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1988-07-06 Interview with John Swinford, July 6, 1988 Leg001:88OH136 Leg 04 01:22:37 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 (1959-1963 : Combs) Kentucky. Governor (1963-1967 : Breathitt) Kentucky. Governor (1974-1979 : Carroll) Kentucky. Governor (1967-1971 : Nunn) Kentucky. Governor (1971-1974 : Ford) Kentucky. Governor (1979-1983 : Brown) Kentucky. Governor (1983-1987 : Collins) Breathitt, Edward (Ned) Nunn, Louie B. Ford, Wendell Carroll, Julian Collins, Martha Layne Maloney, Richard (Dick) Combs, Bert T. Brown, John Y. Jr. interim committees coal severance tax sales tax legislation Rules Committee Waterfield, Harry Lee Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Legislative Audit Committee Fleming, Jim lobbyists Democratic caucus redistricting leadership Key Legislation: Term/District: House (1962), 56th district; (1963-1974), 62nd district Leadership Position(s): House Majority Floor Leader, 1972-1974 Counties in District: Scott County (Ky.) -- Harrison County (Ky.) John Swinford; interviewee David Breaux; interviewer 1988OH136_LEG0004_Swinford 1:|13(10)|23(5)|31(12)|40(11)|48(18)|59(7)|73(11)|82(10)|91(12)|100(10)|110(2)|128(4)|139(16)|158(8)|177(7)|187(20)|201(13)|213(15)|224(1)|231(12)|243(1)|254(9)|271(6)|282(2)|298(12)|316(11)|326(5)|337(1)|349(11)|361(8)|380(10)|389(17)|399(8)|409(1)|429(15)|441(9)|452(2)|463(5)|474(8)|486(6)|504(6)|515(9)|539(14)|550(12)|558(8)|568(14)|576(9)|588(4)|599(5)|619(3)|637(3)|651(2)|659(15)|689(3)|699(8)|709(9)|720(8)|731(6)|743(2)|753(1)|765(14)|785(14)|806(5)|819(13)|831(4)|844(6)|856(10)|876(1)|890(1)|901(2)|925(13)|935(5)|945(8)|962(3)|985(8)|1005(16)|1031(14)|1042(19)|1064(9)|1086(3)|1104(6)|1123(3) audiotrans Legit interview BREAUX: Okay, let me begin by thanking you for taking the time to be with us today to tell us about your experiences in the General Assembly. SWINFORD: Oh, I enjoy talking about it, really. BREAUX: Okay. Maybe a place to start is by asking you just for account of your legislative career, you know, when were you first elected, the years you served, maybe the leadership positions you held, things like that. SWINFORD: Well, I graduated from law school at the University of Michigan in 1959 and took the Bar Exam and started practicing law in Cynthiana, Kentucky, in September 1959. At that time the legislative district was composed of Harrison County and Scott County. We still had no more than two counties in any one district. At that time also there had been what has been referred to as a gentlemen's agreement on rotating the representative between the two counties. When the counties were put in the same district in the early '40s, the two gentlemen who were in the legislature from Scott and Harrison agreed between themselves that they would not run against each other and so they alternated each time having the representative from Scott or representative from Harrison. Later on, Bill Henry, who represented the district was from Scott County. He succeeded in persuading them they ought to be able to two terms. So, Bill had served in the legisl--, in the House, in '58 and '60 and so then by the rotation agreement it became Harrison County's turn for the 1962 session. So I ran in 1961 and was elected and served my first term in 1962. I served two terms at that time and during that second, my second term I was on the Rules Committee but I was also chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The interim committee system had not started. However, we did have some interim study committees and I served as chairman of an interim study committee on workers' compensation. Those were set up by the Legislative Research Commission and was composed of not only legislators but also various other people who were interested in workers' compensation, of cause we called it workman's compensation at that time, in an attempt to represent the industry and labor. So, I, I did-served in that capacity in, in between the two sessions. I did not run for reelection in 1965. I didn't say anything about the rotation agreement, I just merely honored it without any expression. And Bill Henry then ran for-he had some opposition but he ran and he served in '66 and '68. And in 1969, for the 1970 session, I ran again. I had been reelected without opposition in '63 and then I ran in '69 without opposition. And at that time Louie Nunn was governor and in 1970 I served in the, on the Rules Committee but it was in that period of time between my first session and my first two terms and the second two terms that the interim committee system really took hold. Julian Carroll was the Speaker of the House and of course, with Louie Nunn as governor, it was a perfect opportunity for the legislative leadership in the House and the Senate to assert themselves. So when I returned the interim committee system was, was in place. I can't remember what I did in the interim between the, in '70 to '72, but in '72 I was elected majority floor leader in the House and I served as majority floor leader in '72 and '74. The rotation agreement was still supposedly in effect but I bucked it and I ran for reelection and Bill Henry who had been in the House for six previous terms ran, ran against me but I was able to win primarily because of my leadership position and then Governor Ford supported me. As majority floor leader I served on the Legislative Research Commission. And then I did not run for reelection in, in '75 and I did run for the state Senate in '81 but was defeated by the incumbent senator, Ed Ford. So that's kind of a capsule of my legislative experience. In all, I've served ten years in the House for Representatives, four as majority floor leader and all eight of them I was on the Rules Committee which in the first two terms was not the same thing as it is now but it was nevertheless it was the, it was the committee through which all the bills had to come. Of course, the governor exercised very powerful control of the legislature in all of my terms in the, in the House except in 1970 when Governor Nunn was on his second term and it was just kind of a caretaker operation for the governor although the governor was seldom rebuffed for anything he really wanted. BREAUX: Okay. From reading, you know, some background it wasn't clear to me in 19 I guess it was 1964, whether you sought the majority leader position then or you were an assistant- SWINFORD: Well, here is what- BREAUX: floor leader. SWINFORD: what happened there. In 1962 Dick Moloney, old Dick, Mike Moloney's father, was the majority floor leader, Moloney had been for a long time. He was the majority floor leader in the Senate during the, well he started when in Governor Willis's second term and he served all through Willis and Clements and Wetherby and then he was out for a while and then he came back, and he was the person that, as far as I personally was concerned, there were about five of us who were young members of the legislature and had a lot of big ideas, and he inspired us with the idea of, of having some independent input and our objective was to set up an independent audit committee where the legislature would have some expertise on the way the money was spent and also some input and to understand the budget and the expenses and the revenue from someone we employed rather than just strictly from the governor's office. Well, Dick Moloney got sick during a special session when we were working on legislative redistricting and by the rules at that time he could appoint someone in his stead and he appointed me as acting majority floor leader. So I served as acting majority floor leader in a good part of the legisla--, the special session in 1963. You know, I can't re--, August or September, it was the fall of '63 because Dick died in December and prior to his death at the pre-legislative conference, which was held in the early part of December there was some movement. Harry King Lowman had been the Speaker of the House and he had been defeated and so there was some movement on part of some of us to elect a speaker and so I was one that was being considered for speaker and I actually to some extent had Dick Moloney's support although I don't think that we were, any of us were really trying to buck governor Breathitt. However, Governor Breathitt he-he get on Shelby McCallum and he was able to control the House and there was really no real active fight, there was a lot of stirring and moving around but when it came right down to it the governor picked the legislative leadership. But we did seek in the '64 session, through the State Government Committee, to establish a Legislative Audit Committee and we introduced some, some legislation to that effect. Harry Lee Waterfield who really kind of a father of the Legislative Research Commission, he got into it and he gave us support and so we were on the way to establishment of a Legislative Audit Committee where the legislature set up a-its own independent committee in which we would employ, uh, people with expertise on the budget. It got to be more of a personal duel between Waterfield and Breathitt and we did set up a Legislative Audit Committee but it was not really as, as powerful as we had hoped it would be. It was just kind of-to look over to what they- what, what the governor's various departments had done and we did have, we had, we set up the committee set up and we did meet and look them over. Now, at the same time, one of the things that the governor did to kind of undercut us to some expense-extent, there wasn't anything wrong with it, he just-alternative, he set up a, a Commission on Economy and Efficiency and I was appointed to that committee. And that was to look at some of the programs. Dr. Jim Martin was the executive director