he knew nothing of the legislative process which meant that the did know how to effectively-head off any movement by the legislature, toward independent decisions-then all hell broke lose. BREAUX: How did that affect your job as party whip- PRATHER: As president pro tem? BREAUX: Right. Excuse me, as president pro tem- PRATHER: (unintelligible) BREAUX: did that make it harder to deal with legislators who weren't in tow, a very popular governor- PRATHER: Well- BREAUX: who wanted to control them? PRATHER: it-had we chosen to pick up the governor's program and ju--, and try to pass it regardless, it would have made it most difficult. But we as leadership didn't choose to do that. By that time we had been elected on our own. We-John Y. Brown was new to us. He didn't come into office with, with a great number of substantive programs that he wanted to pass. It made the Speaker of the House and the President pro tem of the Senate and the leadership stronger than anyone ever envisioned that they could be just a few years prior to that. We, if we didn't want to pass something, we just didn't pass it. The legislature wrote Brown's first budget primarily. He presented a budget that was a shell if you will, didn't have a lot of the details filled in. And we, we worked with him finally to get a budget pulled together but if it hadn't been for our people it would've been difficult to ever pass the budget. People like Mike Moloney and Joe Clarke and the ones of us in leadership, we just put a budget together and said, "Governor, if you can agree to, with this, we're gonna pass it." I guess what we didn't say, maybe we're gonna pass it anyway but we didn't have to do that because he was glad to have a budget pulled together and that was very late in the session when we accomplished that. BREAUX: And finally what about Martha Layne Collins as governor? What was her style like? Was it much like her immediate predecessor, John Y. Brown? PRATHER: It was much like Brown in that she did not meddle in selection of leadership. She-she was more active concerning some specific issues in which she was interested but still, a great deal like Brown overall in that she did not get, she did not take on every issue as an administration issue, one that she had to be for or against. She selected issues and those are the issues that she promoted: education, the economic development area, her overall budget she was interested in but she chose not to get involved on many, many issues. So she, in that sense, tended to be more like Brown than she did a Julian Carroll, for instance. BREAUX: Now, you served as her campaign manager, am I correct in that when she ran for governor? PRATHER: Campaign chairman, yes. BREAUX: Campaign chairman PRATHER: Yes, I did. BREAUX: you were involved in her campaign? PRATHER: Right. BREAUX: Did that make her any more accessible to you as someone in leadership? And were you able to consult with her on issues or did she want to be consulted on legislative details or tactics of getting an administration bill passed? PRATHER: She-I was free to consult with her about anytime I wanted to. She did not choose to get involved in-in very much legislation. So I didn't consult with her as much as you might think that you would consult someone that you've been that close to. But if it was something that was-that she chose to be involved in, well, then obviously I was in close touch with her such as the education package that she couldn't have approved because of a lack of funding in the first, in her first session. It took her, it took her a while as governor to really find herself and that first session of the General Assembly was one of them. And that was a frustrating time for her, it was a frustrating time for me simply because I had been close to her and everyone knew it and she suddenly decided to take on a-a major change in how we educated our children but she hadn't laid the groundwork for it with the members going in. It was designed for failure because the groundwork hadn't been laid. She came back and spent a great amount of time laying that groundwork after that ill-faded session and then a great amount of what she wanted was passed later in a special session but-and that's what needed to be done prior to making the effort to in her first session. But that, other than, other than some of the economic development areas and education she chose to be uninvolved much the way Brown did. BREAUX: What type of gubernatorial style, leadership style, in your opinion, is best for the state of Kentucky? If you had that decision to make do you think Kentucky in terms of the type of public policies we'd have, we've better off with a strong governor and a very tightly knit, partisan controlled legislature or a more independent legislature with a governor taking a more hands-off approach? Or does it just depend or don't make a difference? (laughs) PRATHER: Oh, it makes a difference. A-an independent legislature is better government for the people because you come closer to having decisions made for the right reasons than you will to have decisions made because I'm going to get two miles of blacktop back in my district. The danger in that is that the pendulum will swing too far toward the General Assembly where the General Assembly not only will be a watchdog on the executive branch activity but will thwart activity that rightfully should be in the realm of the executive branch. You need a strong executive branch and you need a strong General Assembly in order to have good government and each one needs to know when they're stepping on to the other's turf. Now that is-that has been a trial and error situation because of legislative independence and in trying to work out working relationships with the governor and the legislature but I, I think it's beginning to mold into something that's going to be workable. You still have a strong governor in Kentucky because the General Assembly is basically advisory and can have oversight but can't veto during an interim-based on our Constitution which means that a governor if he has a budget can-has a lot of flexibility and a lot of ability to make his own decisions during a time when the legislature is not in town which makes the governor very strong. The governor still makes the appointments of people who make the wheels of government turn having these agencies and so that makes the governor powerful in Kentucky. A governor who recognizes that if he will work with the General Assembly in molding programs that fulfill interests that he has in various areas, and you've seen a lot of that in education and that type of thing in the last few years, could gain some agreement with the General Assembly in those areas if he has the good judgment not to do what the legislature considers meddling over in these areas that really don't matter to him as far as the success of his administration is concerned. There are a lot of members of the General Assembly