of that. Dr. Martin, of course, had been very active in Governor Chandler's, both of his commissions, administrations and he was a very able fellow. So, my quest for legislative leadership roll in 1964 really didn't get off the ground. When Dick Moloney died that was about the end of it as far as a practical matter. Now I really wanted to be majority floor leader after Dick died but I really didn't, really wasn't, the governor picked Dr. Denham from Maysville to be his majority floor leader and then John Y. Brown, Sr. was majority floor leader in '66. I wasn't in the House at that time. So, while there was a little rumblings around, they never really got any place. The governor was still, he could still control the legislature and you had to work through, through the governor and-I don't think Senator Moloney would have bucked the governor but he felt that through his influence he might've, he might've picked the speaker he wanted. Of course, it'd been easier to be a speaker with Dick as majority floor leader, all you had to do is yield to Dick Moloney and he could straighten you out because he knew all the rules and everything (laughs), anybody could be a speaker with him as majority floor leader. BREAUX: So, it sounds like the governor really dictated then especially, even under Governor Breathitt- SWINFORD: Oh, yes. BREAUX: on who was going to be his leader? SWINFORD: He, yeah, that's right. He, he picked, he literally picked the Legislative Research-the legislative leadership and while various members of the legislature tried to influence and did influence, to a certain extent, they were, they were his friends and people he picked, both in the House and the Senate. Now, he made a error, I think, he picked Cap Gardner as floor leader in the Senate and Cap had been a Chandler man but-and he really wasn't as loyal as he ought to have been to the, to the governor at that time and even when I served as majority floor leader in '72 and '74 we kind of pledged allegiance to the governor we would support the program which I, I- even though in spite of legislative independence I felt like that it was a party program and we, we were honor-bound to try to support the governor's program. It was a party program, it was our program to get the governor's programs through and, and I still feel that way. Now, if it comes to a matter of principle that you can't support, that's a different thing, you might have to resign if you cannot support it. But you get your, get your licks in when they're formulating the program, that's one thing of legislative leadership under that system. When put it all together you got really a good influence on the governor and whoever was putting the program together, his, his people. Now, I have been for Bert Combs, I was a Combs man in the, in the election so it was kind of unusual that I would get that shot but I had some friends who were influential with it and then and they felt like I could do the job. They were after, they were after, after that too, was an accomplishment proposition and then when I said I would support the program they believed that I would (laughs) do what I said I would do. BREAUX: This is in- SWINFORD: In Ford's administration- BREAUX: Ford administration. SWINFORD: in '72, yeah. But the governor was still picking the legislative leadership at that time in '72. And we were all picked by the governor, wasn't any, and when Julian got to be governor, they were all picked by Julian. He picked the whole crowd. Now, when Nunn was governor, of course the legislative-legislators picked their own leaders in, for the majority party for the, for the House and the Senate, the, the Democrats. And Julian was, of course, was elected on his own, he, he was, he managed it. In fact, Shelby McCallum was, I think was, was a candidate to succeed himself but Julian-he, he took the job, he got, and he was a good speaker. BREAUX: Okay. I liked to, I guess, ask you a little bit more about 1974. SWINFORD: Okay. BREAUX: Sticking with the leadership-what surprised me, I guess, about that year was that came after you had been out of the legislature for a number of years- SWINFORD: Four years. I was out four years, two sessions. Uh-huh. BREAUX: Now were you considered to be Governor Ford's candidate for that position? SWINFORD: I was, I was Governor Ford's candidate for that position when I came. When Governor Ford took office in December of '71 and the way they did it at that time, they would get together (laughs), you know, whoever his, whoever his confidants were and they decided who, who was gonna be-who they were gonna pick for to be speaker, to be floor leader, and whatever else we had. That was just, they just got together and decided. And I remember very well Governor Ford called me because I, I wanted to be because I, I really wanted to be floor leader but I was-but I-had Combs won I was expecting to be in the leadership-speaker, floor leader, something, I was fully expected to be and I think I would've been. But when Ford won I just, I didn't have any claim on it, it was some of his people but Ford called me and said (laughs), he actually said, "Well now, do you want to be?" I said, "Oh, I do." And, and I thought later, I said, well, it's a good thing he's the kind of man he turned out to be because I jumped at the, jumped out a little too quick, I think now. But anyway, he said, "Well now, will you be the governor's man? Will you support us?" I said, "Yes, I, I'll do it. Yeah." BREAUX: So, was this some type of comprise then, a slate of candidates- SWINFORD: No, he-they just put, they just put it together, they just put it together. Jim Fleming had, he had confidence in me. He had been there in the '60s, early '60s and he was close with Dick Moloney and I got to and I worked with Jim Fleming back there at that time and Jim Fleming was still the director of the Legislative Research Commission and he was one of the architects of Ford's campaign and I believe he was, as much as anybody else, was responsible for it. Bill Wester who had been in the lieutenant governor's office and he was close with ___________??-we were not, not thick but close and I, I had no part in the, in the selection. They decided that who was gonna be, of course, Norbert Blume was picked to be speaker but I really wanted to be floor leader more than I did want to be speaker. I-the floor leaders-I liked the rough and tumble of it, I like the floor debate and that kind of thing more than the administrative part of the, of being speaker, who's gonna be the doorkeepers and all like that, I didn't want-I don't- that kind of thing but as far as the handling of the legislation on the floor and I had liked that when I was, had been in there before because you can always reach down in those bills and find something about them that nobody can answer (both laugh). So, I really, that was the job I wanted. If I had been allowed to pick what job do you want, I want to be House majority floor leader over (laughs) anything. And now then so I went over there and I met with them. We had, they hadn't filled them all. They hadn't decided who was gonna be all of them but by the time I got back I went-first-when I, when I was first, they just had a speaker, a floor leader, and a majority whip. That was all they had, they had the minority floor leader and the minority whip. But by that time they had a speaker pro tem and I can't remember else, seem like we had some other leadership positions but I did, I did have a-I was present when Billy Paxton was selected as speaker pro tem. And I can't remember if I was pres--, I think I was pres--, I think the only that we just picked the speaker and the floor leader and I really didn't have-well, it was, I could've vetoed it, I'd say that because they were trying to do it right away so they'd have a, a team that could work together but Paxton had been a friend of my anyway and that suited me fine. And "Bill" Reynolds was the majority whip and so I had a-I was present and had the okay of it but those positions, they were just strictly picked and the governor, and the governor and his people just decided who they were gonna be and said that's who it's gonna be. Now, Terry McBrayer who was close with Julian, he had been majority floor leader in '70. I can't remember whether it was '68 or not, I can't remember. Anyway, he, he expressed no desire to be majority floor leader that I know of but he-he was made a shot at being speaker. He was trying to be elected speaker but, of course, nobody could take on the governor even with Julian in the, in the lieutenant governor's office. When I ran in 1969 I, I can't remember who had been, John Y., Sr., I guess, I guess he was-I can't remember who was, who was majority floor leader in '68 in the House, I wasn't in it. But anyway I, I announced that I wanted to be majority floor leader even though I hadn't been in the House for two terms. Well, I didn't have a chance, I didn't really-I tested the waters and it wasn't there. Terry had been in there for, for those terms and so-and Julian was for him, Julian picked him and they gave me like on put me on the Rules Committee and things like that. Cause, Julian and I had been pretty close when we were there together. Julian and, and Dick Frymire and Jim Whitlock and Sonny Hunt, we all came to the House together in '62 but the governor just picked us, that's all there was to it (laughs). BREAUX: So even after the Nunn administration in which there seem to be a lot of effort on the part of the legislators to gain an independence from the governor's office, when Ford recaptured the governor's office for the Democratic Party, the Democratic legislators more or less allowed the governor to gain power back? SWINFORD: Went back to the old way-went back to the old way. Now, Breathitt hadn't been as effective as-Breathitt was, you know, his record was excellent but the legislators bucked him a time or two just, just to kind of flexing their muscles and, and while Shelby McCallum was pretty good fellow, he wasn't a, he wasn't a powerful speaker. When I was in in '64 we took him out of the chair every once in a while and eventually win, we'd win the battle but we'd lose the war. Several legislative battles in, like on that Audit Committee we won several battles but we lost the war because the governor finally prevailed. The governor got so many tools that he can use and, and so many ways to persuade legis---the members of the House and then, then most of them come up, they really want to, want to support the governor and so you really, at that time you couldn't do anything with the governor if he made his mind up he wanted to do it and would, would decide really that this was, this is what we're gonna do and so, there really wasn't any serious opposition to, to selection of the leadership. But the interim committee system was in place, it was in place. And then, I can't remember exactly but in '72 I think we took the lieutenant governor off of the Legislative Research Commission and then the Speaker of the House and the Speaker pro tem of the Senate became the, became the chairmen of the term(??) or they alternated in some way- chairmen of the Legislative Research Commission. BREAUX: Do you remember who was lieutenant governor then? SWINFORD: Yes, that's when, that was when Julian was lieutenant governor. BREAUX: Did he want to remain on the LRC? SWINFORD: Well, he kind of-this was, this was-he was preparing, I think, the way because he didn't have any, he didn't have any problem with it. I came, I think it was set up after, maybe after he went off, I'm not really sure about that. But I believe it was during his, his, it was with his, with his complicity. He didn't, he didn't fight it. But he was a real man of the House, he was a, he put all this together. I used to kid him about it because in first-in '62 and '64 he would usually when it came right down to it, he supported the governor. When we had those battles over taking the speaker out of the chair and going (laughs) through all those antics and, and he had supported the governor. And I used to tell him, I said, "Julian, it wouldn't have been as near as hard to gain this legislative independency if you hadn't been against us back there in '64," (laughs) when he was. But he, he really did a good-Julian was very, very able as a speaker and as the- and I think, yeah, that's the way that was-that's the way that was. No, Julian-when, I can't-I'm not sure about it but I think the thing had already been done when Julian was speaker, I think that had been set up that, that the Legislative Research Commission would then become chair, be chaired, by the Speaker pro tem in the, of the Senate and, I mean the President pro tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. I believe that was, I think that was already in place when Julian was speaker of the House. BREAUX: Brings up sort of an interesting point, I think. In terms of legislative reform, do you think the General Assembly would be where it is today, would it have undergone all the reforms that has particularly like in 1968 with the establishment of the interim committee system and the like, would that have taken place without the election of a Republican governor or was that- SWINFORD: No, I- BREAUX: the primary motivation? SWINFORD: no, I think, I think the thing that really changed and that all that was inbet--, when I say even put the election they-that was started when with the election of Nunn but Ford and, and Carroll took it back over. It was still they-it was-had these things but they took it over. It was John Y. Brown's management of it, the way he handled it, he turned it over to them, he didn't, he just let the legislators go (unintelligible). BREAUX: So, it wasn't so much- SWINFORD: It wasn't so much Nunn as it was Brown. I think Brown is really responsible for the legislative independence that they've attained. BREAUX: In terms of maybe taking a hands-off approach? SWINFORD: Took a hands-off approach, select your own leaders and the legislators are going to do their thing and the governor do his. But say both Governor Ford and Governor Carroll they exercised just as tight control as any governor in the past, maybe not, they used to tell me stories about when Clements was governor that he came right up on the floor of the House and just handed the bills to John Watts who was later in Congress. He was floor leader in about '48 and I think that from what the stories are telling me Clements himself came right up to the floor and he just really said, "take that and that next" and threw them and glared them down anybody who bucked him, he'd, he'd eyeball them (laughs). So, it didn't, but they didn't have to do it. There were, there were times when they bucked the governor when what the so-called mountain amendment in 1974 when we passed the severance tax, took the sales tax off of food and passed the severance tax, several of the House members from Eastern Kentucky and they offered an amendment to the budget bill which would provide that half of the money collected from the sales, from the severance tax, over and above the projections would be used to fund certain projects, would be returned to the counties from whence it came. Well, they got that amendment on later, the governor took it off and he, he hand--, he gave them something anyway, that's when he set up a system to provide some of the severance tax money to the counties from whence it came. But that was just a legislative faux pas kind of that let them get away. Hoover Dawahare at the time was from Letcher County and we had told him that we were not gonna call for the previous question on the budget so they could amend it. I never did believe in the previous question really. So, against, without telling me without doing it(??) the, the natives thought they knew better than the leadership, so anyway they were gonna offer this amendment. Well, we, you know, it was just-I just thought they ought to have a chance to have their, ought to have a chance to have their side heard, I mean I thought I had the votes, I didn't, I didn't worry but then if I hadn't thought I had the votes and the governor behind me I was probably been for the previous question. But anyway several got together and said, "We, we," they didn't want to vote on it, that's what it was, they didn't want to vote against it, they'd had friends and all they wanted to call the previous question so they wouldn't have to vote on this amendment to send this severance tax money back. But I had told them that I wasn't gonna call the previous question. So they came and I said, "well, I'm not, no, I'm"-I already told them, I'm not gonna move the previous question and I- and I'm gonna move it. And I think now it was a mistake but anyway, I had already said I was gonna do it. I wasn't gonna do it so I didn't. Well, then there's somebody else they called for the previous question and Norb Blume was speaker and he had been in on the-did the call for the previous question. Well, Hoover Dawahare, he just raised hell about it because we had-not only me but others had told him, well, he just really just threw a fit there and Norb he called-as an old Teamster run, used to run the Team--, he was a (laughs) in the Teamster's Union, he didn't put up with that kind of carrying on in Teamsters thing at least that's what I told him. I said, "You just, you forgot where you were, you thought you were at a Teamsters' meeting." So, he called the sergeant-at-arms to put him out, just physically remove him from the floor. Well, of course, that just turned everybody off. And so they-when I didn't-and then they voted the previous question down because I didn't vote, I didn't vote for it, I didn't-cause I said I wasn't gonna do it and didn't do it. And so that just, and they got that amendment-oh, well, a couple of days later we took it off and everything, the governor. But except for a rare occasion like that where it just kind of got out of hand, the governor Ford and Carroll they got everything. I'm told in, in Julian's second term, second session that they beat him on some things just kind of for the heck of it. It just, he was rising too, too heavy a hand and so some of his legis--, but, but I think it was Br--, in my opinion, Brown is the man who, as from the governor stand, that allowed the legislature to assert itself and become what-to attain the degree the independence that it now has. I think- BREAUX: (unintelligible) SWINFORD: and Collins. BREAUX: just the objection to having a Republican in the governor's office? SWINFORD: No, that-no, it was, it was just-well, of course, I say again (unintelligible), but Nunn really never was turned down in anything of real importance. He got everything he really went after. BREAUX: Now, the amendment you're speaking about was that related to the sales tax, that- SWINFORD: The severance tax on the coal. Coal severance tax. See, we had taken in '72-there was, it was a skillful political move because it-Democrats had, had of course, in the Combs adminis-- put the sales tax on and then when they had a shortfall, it doesn't sound like much now, was 23 million dollars I believe when Nunn took office. And so Nunn raised the sales tax to a nickel. Well, Tom Emberton as a Republican candidate after, after Combs beat-after Ford beat Combs, and of course, they ran a little bit against Combs, the Ford people about that he was, well, the guy to put the sales tax on, "Bert taxes Combs." And so Emberton he, he was gonna take the sales tax off of food but Ford just