who have pet legislation, have legislation that they're interested in and it has nothing to do with whether a governor is going to have a good administration or not. So a governor who chooses to-and then a governor who chooses to try to get involved with browbeating the General Assembly today is going to lose the possibility he has of forging a compromise on programs that are important to him. So, you have to operate as a person of strength if you're gonna to be governor but you also have to understand that there's give-and-take involved in finally molding a final product with the General Assembly today instead of trying to dictate. Dictating the General Assembly will not work today and it should not work. BREAUX: So, then you think the trend is sort of set- PRATHER: (unintelligible)- BREAUX: we're going to continue to see this trend toward a more independent legislature, a more stronger legislature but not necessarily a weakening governor? We're not, we're gonna see both a strong governor and a strong legislature? PRATHER: I think you've about reached that point where you see, you'll see that both of them are going to be strong and that you're not going to have a weakling governor, nor should you have, but you also will never return to a rubberstamped legislature. One, one reason for that is, is that leadership of the General Assembly is elected in a different year now. A governor isn't elected and then able to take part in selection of leadership when a, a leadership is selected in January of the year the governor is elected and that leadership is in place to greet that governor when he comes to town so-and by time it comes to reelect that leadership the governor is already in the middle of his term so you'll find that-you're gonna find that a governor cannot dictate leader--, election of leadership which means he cannot dictate to the General Assembly any longer. That's the key to it. BREAUX: Your legislative career covered a relatively long period of time. A lot of legislators, it seems, who were elected initially in the '60s did not spend or did not choose to spend a career, or at least the number of years that you did, in the legislature- PRATHER: Right. BREAUX: but more recently there has been a trend toward making a career of serving in the legislature. There's been a trend toward careerism. Do you see that as affecting the relationship between the governor and the legislative branch? Do you see this is a good thing? PRATHER: I think it is a good thing and I think members of the General Assembly can stay too long just as you can in any office and that's the reason after nineteen years I decided not to run again. I frankly thought I'd been there long enough. I went there when I was twenty-seven and came out when I was forty-six and that's a long time out of your life at, at that age but I think a lot of that is due to the change we've just talked about with the governor not being able to dominate a legislator. That usually means that a legislator can stay longer if he's elected on his own initially. Legislators-twenty-five years ago to stay, to be reelected over a long period of time had to guess right on the governor's race every time. Otherwise that governor would have his people back home boot them out some time during his term, so that had a great deal to do with it. But the fact that politics generally has changed to where you don't have the domination by an administration in Frankfort over county politics in very many counties anymore means that you have legislators who can stay longer because they can survive longer politically. BREAUX: We're just talking a moment ago about the ability of the governor to control legislators' votes, even on administration bills, by being able to hand out projects in districts or even to get roads blacktopped. If a governor such as Wallace Wilkinson, or whoever the next governor of Kentucky is, had the revenue to fund a lot of those types of projects, do you think that would make a difference? Do you think the legislature would (sighs) recede a little bit in terms of independence? PRATHER: I don't really think so simply because I, I don't think you have a type legislator in Frankfort today, for the most part, who would yield on a vote simply to get Uncle John's road paved. You have some, yes, but you don't have-but the percentage is not significant enough to make the difference. And you have too many people who would-who are not into that game of trading projects for votes in the General Assembly today to ever be able to go back to what it was. Now, on a given single vote on an issue that's important to a governor, if he, if he needs a handful of votes in order to pass that I'm not saying that on a given issue he could instill trade and traffic, if you will, and pass that legislation. But generally, that would cause a backlash in the General Assembly trying to take that approach on very many occasions. So, I don't think that is a threat to legislative independence any longer. BREAUX: Okay. Well, I think we've talked about a pretty good variety of topics, talked about leadership, we talked about legislative reorganizations, some trends that have seem to take-taken about twenty years to play themselves out and still playing themselves out. Is there any other topic that you'd like to comment upon that we haven't discussed today in terms of legislative reorganization or independence? PRATHER: Well, I think we've, I think we've covered a lot in a short time. It just seems to me that-that if we continue for the next twenty years as we have in the last twenty, that you're going to see that, that state government and provisions in the KRS are going, we're gonna to have the-the statute books are going to be cleaned up to a great extent and we're going to have fairer laws in Kentucky than we've ever had. We're gonna have better thought-out laws than we've ever had before. I think the trend and the quality of legislator today is far greater than at any time that I have seen it during my time there and I think that's probably the most significant thing that has come about because of all this. You now have good people who are willing to run for the right reasons because somebody cared enough to try to change the system so, it's gonna be ongoing. BREAUX: Okay. I hope you're right (laughs). I think we all hope you're right. PRATHER: I think I am right (laughs). BREAUX: I want to thank you for, again, for taking the time to talk with me today. [End of interview] 1 Prather (House 1968-1972, 26th district; Senate 1974-1986, 10th district; Democrat) discusses his time in the House and Senate and the evolution of the legislature during his tenure in the General Assembly. Interview highlights Louie B. Nunn's successful passage of sales tax legislation, and the gubernatorial styles of Kentucky governors Nunn, Ford, Collins and Brown. Prather compares the pros and cons of strong legislatures and strong governors. Kentucky Legislature