grabbed the initiative on it and just took it right away from him and nobody ever really saw it how it happened. He just, that he was go-that the, and really the Republicans had, had started that talk but he just grabbed hold of that as one of his programs and just took it and ran with it. Well, then when he got to be governor in order to replace that revenue lost by reducing the sales tax, put the severance tax on the severance tax on coal in '72. Had a net increase in income, a net increase in money. And then in '74 was when the people from Eastern Kentucky wanted to put that-to get part of it. I said they didn't-all they asked for was one half of the revenue generated by the severance tax which exceeded the budgetary estimates. Well, in the early '70s the coal business was just booming, it was just booming and-and the revenue-and the sales- and the severance tax estimates really just far exceeded what, I mean the, the tax collected far exceeded the estimates. And so but Ford set up a, a commission and all to how to handle that money and to do give it back and which he had already, he had that in mind anyway but he was very skillful, he, he called them in, explained it to them, made everybody feel good and, of course, when he then ran, ran for the Senate in '74 he was, he hit the ground running and they never, you know, nobody could even-even as good a fellow as Marlow Cook is, he couldn't, he couldn't handle him even with Nixon as president and everything else. Of course, Watergate hadn't hit full, full in at that time- let's see, when did, when-when did he resign? I can't-well, I guess it had because- did Nixon resign in '74? I guess he did. Anyway, but Ford he, he just, he is just a tremendous politician anyway and, and the party was pretty strong in the state and they elected Huddleston over against the Nixon landslide, against Nunn (sighs). So, Ford was just, he was, he's pow-- as he is today, he's still powerful. He is still the most powerful politician in the state. BREAUX: Let's talk a little bit more, I guess, about Wendell Ford since- SWINFORD: Okay. BREAUX: that's the kind of where we're headed anyway. How would characterize his relationship with the legislature in terms of-you know, working relationship- SWINFORD: Oh, yeah. BREAUX: taking the bills he wanted- SWINFORD: He had a, he had a tremendous working relationship with the first- with the legislature. First of all he had been in the Senate. He was elected and served one term in the Senate and then he was lieutenant governor under Nunn and he took the approach that he was gonna-he, he maintained independence but he just didn't take on Louie Nunn. He, he didn't make him a prisoner. He didn't say that he was gonna call a special session or do a lot of things when Nunn went out of the state but he, the troops just rallied around him and he was able to beat Combs who was, who was really, had been, I think, maybe one of the best governors, maybe the best governor. But Ford by the time he got to be governor he had actually served with the members of the Senate for six years. He'd been in the Senate for two years and he'd been-of the-the president of the Senate by virtue of his office as lieutenant governor for two terms and so he had a one- on-one relationship with the members of the Senate, for the most part he really didn't have any-there was no Democrat in the Senate who was, who even would think about trying to take him on and then when Julian Carroll got to be the lieutenant governor he was the presiding officer of the Senate but they were all Ford people. Julian might have had some in there but he didn't, he couldn't, he couldn't generate any opposition to Ford's program and then he had Dee Huddleston who had been a Ford man all the way, was the majority leader and Billy Sullivan was speaker-was president pro tem of the Senate and all the leadership except Julian were just strictly, dyed-in-the-wool Ford people. And Ford has a, has ability to tie people to him. He, he just-he's-first of all, he's thoroughly dependable, you can trust him. He, he won't tell you a lie. And so you can go to bat and you know he's gonna deliver and (laughs) he'll stay with you until the hide(??) comes off. And so in the House more, most of them had been, if, if there were in-Combs had a lot of support in the House because Combs and Julian Carroll ran and Julian had a lot of his friends in the House, me for one, and several, he had a lot of support in the House so the Senate was Ford but the House in the election had been pretty much Combs and Carroll because of Julian. But when they got into the, into the election and the legislators knowing the power of the governor and that's, that the lieutenant governor might be his only strength was because he might be governor some time but then Julian didn't try to put them up to do anything they shouldn't have done. So, he just kind of captured that too and occasionally would look like Julian would want to do something there but even people like me who had really been identified with him before, we were already married to Ford and he just captured that too because with the with the way he handled things. He told them straight and delivered when he said he was doing it. And you knew where he was coming from and he played politics where it needed to be played and he knew he, he-because at that time we had the redistricting bill too and everybody was sensitive about their, about their district and he frankly said, we're gonna play politics with that a little bit, we're gonna hold that back, we're not gonna, we're not gonna read, we're gonna hold that till the end of the session, let them kind of worry about it. And I had agreed that I would not introduce anything except-no personal legislation. I was, there wasn't anything I was for. If, if there was something I was interested in personally-I'd, somebody else would introduce it. But anything that had my name on it, that was an administration bill and anything that I spoke for it was, I was speaking for the governor. And-and if I had something personal I would tell them right up, now this is me, this is not the governor. Any time that I-and so I could-they just followed the lead and anything that I had any personal interest in of, of relatively minor nature, somebody else would handle it or if I spoke for it I would, I would make it perfectly clear that this was, was not the governor's bill but anything else that was the- and of course, they wanted to support him and he had a good program. In the first session we didn't have anything that really too much politics in. I don't really know this but we increased the size of the Public Service Commission, I thought maybe they over- they must've over promised it, I don't know that (laughs). They'd promised more people jobs on the Public Service Commission than they had (laughs) to give away so we increased it from three to five. But I hadn't been in on any of that having been on the Combs side in the campaign but Ford kept a, he kept a running account of his promises and if somebody came to me and asked (unintelligible)-well a fellow with the name of Don Johnson was-not Don, wasn't Don Johnson-Ron Johnson. Ron, he had a list of all the roads and everything they'd promised during the campaign. Somebody said, "Well, Ford promised that to me." If it went through me, I'd, "well, I'll check on it and see." Well, "Ron, what road was that or what project was that" and yeah, he committed to that when he spoke in Beattyville or where ever it was (laughs) and so, we'll say(??), "Well, if we promise we're gonna do it, we, we try to keep-we kept up with him during the campaign, we didn't promise any more we can actually do." And so he delivered and got a guy like that. There's a little Republican movement but even the Republicans, most of them from the deep part of Eastern Kentucky they were sent up there to do what the governor wanted anyway so they get their road or their bridge or whatever it is, you take somebody like Earl Carter from Monroe County where the Carters faction of the Democrat, of the Republican Party controlled it but they didn't-they, they were independent, they wanted to work with the administration to get what they wanted. That, well, they may have perpetuated themselves in power by their ability to work with the Democratic administration so we always had a bunch of Republicans that would vote if we needed them. BREAUX: And yet often the Republican vote wasn't needed? SWINFORD: No, we-seldom, seldom it was need. I don't know when we did need it, really. BREAUX: In terms of formulating policies was Governor Ford pretty open and receptive to at least leaderships suggestions? SWINFORD: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. He was very receptive to leadership suggestions and I think receptive to anyone who had a positive approach to it. He was accessible. You could get to him even the lowliest member of the House from a Republic--, remote Republican district, could get to him, get to him through me if anything else because I, I felt like I had good rapport with the, with all the members of the House and there are a few like anything else that kind of rubbed me the wrong way because I thought they just did some things just for the heck of it or maybe for some things that weren't the most honorable reasons but as far as anybody had a sincere desire to do something in his district or for the state, you could get to the governor because I, I thought I could tell a sincere program from an insincere program or something that had too much politics in it or maybe some opportunity for dishonesty or graft or something like that, you, you know, you hear about those things all the time. I never did really know because I never had anyone ever approach me or anything on it and-but Ford was very perceptive to it and he had good, good relations with all of the members of the House and the Senate and just to say just a few problem areas as far as he was concerned. He said when he, when he ran for the Senate he just- BREAUX: Okay. I'm gonna have to stop us for a minute- SWINFORD: Very well. BREAUX: just to change sides on the tape. [End of Tape 1, Side 1] [Begin of Tape 1, Side 2] BREAUX: Okay. Let's keep talking, I guess, about your role as majority leader. Are there any type of techniques, and I don't necessarily mean, you know, strong-arm type of techniques, but are there any type of techniques that you could talk about as having to employ to maybe convince- SWINFORD: Well- BREAUX: legislators to support the governor's bill? SWINFORD: without bragging about on myself I felt that the most important thing that any legislative leader has to have is the confidence of, of his people. And like I was talking about when we said we weren't gonna-I, when I agreed-well, "we will not call for the previous question," I didn't do it. I mean I-I think you had to have-and I think it always-and Ford was that way too. If he told them something that was it. And also tell them if it is coming. I used to try if the-when we had all this myriad of bills, I don't know if they do it now, but we ran all these, all this legislation by all these different department heads and everything to see if there were any kinks in them, anything wrong with them and I would tell them, I said, "Now, these, the bills we're gonna vote on tomorrow or Monday or whatever it is, these are just departmental legis--, departmental bills and they don't have much in them-but now, but these bills are really-we want to pass them but these have something in them, these are-be thinking about." But many times you had to employ some pretty tough techniques and, of course, the techniques that the governor could employ and which he did employ was the fact of what he could do principally with various projects. And-now, I, I personally, since I had been for Combs and never did feel like that I personally could call on the governor to do anything for me. But he did help when I asked him, I didn't, I didn't, you know, was no, no, quid pro quo. He would deliver. But sometimes various techniques had to be employed to, to kind of get some of them in line but we didn't have to do it very often. But like on that amendment to that, that bill-just kind of let it known that these things are not gonna be forgotten, if you're loyal to the governor that won't be forgotten but if you're not loyal to the governor that won't be forgotten either and there be another day when you'll have to come over here and many times there are people in the district that the governor had a lot of influence with and they would call those kind of people. You call somebody and, say, in Christian County, that would be a right powerful local leader who was wanting to be, wanting to be favored by the governor and call that individual and he'd call that representative or call that senator and talked him out of it. Was-the most usually employed technique was through somebody else. The governor had a friend or had somebody in the district that was influential or friendly or something like that he would-that, I remember one, one time when I was in the House in 1964 had what I thought was a terrible piece of legislation. It's hard to believe now but we didn't have a minimum wage bill in Kentucky worth a darn and so the restaurant and hotel people they got together and they were gonna have a regulation-legislation passed that would allow- anybody, restaurants and hotels and all to, rather than pay the minimum wage the waitresses, they could charge them with their tips. At that time it was like seventy-five cents an hour in some places, that they didn't have to pay seventy-five cents an hour if they could show they got tips. Well, it was just a terrible piece of legislation but with a lot of whatever they do, they got it going and-try, I was, I really (laughs), I thought it was just awful but in fact, I called my law partner, for instance, who was-a lot older than I and he'd just done everything for me. And, of course, he just told them, he said well look-I'd be ashamed of you if you vote for an awful piece of legislation like that. But they, it worked a lot of places and they-and it was passed. The governor, he backed out on it too because-Breathitt vetoed it but I know I went up on the floor to fight that thing and the labor unions and they were fighting it but they had just lined up people with different commitments and promises and I don't know what all. You wouldn't think a piece of legislation like that get any place but they accused Jay Graham Brown of organizing the Brown Hotel and all. And they had employed some lobbyists that worked them and picked up commitments kind of unsuspecting. It's, it's insidious what happens to people in government. They never see it coming. They're already been had and they never know it and so, a lot of that happens. They give them trips and all, it sounds innocent enough and before you know it you-you've already compromised yourself and you don't realize it. Now, I was fortunate in that my father had been in, in the legislature and, of course, he'd been in public life and I was forewarned about, just be careful what you don't have (laughs)-you know, don't let anybody, as he said, "don't let anybody give you anything, I mean nothing, don't let them give you anything." But they just make it sound like, "well, we just" I know one of the-one of the-gas companies, they, they called us, "We, we want you to come over, we're gonna take everybody to the Indianapolis 500, come over to the Executive Inn and spent the night and we'll have dinner and then we'll drive up there, we'll have a bus and go and it won't cost anybody anything and"-innocent sounding enough and, but before you know it you get into that and, and you never, you never saw it coming. So, they pick up a lot of things like that. Now, Julian he was funny, I thought he was funny (laughs). He-when he was the speaker and Nunn was governor he, he would tell us, "Now," he said, he got in there and said, "Now, you got to watch, watch these Republicans and this Governor Nunn," he said, "they'll have the women here too, on you, (laughs)-women, women, take them to motels and hotels." And they may have, I don't know, but I know he warned us about it. Of course, I lived close enough, I went home about every night anyway, so, I don't really know what went on. But I suspect there's all kinds of things that go on that way. BREAUX: So, it, it sounds like sometimes the governor or the governor's people and maybe in terms of aides and stuff, would have also an impact in trying- SWINFORD: Right. BREAUX: to convince legislators to go along with certain- SWINFORD: Certainly. BREAUX: policies. SWINFORD: Certainly. BREAUX: As well as the leadership? SWINFORD: Through prom---yeah, they would and when-and when we, when- if it came to that they would, the aides of the governor would, they would use their influence too and I don't think it was ever anything really that's promise them a, a job for a vote type of thing but you knew where you, your friends were and when Louie Nunn passed the five percent sales tax in '68 it was, that-it was done kind of like that, that they put a junior community college in Madisonville in return for that, that representative's vote. And different things like that, that was just-that's the way it had been done in the past. I'd-they tell me that just about every one of the state univer--, state universities was located there that way. Why would they pick Morehead instead of some place else? BREAUX: Right. SWINFORD: Murray instead of some place else? Now, Bowling Green and-but Eastern, why, within a short distance of Lexington that's not a very logical place for a state uni--, state college but you could make a better case like for Northern Kentucky University but there's-that, that's the way most of them are done to get something for the community and they got a lot of things they can do. Well, they built an Armory, for instance, a National Guard Armory in, in my town. And it happened that they were gonna build three, built one in Cynthiana where I was, my hometown, and one in Prestonsburg which is "Bill" Reynolds' hometown, he was majority whip, and one in Muhlenberg County where Billy Paxton was. That's the story I heard (laughs). BREAUX: Now, this is when? This is- SWINFORD: When Ford was governor but Dick Frymire was, was adjutant general and a good friend of ours and so, you know, you just, you had to put them some place, I just, I remember Dick call "I'm gonna do something for you." Well, I'd been doing things for him in the House, I-I had-nothing wrong with it, but he wanted, for instance, to get an exemption in, from-from I can't-I think it must've been state income, an exemption on state income tax for National Guard pay. Well, that suited the administration and all but it wasn't really an administration bill but, but Dick's-that sounds logical, that won't help the recruitment. So, it was kind of a thank-you for your help in the House when you did that for me and I did it without any-I did it because he, he made what I thought was a pretty good case for it. And so, without any talk about I didn't know that armories could be had, I didn't know there was such a thing when I supported his, his pet for his department, for, for the adjutant general. So, those things happen, you know, that some time and-and that's what I say is insidious about where some other things outside the government they get themselves endeared to you and if you've been, spend the weekend in the Bahamas with somebody, come back, the next piece of legislation like kind of like Larry Hopkins. I don't know he, I don't know what he did there and two thousand dollars going to breakfast but they voted on that legislation the same day, I don't know, just ate with you this morning, Larry, and here's your check for two thousand-got this little bill come out this afternoon, doesn't amount to much for anybody. And (both laugh) I think he'd be outraged- BREAUX: Right. SWINFORD: but they take it for granted. Reagan has gotten people in such a frame of mind they think, it's alright to do that. BREAUX: What about the Democratic caucus? Was that-do you remember that as being a pretty effective- SWINFORD: Yes, it was. BREAUX: device for- SWINFORD: Yes, sir. BREAUX: you know, coordinating techniques and- SWINFORD: Yes, sir. BREAUX: getting feedback? SWINFORD: Very effective. I can give you some illustration. When the redistricting, the legislative-the, the state legislative redistricting was done in '63 Dick Moloney just did it through the Democratic caucus. He just ignored the Republicans and was just gonna, just gonna set this up to suit enough so he could pass it. And he picked off three or four Republicans who were gonna just be left alone, people like-well Monroe County, one Metcalfe and Monroe, he said, "there we'll just pick that up, that is ours, there's a Republican who voted for to save his district against"-he doesn't care how many Republicans-because he's a Carter faction and that's all he needed to worry about. He didn't care what the, the Republican minority leader in the House said as long as Jim Carter said it's alright. So, he just did it right through the caucus, the Democratic caucus, and just lined up a majority, some of them were it had to be unfavorable to them that was one illustration. And in '64 when we had the public accommodations legislation-the Democrats who didn't want to vote on it, that was to open up the-for the minorities, the blacks-now, they didn't want to vote on, they tried to get to bind us in caucus. Well, I walked out. I, well, you know, that, that's the way you do it if you don't want-you're not supposed to participate and if you, if you're not gonna bind yourself and so, I, I left the caucus because I was gonna vote for the public accommodations. I wasn't gonna, I wasn't gonna-vote-but that, but that was a good shield behind which many of them could hide. So, I, I'm really for it (unintelligible) I was bound by the Democratic caucus. And then-but the caucus can be used effectively and I don't know how much they use it now-apparently they use it pretty good. I think "Eck" Rose in the Senate is apparently pretty effective in using, in lining up, and in mobilizing the Democrats because he seems to get whatever he wants even against the governor. So, it was a, it, it can be it can be used effectively if the right skillful person- Julian could use it, he knew how to use it, Julian Carroll. Now, Julian thought about redistricting when we redistricted in 1970, in the special session of '71 Julian was gov--, was lieutenant-was speaker and was running for lieutenant governor, he just passed one just politically, just (unintelligible)-it was-I knew it wouldn't fly because it was just wasn't-but it, it was good enough to go over that hurdle and then come back in '72 where we had to fix it up right, so, a skillful person can do it. I think, of course, I think the right person, the right governor could gain control of the legislature now, I don't think it, they might not do it now right in one session but with what they got to do it with. Now, some tell me one reason that Wilkinson can't do it is he hadn't got the money to do it with. And that is money for projects. They don't have enough in the road fund. The current makeup of the General Assembly I'm told is for the sixty percent of them that's the primary source of income and they want to stay where-we've gotten away from a citizen legislature. When I was, when I first went we were paid by the day, we went home and that was it. We didn't, we didn't have much and we went back for these special committee meetings and-but dollars and cents it was, it was expensive for someone like me, not real expensive because there wasn't, I wasn't losing much because I wasn't making that much but, but I enjoyed it and I didn't care. I mean I, I would've done it for nothing if I could've and that, that was not a-that was not a factor at all and it wasn't much of a factor-they started paying them in the interim thing to give them expense accounts and when I was in the __________(??), I think we were getting 400 dollars a month when we weren't in session. But I don't know what they get now, they get a whole lot of money now. And so, but the governor with-and, and so they want to stay in and they want to please their constituents and the, the more the, the voters are more, more attuned to what roads you've gotten built and things like that than they are in how, how a person votes. And if they vote with the governor and get the road, just like in our town, we, we got-we need, we need road improvements, we need a lot of things and that's what the people want their representatives to do, is bring home projects, bring home a vocational school or something like that. And or get that quagmire road get-help them bringing an industry in. And how do you get industries? Well one way you get industry that the State Department of Commerce really goes to bat for you and this, then the Transportation Cabinet builds a industrial road access and then, you know, they can put them a lot of times they can put these things different places, they can really-so, all they have to do is crack the whip. So now, you like it in the legislature and you want this Highway 62 built and say, "yes, I would like that built." Well, if you want it built we can build it but you are gonna have to go along. Well, they go along. The way to get along is to go along. So, I think if the, now, I'd say, I don't know but since the, the revenue is not there. But back in the '70s when Julian Carroll was governor, he, there was plenty of money. They didn't use it as well as-although Julian, I think, he did, he put a lot of money in elementary and secondary education and you taking Lexington, that's a, that's a, the university-the governor support the university. You, you can't if you're gonna run for the House, for the Senate in Lexington and the way to get, the way to please your constituents is to support the University of Kentucky and if you want the governor said, now you want the university-Wallace Wilkinson said, "yeah, you want the university supported, well, I'm expecting you to deliver not only when we're talking about the university but when we're talking anything else, the lottery bill or anything else and just put that, put ___________(??) down if you want to do it and we can do it" and pick them off that way. Western, and Bowling Green, you want money for Western University we had, we can put it there, we can put it some place else. And so there's all kinds, just all kinds of things like that. They loca--- they can move the, move the district office of the reclamation division out of Hazard and put it in Whitesburg if they want to and all kind of things. The district office of the Highway Engineers-there are all kinds of things like that and just so many things that they can do if they take them-make up their minds to do it. But see, it takes money to do it with. BREAUX: Right. What about the Rules Committee I know that underwent some revision- SWINFORD: You know, that's-I- BREAUX: around '68- SWINFORD: Yeah. In '68 the Rules Committee really, Julian made it really an effective thing although it had always been effective. BREAUX: You think it's still pretty effective? SWINFORD: I think so but I really, I'm not, I'm not prepared to even talk about how they do it now. See, they've-it seems like this last session that the Speaker of the House and the, and "Eck" Rose, the, the president pro tem of the Senate, have been able to control the floor legislation pretty good and that's the easiest place to do it. What the-what the-the leadership is, is not only the elected leaders but also the chairmen of the committees and they all are supposed to kind of stick with the, with the leadership, the chairmen of the committees and then by being able to control how the bills are called up-not legislators they, they-while they need roads and all, they might have some pet bill, they might've run on it. I, when I ran the first time they, they just put in a new egg law. The farmers had to have their eggs inspected (Breaux laughs), they couldn't sell them right straight to a city dweller and so there's (laughs) an old man down in Stamping Ground, he wanted to get rid of the egg law. I committed myself to try to do something about the egg law. Well, there's little things like that you want, you want to get done, you've, you made your commitment whether it's for the right reasons or the wrong reason. So the Rules Committee at that time, that's where they'd kill them, that's where you get-the bill would sail right along through the committee system and be read twice on the floor and be right and ready to-but the Rules Committee that, that's where you stop or start it. BREAUX: Now we're talking about-this is back- SWINFORD: Back then- BREAUX: in '62, '64- SWINFORD: '62 and 6-'72 and '74. BREAUX: Had it changed much over that period? SWINFORD: Not, not really. Not really. The interim committee system had been in place but the interim committee system, they talked and did a lot of things but when it got as far as the regular session, didn't amount to anything. Now, I don't know about it now but to me the interim committee system is not gonna work very well until the members of the legislature vote on it on how they feel about it. What they did when I was there in the interim committees, they just passed everything on account, on personality. David Breaux, a friend of mine, he wants me to vote for-I know it's a worthless piece of legislation but I'm not gonna offend him on his interim committee and so I'm gonna vote to vote it out favorably and then let, let John Swinford, the majority leader, he'll take care of it (Breaux laughs) when it gets out there on the floor. That's what, that's what I used to do. I, I always felt like I was tougher than the, than the majority leader of the Senate because they'd pass a lot of worthless legislation-asked me to kill it. And so I had the, the senators would come there and wanted to get some- they'd have a pet project and they just zip it right through the, the Senate. I remember they had a, wanted to put up a veterinary school at Murray State University. Pat McCuiston was the senator from down there and they're gonna put-so it, it passed right through the Senate, oh yeah, just went, zipped right through. They didn't want to hurt Pat's feelings, Pat is a good guy and so and so is a good guy, so we're gonna, we're gonna vote to put a bill to start a school of veterinary medicine, we need one, all of our kids have to go to Auburn or Ohio State or wherever, we need a veterinary school of veterinary medicine in Kentucky. So they had a bill to pass we're gonna open-do that at Murray State University. Well, it came at my place to stop it and that's where I stopped it and a real school-there's not, no, there's not gonna be a school of veterinary medicine at Murray. And so, I, you know, had enough votes to do it-the members knew it wasn't wise because there wasn't any money for it and if there was a veterinary school of veterinary medicine in the state of Kentucky it ought to be right here in Lexington at the University of Kentucky. That, you know, it didn't make any sense to have it any place else but so, those kind of things cause-but the Rules Committee was an easy place to stop it, you know, you, you let it go on and it wouldn't have to worry about the Agriculture Committee or whatever it was it might getting referred to. I'd be, but if it was subject to much pressure, just put it in there in the Rules Committee and we would give its death notice. And I think they still, they still can use the Rules Committee effectively now. BREAUX: Okay. You brought up the interim committee system a few moments ago. That seems to be one of the earlier efforts at trying to establish some type of independence from the governor's office. Yet, it sounded to me like you were saying that you don't think it's-has been, at least, very effective. SWINFORD: I don't think it has been for the reason I say that it hasn't been used as a place to really weed out and improve legislation because the legislation gets are pre- filed bills, personal-type pre-filed bills. The governor taking office, Wilkinson taking office when he did in December, he didn't have a chance to put in any of the administration legislation in the interim committee system. That hadn't been examined. The lottery bill hadn't been looked at by any interim committee. A lot of other worthless legislation had been looked at but they pass it on and say, it ought to be passed but when it comes right down to voting for it, you can't vote for it because there's no money to fund it, it's bad anyway, but they passed it because so and so is a nice fellow and I don't want to hurt his feelings by voting against his bill. He wants to be able to go back home and say, "well, I, I got it passed out of the House" or "I got it passed out of the Senate but I couldn't do anything with the other place." That's a good campaign (unintelligible)- BREAUX: So, even when- SWINFORD: but I, I don't think it's working very good now. I think it, well, it _________?? it out, you know. When they-they're meeting all the time and, but I, I've never really seen too much good come out-I think the potential is there. BREAUX: People just haven't taken a seriously? SWINFORD: Well, well, I think they've taken it seriously and we got a lot of studies and ________?? personnel-a lot of bright people work for the Legislative Research Commission to work over it and they do work over it but then when it comes right down to the actual studying it and, and deciding and weeding out and improving legislation, I don't think it gets done until the regular session starts and with my outsider's view I don't think it did this last session. I didn't-I still haven't seen anything come from the interim committees that really-is of great improvement. Now, to some because it gives the idea just like legis--, electing the legislators a year before so they can have a year before they- BREAUX: Right. SWINFORD: to get familiar with the bills and the legislation, don't, piled it on all at once-but I-the, the budget is where it is and when the budget comes that's when- that's, that's when it-and the idea of the interim committee system was an outgrowth for that old Audit Committee that we had back in 1963. That was the idea then was to have, and to have the independent auditors in Gilmore and Dutton, is that his name? Anyway, they, they looked these things over and examined these revenue estimates and that's the idea is to have people look at these things and in the interim so that when it comes up, to hang a price tag on it. What's it gonna cost? And is it feasible? Is it worth what it's gonna cost? And what can we do? Well, I, I'm, I'm-the whole thing is in education now, really, if we ever gonna really do anything but it's not bringing forth anything. Martha Layne called a special session and it, a lot of lip service but if they don't give it any money, it's not worth anything much, it's-it sounds good and the legislature has always been great on that, pass a awful good-sounding piece of legislation and let the next legislature fund it. "Happy" Chandler he was good at it, the Medical School, A.B. Chandler Medical School but the thing about it was, Bert Combs had to pass the sales tax to fund it. It would, it would, it would never gotten off the ground if we didn't have any money and (unintelligible), so, Chandler, he criticizes Nunn, I mean criticizes Combs for, for the sales tax but that's what it took to get, to give his monument any meaning-of course it was in, it was in place but it-and like the, the Minimum Foundation. Chandler set up the Minimum Foundation but if there is no money-Bert had to put the money with it and-so, the legislators they are great on that. In, in Collin's administration they passed a lot of fine ideas for improvement in elementary and secondary education but didn't have the money in it. As we're seeing now those programs they wanted, the legislature, we want to keep those rather than the governor's program but not anyone gonna do anything. BREAUX: In the time period that we you were out of the legislature- SWINFORD: Yeah. Yeah. BREAUX: the late '60s when you were out of the legislature-it seems like that was a time in which, again, the legislature underwent some changes, you know. SWINFORD: It did- BREAUX: We talked about one, I guess, the interim committee, the Rules Committee is another that got kind of revised a bit. Were those the biggest changes that you noticed when coming back? Or were there any other things that sort of- SWINFORD: I really did. BREAUX: you know, made you stop and think, hey, this is different (laughs) than when I was here? SWINFORD: there really weren't any, there, there really weren't any major changes that really had any real meaning. I, I felt like the legislature in '72 when I was majority leader was about like the legislature in '62 when Bert Combs was governor and Dick Moloney was, was the majority leader. Anything the governor wanted he got and-the legislature through one means or another went along with the governor's program and the, and the legislative leadership's influence was principally through their leader-their, their influence with the governor. I could, I had-I could talk to the governor if I didn't like that and I did it more in the second session when I was majority leader than I did in the first, I sent a lot of administrative legislation up there. But I just was taking it as they handed it to me but after in the second time I started looking it over pretty good and, and kicking it out, you know, and going back to them, this is not, this is really not good, this is some-it sounds good but it's not good. So, while the machinery was in place in the- I wish I could remember when the, when the lieutenant governor was taking off the Legislative Research Commission, that was done, and some other things like that, and some more employees were employed, they had more of a staff to use, to study, and to do with, when it came right down to it, the way the session ran, the session ran the same way, we had the legislature, we had the hearings on the budget and the people from the departments would come over and talk about their budget for their department and then we passed the budget that weren't any amendments to it, there might have been a little a few changes along the way because of revised since the governor didn't get into it as quick as (unintelligible). When, when Ford came in-Nunn had been governor so they didn't have, didn't have a budget but Jim Luckett, the Commissioner of Revenue, was the same one and they might after they introduced the budget bill, there might have been some changes because the departments were still working out the kinks, but the budget that the governor wanted was passed and that's where it all is, is where the money is. And all the interim committees had met and improved legislation and all but they just- didn't really-so, as a fact, it was the, the machinery was in place and the thing was set up for the Brown administration but when it came right down to it I don't think there was really any, any real difference between the Combs-Breathitt administrations and the Ford-Carroll administrations as far as how they got everyth--, how the legislature operated. BREAUX: And getting back to a point- SWINFORD: Yeah. BREAUX: you made earlier, it seems like one of the key factors as to the recent trends has been sort of the hands-off approach- SWINFORD: Hands-off approach of Governor Brown. BREAUX: by people like Governor Brown and Governor Collins? SWINFORD: And then Governor Collins, I, I think she could've asserted herself more but she didn't either because she feared she couldn't, couldn't get it done or, I don't, I don't know the reason but-a strong governor can take it over, I think. But it maybe he, maybe he can't, I don't know, I don't know, I think Wilkinson tried to assert more influence than he had but maybe, maybe they've tasted the legislative independence and they like it. BREAUX: I think an other interesting trend that you brought up was this trend toward individual legislators taking on longer terms. SWINFORD: Yes. BREAUX: Now, you yourself served two terms relatively brief, I mean, you know- SWINFORD: Yeah (unintelligible)- BREAUX: and today we're moving toward almost a fulltime- SWINFORD: Yeah. BREAUX: legislator- SWINFORD: That's right. There were more-there, there was a big turnover when I was there. BREAUX: Do you think that's an advantage or is that-are there problems with that? SWINFORD: I don't know. I don't know. I think it's just, it's like most, most things that you gain some things and you lose some things. I think we have a capable legislat---I think we have a capable legislators. They've got staffs. They've got people do things for them. We used to not have just a handful of help, people. If someone wanted a bill drafted they went up and asked-but-asked them to do it and they drafted a bill but they didn't have any continuing staff, they didn't have any offices, they didn't have anything like that to do anything with but then, again, you-you, you might lose something with the, with the, say a citizen legislator, somebody who is a, who is a lawyer and, and the legislature is a part-time thing. You might-you, you get a lot of very, very capable people and you wonder what happens to all those people, they go back and manage their business, they go back and run their insurance agency, and they can't afford the time- BREAUX: It seems like you're losing- SWINFORD: to staying there. BREAUX: some potential- SWINFORD: So, you might lose something- BREAUX: just like- SWINFORD: You know, I liked, I always liked Cincinnatus, go back to the (unintelligible), you know, and, and say (unintelligible) and then go back and, and it's- the same thing is true in, in local government. I don't know whether you get, if you're gaining by getting a fulltime city commission, maybe you're better off with a part-time commission that are, are not on it for anything but public service like the boards of the education in places. So- BREAUX: Do you think- SWINFORD: a lot of them-I'm not prepared to really say, I, I think there was- now, I think the quality is overall is an improvement because it seemed like it when I was there first a lot of them weren't too interested in what was going on but I, I was talking to Terry McBrayer just within the last two weeks and we were, we were discussing it or I, I don't know what brought it on but he said-he said it's the same as it was the first time that he was over there and I agreed. They're just a handful of them that do all the work. He said, "Just twenty, twenty-five or thirty of them that do it all out of a hundred and thirty-eight. It's always has that been that way," he said, "It's that way there now and it will be that way in the future." And there-he's probably-he might have an opportunity to be closer to it than I am now just because he is in Lexington and maybe, maybe he has some, I don't know if Terry does any lobbying or not, I don't think he does, but he might do a little, he might have some of his office-but he said it's just, it's the same, just a few will do all the work and Joe Clarke, for instance, they keep their eye on that budget and Mike Moloney and they, they know what is going on and they know the budget and so the rest of them just kind of fall in line and have a good time. They love to come to Frankfort. I thought Wilkinson made a mistake there, he said, "Now, we might have to call you back for a special session." And I said, "That's no way to get them to line up because they like that." Get back over there to Frankfort- BREAUX: Right. SWINFORD: they like that life. That's, that's a good life (laughs). Get them away from-they'd rather be there than they would in-in, down in Inez (laughs), they like Frankfort better than Inez. BREAUX: Well, it seems like one consequence, and this may be something you brought up earlier also, of having a fulltime legislature is a closer tie maybe to the constituency in terms of trying- SWINFORD: Well, that might be- BREAUX: to always push for reelection? SWINFORD: Always pu---and, and then also may find out what they like, what they want to do. I, I think that like the legislator in our, my district, he, he keeps in pretty close touch with his constituents. He's over there at least once a month, and never misses a fish-fry or anything like that and just stays in, in maybe in closer touch than I did because when I-we get through the legis---I had to catch up all that time that I'd been out of my office and needed the time- BREAUX: Right. SWINFORD: I didn't have time to do it. And so you, you might lose something by having a part-time legislator but you probably gain something too by having a fulltime because they can pay more attention to the job, they got the pay up there whatever it is, they can afford to do it, and so, you know, it's a two-edged sword, there's good parts and bad parts but I expect _________?? Terry is right about it, they're just still about, there's just still a small percentage that do all, twenty do all the work. The others lean on them. BREAUX: Okay. It seems like we've talked about a lot of different topics, just about all the topics I had in mind, of discussing. Is there anything else that you- SWINFORD: Oh, I might think of something on the way home, David, but I think we've covered it pretty thoroughly. I- BREAUX: I think we have. SWINFORD: I would suggest, I asked Dr. Jewell if he'd had an interview with Waterfield, lieutenant governor Harry Lee Waterfield- BREAUX: No, we haven't. SWINFORD: and I would suggest it because he is kind of, he's really the father of the Legislative Research Commission. BREAUX: And a lot of things we're talking about. SWINFORD: And a lot of things we-and he's a very astute guy. Now, I-my political identification, going back the old factional politics, my family and my law partner and all, my law partner, Thaxter Simms who did, did ten years, he was Clements's campaign manager when he ran for the Senate in 1950 so we've always been kind of identified with the Clements' side of the party. Well, of course that's Ford, Ford and Combs split off, but Ford is out of the Clements' side, he's not a Chandler. And I don't know Wilkinson is a, is a successor to "Happy" or not, I don't know. But anyway, even though I was on the out of the side most of the time from Waterfield. Waterfield, a very able person, and he would be-I would, I would recommend that you talk to him because he'll give you the background and he-because he really, he really got the Legislative Research Commission going and, and he all, he was Speaker of the House back in the '40s and one of the more exciting races was when Waterfield ran for governor and Clements ran. He-Clements beat him and then Waterfield came back and he was lieutenant governor in Chandler's first, second administration in the late '50s and then he came back and he was lieutenant governor in the middle '60s. And, of course, being in Frankfort and all he's observant. So, I recommend that you, that you get him. I- BREAUX: It sounds like he'd be interesting- SWINFORD: I think he's getting along fine. I think he's, health-wise and all, I think he's getting along real good. So, but you never know about it. I, I don't, I can't remember how old he is, he's been around a long time. He was Speaker of the House in 1947 so (laughs)- BREAUX: It's quite a while. SWINFORD:'46, '46 so-but to be sure and get him. BREAUX: Okay. SWINFORD: and I think he said he would talk to Jim Fleming. Fleming was in the formative years of it too. And, but Waterfield would be able-that be the, that'd be the one I want you to get, want you to get for sure. BREAUX: Okay. Well, again, let me just end by thanking you for- SWINFORD: Well, you're welcome. BREAUX: taking your time to be here. SWINFORD: Oh, I like to talk about it. BREAUX: Okay. SWINFORD: I enjoyed it. Yeah. BREAUX: I enjoyed it too. SWINFORD: I'm getting ready to- BREAUX: I may have learned some interesting things. SWINFORD: I'm reading a-I got, I went to Tip O'Neil's book first but now I'm reading John Ed Pearce's book, Divide and Dissent, which is the 1930 till 1963- [End of interview] 1 Swinford (House 1962, 56th district; 1963-1974, 62nd district; Democrat) highlights the leadership styles of governors Nunn, Ford, Brown and Collins. He also considers the impact of legislative reform, the rules committee and the interim committees on the power dynamics between the House, Senate and Governor's office during his tenure in the General Assembly. He concludes the interview reflecting on the trend toward a full-time legislature. Kentucky Legislature